The Center for Health Improvement hosted “A Day of Reflection & Relaxation” on May 30, 2012 as part of the National Health and Fitness Day. I promised to share some notes with those present. Slides for “Exploring Music-based Wellness”. 

Much of our days we are surrounded by music. There aren’t many places you can go where music isn’t playing all or part of the time. Yet, how often do we purposefully use music in our lives? When do we do that? Let’s look at four ways you can take control of music in your life.

Being receptive

Matching music to tasks is one way to use music. You can select music for the many tasks of your day: driving, preparing meals, exercising, relaxing.

One way to use music to sit and just listen. Some people find it useful to record images the music brings to mind when listening. Another way to do this is to draw. Tools like a mandala can be helpful in the process.

Think about the music played in the space where you exercise. If it isn’t your preferred music or doesn’t match the movement you are doing, why not listen to or sing . Here was one example we used.


You can re-create music alone or in a group. You can do this by singing or playing an instrument. Many older adults grew-up with family sing-alongs. Find a group where you can do this again.

Do you play an instrument? See if you can find a community group where you can play. Sometimes band and orchestra teachers are interested in having adults be role models in their beginning groups. Why not start a group at your house of worship or a senior center?

Find groups such as drum circles where you can make music in a community. If you live in the Hays area, consider signing up for one or more of Families in Rhythm groups. (Click here to see when one is scheduled.)

Composing & creating

This is a great way to express yourself. Many people find this idea very intimidating. Start simple. Use a song and fill in the blank. You can also use tools such as hyperscore you can use that don’t require the ability to read music for the composing process.

Another option is computer software that responds to your movements. One example is E-Motion Technologies.


Keeping your mind active is important. You are never too old to learn. Now is the time to learn to play that instrument you always wanted to or to return to playing one.

Read books about composer or styles of music.

Be brave an listen to music outside your comfort zone. Spend a few minutes with a family member sharing your favorite music. It is a great way to get to know them better. Ask what it is they like about a piece of music, why they like this artist, what this song is saying to them.

A little extra

Remember to write down and share your music preferences with others. It is important to know what relaxes you and what like in case you are ever in a situation where you are unable to share this for yourself.

Select one or two ways of the above mentioned four ways of controlling music in your life. Come up with one way you will actively take control of the music in you life this week in that area.

What did you select? Please share it in the comments below.

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