Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Relaxing playlist

I've gone back and forth on the idea of having a CD of relaxing music to play during the early stages of labour. As a musician, I've thought that maybe I'd be too distracted by the music. I don't generally have music on "in the background". I listen to it. I also thought that tuning in to my body and focusing on its rhythms might be better. I might have a CD playing, turn to Dave five minutes later and say, "turn off that @#$^%$&#$% music!!" (I would never--I'm much too I'm sure I will be in childbirth...) What to do? What to do?

So I thought that at the very least, I'd make a CD compilation and give the music a try. It's not the end of the world if I decide to turn it off.

OK, now the tough part. I'd like "relaxing" music (no words, including opera, even in a different language, as I really do think that would be too distracting) with very little tension. Some of my favourites that don't make the "relaxing" list include Brahms' Symphony No. 3, mvt. 3; Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major, mvt. 2; Barber's Violin Concerto, mvt. 2. They're all what I call "achingly beautiful" music, but I don't think I could kick back and have a bubble bath...or a baby...while listening. Does that make sense to anybody?

I'd like to hear from all of you. In the comments, list one, two, or more pieces (including movement numbers if applicable) that relax you! Maybe they'll work for me too. :)


C.J. said...

Don't you find Brahms 3 mvt 3 a bit melancholy?

I have a folder of mp3s called "Coop's Chill Music." some contents include:
Beethoven - Piano Concerto 5, mvt 2
Mozart - Gran Serenade mvt 4
Handel - Lascia Ch'io Pianga
Albinoni - Op. 9, no. 2 mvt 2
Bach - Concerto for Two Violins in A minor mvt 2
Bach - Concerto for Violin in A minor mvt 2
Bach - Oboe/Violin Concerto mvt 2
Bach - Air on a G string
Brahms - Intermezzo in A minor, Op. 118, no. 1
Debussy - Clair de lune
Faure - Pavane
Gorecki - Symphony 3 (aria mvt, can't remember)
Ravel - Pavane pour une infante defunte

These are some of the "happier sounding" pieces. Hope they add to your list!

patty said...

I have to confess music didn't even OCCUR to me when in labor! We did the whole natural childbirth thing -- back in my day that was what everyone did, of course! -- and even when we did some sort of counting thing with "hee hee, hoo hoo" where my husband would hold up fingers each time to keep me focused on how many hees or hoos I should do (changing them was supposed to be a good distraction) I went nuts! I finally took his hand and pushed it down; I was trying to second guess his numbers and rhythms. It was nuts!

I still don't know if I'd want music. I get rather quiet and distant when I'm in labor.

Maybe if I DID have music I'd have "Everone hurts" or something. ;-)

Jill Cathey said...

I also went for the no music option, although we ended up having a c-section so they probably wouldn't have let me have music in the operating room anyway. But if it were me, I wouldn't have any oboe music, I would get too distracted either by thinking, gee, that guy has horrible tone (or fabulous tone, either way) and if it was something I had played I think I would try to anticipate too much. I'd probably put in some string quartets or something...I am really not familiar with most of those.

Maybe you should try those tapes with the ocean sound or something! Or those awful things that have "the best relaxation music ever" in the BigBoxmart stores. Good luck - I'm sure whatever you decide will be great.

Jillian said...

Of course, distracting music could be a good thing!

Cooper--yes, Brahms 3 is melancholy; that's why it didn't make my "relaxing" list. It's very "aching"...I don't need more of that!

Patty and Jill, any music you like relaxing to?

Anonymous said...

I have several favorite classical genres that I think are relaxing. I like most all classical acoustic guitar. I also love harp music. Music therapists say harp music can relieve pain, so maybe a good harp CD is what you need in labor. I also like choral pieces--nothing too exciting, more mellow like Charles Stanford's "The Bluebird." Renaissance or sacred choral compositions are my favorites.

patty said...


Tough question! I guess I don't relax to music for the most part. I used to ... I'd put something on and just "be" ... but now if music is on I'm not relaxing. I'm listening ... and somehow listening isn't what I'd call "relaxing" now.

I'm not sure if I've changed or if my definition of relaxation has changed!

Hmmm. I think I "relax" to silence ... truth be told! :-)

Karmen said...

For me - I can't relax to classical music. I analyse the performances too much, and am too interested in the interpretations.

I go for indie folky-pop type stuff when I'm relaxing - Feist, Dar Williams, Rachael Yamagata - something that sounds great and I really enjoy, but can be non-disruptive in the background. If classical is playing, I'm listening, not doing anything else (especially not having a baby!!)

I realize that it's likely not your kind of music, but if you want, I can burn you a copy of some stuff I like and you can check it out. Worst case scenario - you can use the cd as a coaster ;)

Let me know!

Jillian said...

That would be great, Karm, thanks!

Anonymous said...

try anything by Liquid Mind: it's the kind of thing massage therapists might play. I'm like you, I listen to music, not have it in the background, but this stuff is different. I have it on while I study and it's exactly what I need.

Adrienne said...

I made 3 CD's for my big day. One of "happy songs I love with no hidden meaning", two "I can do it power songs" for when things got a little rough, and three "melancholy" songs to relax inbetween the most difficult of the contractions. However..I forgot the CD's (midnight drive to the hospital with my husband packing the bag since I didn't get to it in time!)but was happy with the radio. The commentary took my mind off of things and the music helped the time pass quicker 3-6 minutes at a time per song.

Mary K Swaffield said...

I thought I already posted this, but...

For me, the relaxing music just drove me CRAZY during labour. I had to have it turned off, which made me sad considering all of the careful thought I'd put into it.

The thing is... labour isn't very relaxing, and the more I tried to relax, the more frustrated I ended up feeling, haha. So, with Lili, I went with the advice of a doula and chose more passionate, exciting and almost-but-not-quite angry music. This if found extremely helpful. Think LVB 5, 1st mvt rather than the second, LOL!

I did have an "after birth" CD that was very relaxing and joyful for right after the delivery.

Who knows how you'll feel... maybe prepare a few CDs, each with a different theme! You'll have many hours to fill (not too many, hopefully), so go to town!