Music In Unsettled Times

There have been times in my life when music kept me on an even keel, restored me to a place of security and peace when all around me was about to become overwhelming. It was like the perfect friend, offering comfort, solace, probing in a healing way the innermost parts of my being. This went much further than mood control. It was emotional restoration when I needed it most.

During the isolation and upheaval that the current COVID-19 virus has wrought upon our lives, it is a good time to remember the healing and comforting power of music, and to avail ourselves of this most pleasant of remedies for troubled times. Ordinarily, I enjoy being amped by fast, powerful music, as well as being calmed by beautiful, peaceful works. But in this current turmoil, it is former type of music that is called for, that is needed. Like mindfulness well deployed, simply sitting or lying down with eyes closed to listen to this kind of music, letting its beauty seep into our troubled souls, is as good a use of the ample time we find ourselves with as any.

With this in mind, I present my list of healing music. I encourage you to use the comments section to add your own; that this post could become a place for all of us to go to find music to soothe our troubled souls.

  1. Rachmaninoff, symphony no. 2 in E minor, Op. 27, III. Adagio
  2. Puccini, “Che gelida manina” Fiamma Izzo d’Amico “Si, mi chiamano Mimi” from La Boheme
  3. Mahler, Adagietto from symphony no. 5 in c-sharp minor
  4. Dvorak, 2nd movement from Symphony No. 9, Op. 95
  5. Lauren Dangle, “You Say”
  6. Sarah McLachlan, “Angel”
  7. “Bridge Over Troubled Water”
  8. “You’ve Got A Friend”
  9. Vienna Teng, “Lullaby for a Stormy Night”
  10. Adagio, from String Quartet in B minor, op. 11

I’m sure these selections will bring some measure of serenity to you as you immerse yourself in the music. They may be just the thing for your students, too. There are a few ways you might use them in your distance learning classroom. You might begin a lesson having your students practice 5 minutes of mindfulness as you all listen to one of the selections together online. You may also have students listen to one or more of them on their own, as an assignment, and write a reflection on how their mind and body was affected by the music. As I mentioned above, please share your own healing musical works in the comments. Doing so is a way we can come together in this place to in some way make today better for each other.

Beside comforting ourselves and our families with healing, consoling music, we are also made better and stronger by giving to others. Readers of this blog know of my enthusiasm for Teachrock.org. On Thursday, April 30, 2020, they will be participating in the Worldwide Day of Gratitude to thank frontline workers and first responders. The theme for their participation is the song “Lean On Me.” It is a song that is well familiar to us all, and likely one we have taught to our students. It embraces the power of friendship, community and love.

TeachRock.org will be offering 5 new distance learning packs based around gratitude, community, and music making. In addition, there will be a playlist of songs by Bill Withers, the creator of “Lean On Me.” Be sure to visit their site for these worthwhile lessons. You’ll find the first lesson now, “Lean On Me,” and others later, under Featured Lessons.

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