It doesn't have to be an xylophone or glockenspiel.It could be any form of music that helps us to care for ourselves. The concentration and engagement that comes with making, or listening to, music is so beneficial that it's impossible to ignore it when thinking about how to care for ourselves.
Experiencing music can take us away to another world. It can be relaxing and soothing, engaging a part of our brain that is not always stimulated.
Being part of a group that makes music together can bring greater benefits, as the shared sense of fun and community that comes with doing this together can make it extra special. It can help us to feel part of something, to belong. And that's on top of the enjoyment of the achievement of making music and listening to it.
I'm reminded when I think about music though of the tendency these days for lots of us public transport users to sit on our transport of choice with ear phones in listening to our music (or perhaps a podcast or movie). This seems like the opposite of the experience of being part of making music together. It separates us, disconnects us from each other. We become self absorbed in our inner worlds, not even making eye contact with the people around us. Sometimes I can benefit from this and enjoy the opportunity to focus inwardly. This can certainly be good for our self care. But sometimes I also resist the temptation and instead engage with the world around me, look into the eyes of fellow travelers, notice what is happening and wonder what is going on for them. Taking the music away helps me to do this and I feel more connected to others at those times, part of the world.
So like everything else in our lives, music has an important place to help us relax but too much of it can have some disadvantages or hinder other aspects of our lives or ongoing development.
I'm also reminded how music connects us to the past. A song that reminds us of our childhood or school days or of a special event such as a wedding song. Or just reminds us of another time. Another period of our lives when some things were different.
We can share our interest for music and bond with others about it. We can debate about the best style and the pros and cons of contemporary music. We can notice, like fashion, the trends coming and going, the resurrection of old styles coming back in favor. We can enjoy the updating of old classics to make them more contemporary and appeal to a whole new audience. And we can certainly enjoy the appeal of old musicians who can still belt out a number.
So music can play a useful part in our ongoing self care, in what ever way we choose to incorporate it into our lives. We might listen to it, play it, or simply engage in conversations about it. Finding ways to build it in can be really helpful to tap into that music part of our brains and give the other parts a bit of a rest.