Music can be a powerful, practical tool to bring mindfulness and meditation into our lives as well as our children’s lives. Here we present five easy ways to use music as a tool for mindfulness and meditation with the children in your lives, be it at home or in the classroom. Read our recent more general posts on music for meditation and mindfulness here and here for more tips and information on the links between these two calming, positive practices!
1. As a tool to calm children
In our ebook (find it here), music is used as a tool to calm children in preparation for a better night’s sleep. In the same way, music can be used anytime as a tool for calming children down, to a place where it is easier to be peaceful and more focused on the present moment in much the same way meditation is used. In the article above you’ll find suggestions for some pieces, you might like to try.
2. As a tool to help concentration
By bringing our minds to a calm, peaceful place we can help children become better at focusing on the task at hand. During our workshops music is always used as a part of that process, using finger plays with younger children and action, interactive songs with older ones. If you’re in the classroom use action songs to re-focus after the often highs experienced during lunch break or if you’re at home, try them before homework time. The very act of putting together words and actions in song requires being fully in the present moment and re-grounds us for better concentration. We like this link here for some ideas on finger plays and action rhymes for young children and you’ll find some good examples to use with older kids here
Remember any song can be an action song – just add some arm movements. Get the kids to make them up if you’re not feeling too creative or just because kids have brilliant ideas!
3. As a tool for kids to feel their emotions
Just like meditation and sitting quietly are important ways for each of us to connect with our inner selves, listening to emotive music is a tool you can use with your children to help them connect with themselves. Our recent blogs, and last week's about Letting Go talk about why this is so important for emotional well-being and mental health and its early establishment in children is a gift for ongoing healthy lives. After some quiet, deep breathing to bring focus to the moment, try any of these songs that may help children find quiet space within themselves for self-reflection
4. As a tool to use with dance for self-release and self-love
Music is an inspiration and accompaniment for free dance which itself is a cathartic tool to release deep emotions and to focus on the present moment in much the same way as meditation. Children love to move – it is almost a pre-requite of childhood so use music to help establish dance as a tool for self-expression, self-love and self-release. Any of the above pieces (in tool 3) can be used for moving in free dance. We need to establish as adults that there are no rules for free dance and self-expression, it is all good! It releases the soul and acknowledges an acceptance of ourselves and others in a most profound and healing way and without judgment we can be fully ourselves in the present moment.
5. As a tool to write about our feelings and thoughts.
Journaling is long held method for connecting with the present moment. You can use emotive music pieces to encourage children to focus inwardly in a similar way to meditation used before writing. A little quiet listening to music before writing about feelings is a great way to focus. You can use fstimulus statements like, ‘When I listen to this music I feel…..” or “When I listen to this music it helps me remember …..” Very young children can draw instead of writing with similar results. Again the emotive music in Tool 3 could be used but experiment and try different styles and pieces – most likely different emotions and situations will be evoked.
‘In the ancient cultures of India, Egypt, and Greece, music played a therapeutic role in the lives of people. It was created and performed with the intention of bringing about well-being and health. By the Middle Ages, the idea of music as entertainment took over. But down through the centuries, many industrious, stubborn and creative souls have kept alive the use of sound and music as medicine for the body, mind, and spirit.’ Jeffrey Thompson
Let’s be part of making music, medicine for the soul – for ourselves and our children!