Meditation music is music specifically designed to aid in meditation practice, no matter its original genre. Meditation music is often used to create a calming and peaceful environment that helps the practitioner to relax and focus their mind, enabling them to achieve a deeper state of meditation.
What genre is meditation music?
Most meditation music belongs to the genre of New Age music.
New Age music is a style that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s and is a fusion of various musical styles, including ambient, classical, world music, and electronic genres.
Characterized by its calming and soothing quality, New Age music often envelopes listeners in slow and repetitive rhythms, graceful melodies, and natural soundscapes. While some critics assert New Age music is overly simplified and lacks musical complexity, others praise the genre for its innate capacity to promote mindful relaxation. In 1987, the Grammy Awards added a category for Best New Age Album. In 1988, Billboard magazine added a New Age Album chart. New Age playlists now abound on music streaming services, and record stores typically have a New Age section. Today, New Age music continues to evolve and expand, with new artists and sounds emerging on a regular basis.
DID YOU KNOW: The term “New Age” was originally used to describe a movement of spiritual seekers who were interested in alternative forms of spirituality and self-help. New Age music was created as a way to provide a musical accompaniment to the practices and beliefs of this movement.
However, meditation music can take many forms outside of the New Age genre. Many classical and neoclassical artists compose music to meditate by using gentle and light touches to their acoustic instruments. Ambient and electronic artists offer lush vibratory landscapes perfect for a meditative mindset. Percussionists even build out hypnotic worlds in which the meditator can easily slip into a quiet mind state. World musicians help meditators journey inwards with musical traditions and vocals once chanted by ancestors.
“The key to composing effective sound healing music is intention, awareness, and connection to the vibrations you are creating. Every note, no matter how simple or complex, must be approached with reverence, for every sound we make exists forever in space. Composing almost becomes a prayerful experience, where the writer deeply connects with the natural world around her/him, and moves accordingly. Writing spiritual sounds music is simplistic and easy – just follow the notes. Writing music for meditation is extremely confronting and challenging – just let go of your ego, then follow the notes.” ~Charleene Closshey
One of the primary benefits is its ability to reduce stress and promote relaxation. According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, listening to music during meditation can significantly reduce perceived stress levels, leading to improved feelings of relaxation and calmness (1).
In addition to reducing stress, music for meditation has also been found to improve mood and emotional well-being. A study published in the International Journal of Stress Management found that listening to meditation music for just 20 minutes a day can lead to significant improvements in mood and a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety (2).
Meditation music has also been shown to improve cognitive function and enhance concentration. A study published in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement found that listening to music during meditation can improve attention and cognitive performance, as well as enhance the overall meditative experience (3).
Even sleep is improved, as music used with meditation has been found to have a positive effect on sleep quality and duration. According to a study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, listening to calming music before bedtime can lead to improved sleep quality and a reduction in sleep disturbances (4).
Physical and mental health benefits are continually verified, including improved immune function, reduced blood pressure, and enhanced spiritual growth.
“The same faint song is heard in everything: ‘Behold yourself’.” ~Deepak Chopra