Using Rock and Jazz as meditation music to relax your mind and body
Meditation always causes me to think of a long haired, long bearded guy, wearing a loin-cloth sitting in an uncomfortable position. And of a shaved headed guy, wearing robes and sitting in an uncomfortable position. And for music? None of that chanting and bells for me. I first started out on country music, like George Jones. Then I moved into rock, Southern Rock specifically. Bands like Lynyrd Skynard.
My late teens and twenties were spent listening to bands like Pink Floyd, The Doors, The Grateful Dead and Tom Petty. Shifted back to country with Hank Williams, Jr. for a while but rock was my world. One night, exhausted and stressed out, a friend loaned me a cassette tape (yeah, that long ago) of some instrumental music. I had never heard anything like it. I laid down, closed my eyes and suddenly it was morning and a new workday began. I think I ended up stealing that cassette.
I was hooked. I had found meditation music to relax my mind and body. And I did not even know that it was meditation music. The problem was that not much in meditation music was available in the Ship’s Store so I took what I could get (great line from Bachman Turner Overdrive) and began experimenting. I began listening to all types of music, whatever I could borrow from friends, and recording selections onto cassette.
Over the years, I’ve listened to a lot of music. Some has been great and others…well, not so great. If you don’t like “meditation” music, I offer the following as substitutes.
“Echoes” by Pink Floyd on the album “Meddle” was released in 1971. Genre: Progressive rock, space rock, and psychedelic rock. Pink Floyd was an English rock band from London, formed in 1965. Their progressive and psychedelic music was distinguished by philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, extended compositions, and elaborate live shows. Pink Floyd has released 15 albums.
I first began listening to “Dark Side of the Moon” and quickly became a fan. As I went thru the albums that I could get, I often stopped and rewound (cassetts, remember), asking myself just what did I listen to. As I have sometimes heard, you don’t get high to listen to Pink Floyd, you get high listening to Pink Floyd.
“Alpha Centauri” by Tangerine Dream on the album “Alpha Centauri” Tangerine Dream is a German electronic music band founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese. The best known line-up of the group was its mid-70s trio of Froese, Christopher Franke, and Peter Baumann. Early music was influenced by Pink Floyd and other psychedelic bands. Tangerine Dream has released over 50 albums to date. Some very early concerts were even performed in complete darkness,
I had never heard of Tangerine Dream until a few months ago. A friend suggested I give them a try and I was impressed enough that I did a little digging and discovered the rich history of this band. I’m not sure how I missed them all these years but it is good to have another great group in the collection.
“Catching the Sun”
“Catching the Sun” by Spyro Gyra on the album “Catching the Sun” was released in 1980. Spyro Gyra has released 31 albums over 40 years and is still touring. Musical roots are blues, soul, and jazz.
I caught a ride with a friend and he was playing this song. Later, I went to a music store and bought the “Catching the Sun” album, I think this was the first I had heard of Lite Jazz type music and while I never bought a lot of Spyro Gyra albums, I still have some old cassettes with some of their songs.
“Riders On The Storm”
“Riders On The Storm” by The Doors from the album “The Very Best Of” (International Version) (2-Disc), The Doors got their start in 1965. They released six studio albums in all, as well as a live album and a compilation. “Rider’s on the Storm” was on the 1971 “L.A. Woman” album and released just a few weeks before singer Jim Morrison’s death.
“Riders…” may not be a great song to meditate by but the music and Morrison’s vocals can carry you away. This was the first song by the Doors I heard and started me on a lifetime of being a fan. After 47 years, The Doors remain as one of rock’s influences.
“In The Garden”
“In The Garden” by Bob James from the album “One” . Bob James was “discovered” by Quincy Jones at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival in 1963. In 1974, James recorded his own album, “One”. The album “Touchdown” included “Angela”, the theme from the sitcom Taxi, and is James’ best know work.
The first album by Bob James that I bought was “One”. The smooth, easy transisitions allow you to drift and relax without effort. With 58 albums released and still on tour, Bob James remains a powerful influence on Smooth Jazz and other genres of music today.
Meditation is defined as a practice where an individual uses a technique, such as focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. Music is defined as vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.
These selections (with the exception of Tangerine Dream), along with many others, provided me with the relaxation I needed during years that “real meditation” music was not readily available to me. I hope you have enjoyed it.
Have you looked outside the normal for relaxing music? What types allow you to just break free of the day’s cares and enjoy a few minutes of peace? It’s easy using meditation music to relax your mind and body.
As always, questions and comments welcomed.
Walking the Path of Peace,