3 ways you can use music to help cope with being “stuck at home”.
- Picking up an instrument
This is literally asking you to physically pick up a music instrument! Well, except your voice, of course. For people who have had the experience of learning a music instrument, the associated memories could be an enjoyable or a painful one. Do you know there’s a rapidly growing amount of studies that support the many benefits of learning a new instrument, regardless of age? Not only can learning an instrument stimulate our brain, it can also promote positive mood states and relieve stress (Hille & Schupp, 2015; MacRitchie et. al., 2020). In the age of technology where we have the option of learning via the internet, revisiting a music instrument or learning a new one can be a surprisingly relaxing and easy thing to do when you have to spend most of your free time at home.
- Exercising to music
When we must cut down on our away-from-home activities, the amount of physical exercises we do may decrease. In Hong Kong where most people live in small apartments, exercising may become extremely challenging and this will directly impact on our health. The irony of it all is keeping healthy should be top priority amidst this fight again COVID-19! Playing music with strong clear beats (強、男兒當自强) can help to motivate one to do aerobic exercises and playing music with slower speed (月亮代表我的心、似水流年) can help with doing slower, stretching exercises. Try playing music next time you want to exercise and can’t seem to get yourself moving!
- Knowing your music preferences – make your own playlist!
We live in an era where music is easily accessible – on the television, radio, internet, even in shops when we go shopping (an endeavour proven to be rather unwise in times of COVID-19), so much so that our ears and our brains become so attuned to having music we become unaware of our own reactions to it. When we have more time to ourselves at home, it would be an interesting and valuable experience to experiment with our different emotional and physical reactions to different styles of music. There is no rule to this, and you may surprise yourself in the process. Try making playlists according to different mood states, for different purposes (such as motivated, work, exercise, angry etc). This may come in handy for your own self-care even after this COVID-19 situation is over!
Hille, A. & Schupp, J. (2015). How learning a musical instrument affects the development of skills. Economics of Education Review 44, 56-82.
MacRitchie, J., Breaden, M., Milne, A. J. & McIntyre, S. (2020). Cognitive, Motor and Social Factors of Music Instrument Training Programs for Older Adults’ Improved Wellbeing. Frontiers in Psychology 10, 1-15.