Music as Stress Management

Music can have calming effects on babies, children, and adults alike. It has a unique link to our emotions, which makes it an effective stress management tool. According to Psych Central, “Listening to music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on our minds and bodies, especially slow, quiet classical music. This type of music can have a beneficial effect on our physiological functions, slowing the pulse and heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing the levels of stress hormones.”

Because of our unique experiences, we all have our own tastes and preferences when it comes to music. Many people find that familiar music, like their favorite song from a movie or heard on the radio, can put them in a better mood. If your child is feeling stressed or anxious, putting on one of their favorite songs and encouraging them to sing along might help calm them down. But if you’re tired of listening to ‘Let It Go’ for the millionth time, try sharing the songs below with your child to help them through periods of stress or anxiety.

For other suggestions, find four playlists for quiet moments here.

Claude Debussy – Clair de Lune

Familiar music is especially calming if it is associated with a good memory like attending a concert with friends, hearing music in the background of a favorite movie, or recognizing a loved piece of music from an Inside the Orchestra Tiny Tot’s concert! Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune, French for ‘moonlight’, is a well-loved classic from his most famous piano suite. It is recognized around the world and is featured in many films and television shows, often used to portray feelings of love.

Felix Mendelssohn – Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage

Sounds of nature, like the sea or falling rain, can have soothing effects on your child’s mood. Felix Mendelssohn’s Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage is an overture inspired by two poems by Goethe. Let the opening of Mendelssohn’s calm sea, with its soft and sweet melodies played by the violins and a solo bird-like flute, soothe your child’s anxious mind. At about 3 minutes and 40 seconds into the piece, the music becomes less calming, but more heroic. Let the faster tempos and louder dynamics cheer your child up and fill them with happiness as the victorious horn section signals a safe and happy return home from a prosperous voyage.

Philip Glass – Metamorphosis Two

Because the brain likes predictability, repetitive sounds can often calm one’s stress and anxiety. Philip Glass is known for repetition and minimalism in his music and is regularly featured in playlists of calming music. Metamorphosis Two is a beautiful repetitive piece for piano. Check out this ‘Calming’ Spotify playlist and the entire ‘Solo PIano’ album by Philip Glass featuring the four other Metamorphosis pieces.

Louise Farrenc – op. 44, Movement II. Adagio

Louise Farrenc was France’s first lady composer of the 19th century and the only woman at the Paris Conservatorie to hold the rank of professor during that time. Farrenc is well-known for her lovely chamber music, or instrumental music played by a small group of musicians, and the Trio for Clarinet, Violoncello, and Piano, op. 44 is no exception. The second movement is titled ‘Adagio’, which is both a name and a tempo marking meaning ‘slowly’. The clarinet, cello, and piano play together creating beautiful harmonies and support the others’ lyrical melodies.

Bonus – Music to calm animals!

According to research published by The Journal of Feline Medicine, our feline friends also benefit from the calming effects of music. Just like with humans, classical music was proven to be more soothing to kitties than other types of music!

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