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  • Writer's pictureMissy Fogarty, LCAT

Music Motivation (Morning Edition)!

What part does music play in your daily life?

Music first thing in the morning

Remember alarm clocks? Of course, they still exist. If you're old enough to remember, take a moment to think back to waking up to the sound of one. Did you jolt awake and slam down the snooze button, only to be rudely awakened nine minutes later? (Repeat, ad finitum). Rudely awakened, indeed. Why would we want to do that to ourselves, first thing in the morning? That doesn't seem like the kindest way to start the day.

Now, with ways to customize our alarms on our phones, take a moment to consider... what sound have you chosen? Maybe take a listen now. How does that sound make you feel? If the feeling isn't particularly pleasant, and you find yourself feeling agitated or annoyed, consider changing the sound. Or better yet, choose a song! It's an option! Here's how to do it on an iphone. If you have an android, get instructions here. It could be that you need that jolt in the morning which is why you chose the sound you did. But if you find yourself aggravated upon waking up and you have that type of alarm, try this experiment. See if you prefer a song that will give you the shot of adrenaline you need to get out of bed, as opposed to a sound preprogrammed on your phone. If it's a song you like, you might find that you feel better upon awakening.

I have an Irish tune (or set of tunes, actually) that I use for my alarm sometimes. It's common for traditional Irish tunes to be batched together in a set, and my choice is no exception. What's nice about it is that it the first tune is pretty slow (it's called Untitled Bridal March, so the bride is in no rush to get to the pulpit here), and the fiddle is also playing quite low in its range (in fact, considering the range, the fiddle must be a viola, which is interesting as that's not typically common in Irish traditional music). This gives me a chance to wake up slowly and maybe take a few deep breaths. The texture of the music is also pretty sparse at the top of the piece. There's the viola, and just a few short chords from the acoustic to give it some support support, so there's not a lot to take in. An accordion comes in slightly later, providing a drone. The drone gives it a bit of a sleepy quality, at least in the context of my being just that. I'm definitely not the type of person who bounds out of bed. I stay sleepy for a bit. The drone-like quality seems to meet me where I'm at. That goes on for about a minute, and if I'm still in bed at that point (highly likely), in the next tune (The Peeler and the Goat) the accordion takes the melody and the guitar accompanying it is more insistent. The tempo is actually the same as the last tune, but it feels faster. That along with the change in tonality gives it a quality of, okay, really now, you've had your moment to open your eyes. How about some movement, no matter how small?

Noticing, feeling and moving your body (slowly)

It's a good idea to move a bit in bed before your feet hit the floor. You have a body. (Well, yeah, duh!) Okay, but how often to we take the time to notice our bodies? Our muscles are naturally stiff when we wake up. Which parts? We can allow music to help us to introduce a bit of movement before we leave the bed. Notice where you can use a little TLC in your body before you get out of bed. Maybe wiggle your toes, roll slightly from side to side, roll our head on the pillow and stretch. Use the music to inspire you to move. Music has that natural quality.

There's one more tune in my Irish alarm set. Called The Corner House, the final tune, really picks up. The guitar chords chuck along, faster now, and on top of that are arpeggiated guitar licks. A lot of forward motion spurring me on to get out of bed, if I haven't already. Then the fiddle and accordion come in together to play the tune. There's also an organ in the background, a Hammond B3? Not sure, but it gives the whole tune a more modern feel (not that modern!). The track that encompasses these three songs lasts a total of 3:46. And if that last tune hasn't gotten me out of bed yet, well, as much as I am expressing enthusiasm for my choice, I am not going to want to hear it again so I'll get out of bed to keep it from going back to the beginning!

I don't use this song for all my alarms, nor do I have a song programmed for all of them. But when I do utilize songs for alarms, I notice that I have woken up more easily, intentionally, and feel good about going into my day.

Keeping the feels going

Another way I use music in the morning is to put on my favorite radio app in the morning when I’m taking a shower and getting dressed. It helps to get me going and puts me a good mood. If I hear something I really like, I will see if I can find it on my music streaming platform so I can access it another time. I've always loved radio when it comes to finding new music. Just discovering music I haven't heard before makes me feel good! Sometimes I'll hear a great guitar feature or song (something with vocals, just to be clear), and I’ll try to find it on a streaming app or youtube so I can go back, listen, and possibly learn it. Or I even might find something that I think would resonate with a client, and if that's the case I will definitely make note of it. So far, in just maybe fifteen minutes of listening to music in the morning, my mood feels good, and I am inspired, which also is a terrific feeling, and a way to get motivated.

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