Nearly 40 million people watched Andrea Bocelli sing “Amazing Grace” a little over a week ago, breaking YouTube records with his solo performance representing a message of love, healing and hope to Italy and the world.
We’ve seen countless stories of people singing and playing music on their balconies around the globe and musicians turning to live streaming to reach their fans at home. While we’re self-isolating, sing-alongs remind us that we’re all in this together.
Research has shown the therapeutic and mood-boosting benefits of music. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, music is playing an integral role in lifting our spirits, helping us manage stress and connecting us with others.
Yet as the days at home seem to drag on, people are becoming more anxious and uncertain about the future.
So how can music help? Music is an easy way to quickly change the way you feel and boost your mood as it’s inherently emotional and carries different emotions with it.
Athletes are probably some of the most obvious examples of those that have harnessed the power of music. Athletes turn to music before a game or competition to regulate their emotions and to find the right mental zone. Upbeat music helps motivate and also gets a crowd pumped up, while slower music can help them relax and calm any nerves. So how do we utilize the same tools to shift the way we feel?
Here are a few simple things you can do with music when you consciously acknowledge the emotion that it carries:
Consciously create a playlist
Think about the emotions that you feel in any given day or week or month. Put them into an order of preference. What do you feel now and what do you want to feel at the end of the playlist?
Pick a song to match each of those emotions. This acts as a remote control for emotions and gives a tool to transition between different emotional states. If you’re feeling sad, you don’t want to start the playlist with a song like “Happy” by Pharrell, but you can work your way up to it.
If you need help identifying emotions reflected in a song, just take a look at the mood playlists on your favorite music streaming service. Spotify, Pandora, Apple and Amazon Music all let you choose from a variety of moods when searching for something to listen to. For music teachers, we offer emotions as a musical category in WURRLYedu.
Lastly – explore the transitions between each emotional state – how does it feel to listen to a song on the other end of the spectrum?
Pick a theme song and sing along
There are hundreds of songs that can empower us. Think about what you stand for and make it aspirational, then pick a song to match. Listen to it and sing along when you need a reminder of how great you really are.
Get up and move
While in isolation, don’t shy away from finding your fun and silly side. No one is going to laugh at you, you are likely by yourself or with those that love you most. So get up and dance! Move your body to your favorite upbeat songs. Dancing to music is a great way to boost your mood.
Music is an important part of the human experience. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, the power of music is stronger than ever, especially when it’s harnessed with the conscious acknowledgment of its power.