Time to create a work of art
By Erica Marriaga, MSW, LCSW
With so much change in the world, there is one thing that has been constant: MUSIC!
Whether you enjoy jamming to your favorite tunes of rock and roll, jazz, hip hop, musical theater, reggae, punk rock, rap, oldies, country, or classical music, there is nothing like blasting your favorite song. With the age of technology comes endless possibilities.
Ever notice when you are in the car, and one of your favorite songs comes on, you turn up the radio and feel inclined to sing? Or when you are exercising and you turn on a playlist and the music gets you pumped? How about when lyrics pop into your head and you suddenly feel strong emotions?
Research indicates that music has many health benefits. It can promote a sense of calm (depending upon the genre of music) or increased concentration, and it can act as a natural mood enhancer.
Are you ready to explore how music impacts you? You will need a few things which you might already have handy. This activity can be used by children, adolescents, adults, families, and even during the holidays.
Here are the materials needed and directions!
- A piece of paper
- Markers/crayons/colored pencils
- Musical device: Radio, Youtube, Computer, Phone
- Fold the paper in half vertically and fold again
- Unfold the paper and there should be 4 squares
- Have a variety of different colors of markers/crayons/colored pencils in front of you
The first thing I am going to do is to write the title of the song on the top corner of one of the squares. Because I have done this activity many times, I know what songs create a sense of peace and enjoyment, and I am going to play the song below.
Click the link to play the song. Focus on what comes to mind when listening, whether it is the lyrics, beats, tunes, etc. Pick up a marker and let your mind do the rest! Allow the music to help you create something special.
Notice how you feel. Is there a rhythm that your mind is following, and the drawing or writing you are creating is following this rhythm?
Think about the tone of the music. Do you find yourself using cooler colors or darker colors? What memories come up, if any? Where has your mind gone?
This takes me back to my honeymoon in Jamaica. When listening to the lyrics, I am Imagining a scene of serenity, crystal clear waters, palm trees, and coconuts. I can use my 5 senses in creating my masterpiece, and over the years, I have found that I typically try to create a scene including sand and beach. Other times, I let my hands take control and different words are left on paper.
Now it is time for you to experiment and get to know the inner musician and artist!
You are going to play a random song, write it on the top of the paper so you can compare the differences between pictures. Just as you did before, connect with the music. Lyrics, musical instruments, beats, rhythm, ALL OF IT! Do you notice that it brings about any sense of calmness or excitement, positive or negative energy? What have you created in front of you?
Now, compare it to the first creation. What are the differences? Was one song more upbeat and brought about positive energy? Did neither song speak to your inner musician? Are you tired, calm?
Next, you have two more chances to learn more about music and your mood! One song, I would like for you to choose a high energy and uplifting song. I would offer the opportunity to also explore a genre of music you are not familiar with or interested in.
What came up for you? Now that you know a bit more about yourself through this activity, any ideas about which music can help you feel better? Have you discovered that some lyrics or tunes create sadness for you? What are you going to choose to do with the information you might have learned?
I leave you with some things to think about! Remember, we can use music to our advantage or disadvantage, the beauty is within the eye of the beholder!
Reach Out to a Counselor to Help with Promoting Well-Being
As always, if you find yourself struggling in these areas, do not hesitate to reach out for help. A licensed therapist or counselor can help empower you to be your best self!
Erica Marriaga is a proud fur-mama of her one-eyed rescue dog, Toby. She loves to spend time with her husband and bond with her family, nieces, and nephews. Erica is passionate and enthusiastic about her role as a therapist. EWC has locations in Manalapan and Shrewsbury, NJ, and accepts a variety of insurances.
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