Music Dynamics for Mindfulness and Health


in Information

A way that music can enhance your health that you may never have thought about before is found within being mindful of the dynamics instructions (written in Italian) written into “classical” music scores. In the score, these specific commands tell the performer(s) about nuances to tone or tempo that they are to include when playing the music.

If the music is being performed by a full orchestra with a conductor then the conductor will indicate that the particular dynamics commands are to be heeded by communicating them through baton, hand, and body language indicators to the players before him. But what if we allowed music to be our master and paid attention to how these dynamics can heighten our thinking and deepen our sensibility about our own lives?

Much of the illness, psychological and physical, that we experience in our lifetimes comes from resistance to the flow of the life force. Too many among us see life as some problem to be solved instead of a mystery story to be lived minute by minute.

The thrill of being alive comes from mindfulness about the fact that we’re living a story (even if we are resisting). And just as with a great movie, a great life-story needs a great soundtrack. Let’s look at how music dynamics commands can fill us with inspiration and let us dance and soar away from the wearying and depressing Hag of the Commonplace.

Accelerando. This means to increase the tempo in a piece of music. Emotionally within the music, this can heighten the excitement or it can convey an increase in the intensity of whatever emotion (usually an aggressive one, whether positive or negative) is being predominantly expressed.

Do you allow yourself to get excited when life’s circumstances or the moment are encouraging you to feel that way instead of resisting or suppressing the feeling? Do you ever quicken the pace of how you’re living day to day and step out into a calculated risk or an adventure into the unknown, so that you don’t stagnate in your safe and sheltered routine?

Ad Libitum. This means “freely” (literally “liberally”). A musician reading this knows that he has leeway to throw in his own interpretation of the passage, even if it’s much different from the way he played it last time. Do you allow yourself to respond as you sincerely think and feel to a situation or person, while maintaining a balance with discipline and the right context?

Poco a Poco. “Little by little”. If you are conservative when it comes to change in life (and constant change is inevitable) then you can handle change with aplomb, a clear head, a sense of excitement about how you are about to learn and expand your world, and maturity.

On the other hand, if you feel compelled to ram changes down others’ throats or if you rush in to an unknown, risky situation like an idiot then you’re secretly terrified of change and out of harmony with it. This fear can cause you to harm others or harm yourself. Or, alternatively, it can cause your life to stagnate and, like an unclean swamp, become pest-infested, reeking, and unfit to drink from.

Ritardando. “Gradually slow down the pace”. You’re moving headlong through your life in the fast-paced 21st century. Do you know when to slow down, breathe more deeply, let each sensation that you’re taking in make a little bit of a stronger impact on your spirit, take your time and pay closer attention to detail with something you’re working on or pondering? You should. But don’t come to a sudden, screeching stop — you may careen out of control and do damage.

Tacet. “Rest”. Music is created from silence as well as sound. When performing a piece of music, there’s a time to rest within the piece. If you want a healthy life, you can’t be going full throttle all the time. Eat sufficiently. Sleep sufficiently. Get back up to speed gradually after sickness.

Life is dynamic. Mind the changes of tempo and pitch.

Arica Wright is a professional blogger who specializes in providing consumers with health, fitness and nutrition advice. She writes for Fitness 19, a leading health club franchise with a Cleveland Oh gym and other fitness center locations.

Sibylle Preuschat May 8, 2013 at 11:00 am

I’ve long given thought to ways in which music provides inspiration and guidance for living life well. This article expanded my appreciation for music. Thank you. If you are interested in some thoughts on what musical harmony has to teach us about living better, I’ve posted them here:

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