Meditation music – it’s what makes the act of meditating one of the most relaxing human experiences on the planet.
And that’s because meditation is all about the atmosphere. It plays on the senses & gives you that (much-needed) escape from the everyday hustle and bustle. A key part of being able to zone out & enter your most ‘zen’ headspace; one of the common habits of some of the world’s most successful people!
Exactly why you’d be an utter fool to cast meditation aside and dub it as some ‘happy clappy’ hippie practice reserved for crazy people – especially the music. Because if the science behind it is real, then this dreamy breed of music therapy could bring you one step closer to happiness. For some of you, it may even be the key.
So to help you understand more about what meditation music is and why it’s SO powerful, we’ve delved deeper into the science behind music therapy + uncovered the basics of how to create your very own music for meditation.
What is meditation music?
Meditation music isn’t just a different style of music – it’s music with a whole other purpose.
Because while your average tune (be it Jazz, Hip Hop, or Rock) aims to get you up and moving, meditation tunes are designed to do the complete reverse – lure your body into ‘relax mode’ and allow you to feel a true sense of calm. It’s this which is why meditation music isn’t composed using a lot of highly distinctive sounds.
You’ll very rarely (if ever) hear sharp percussive drum sounds or the bright brassy tones of a trumpet – these are pretty much non-existent. Meditation tunes focus more on dreamy lingering sounds, like those you get from gongs, chimes, and soft tibetan horns.
Great for instilling a sense of calm into your headspace. Not to mention drowning out background noise. Hence why rhythm is virtually non-existent, and music for meditation has virtually no form of lyrics. By design, it’s intended to be immersive and transport you headfirst into another world.
Most likely why a good number of meditation tracks also incorporate natural sounds – like the trickling of water or leaves rustling in the wind – to help make this ‘other worldly’ atmosphere feel even more 3 dimensional.
How does listening to meditation music affect the body?
Meditation music isn’t just popular because of how it sounds. There’s a whole ream of health & wellness benefits that come from listening to regular meditation music, including…
- Lower cortisol levels – Cortisol is the body’s stress hormone. And according to science, listening to meditation music is an easy hack to decrease the levels of cortisol in the blood. Hence why meditation music has such a calming effect and is often labeled as a cure for those with chronic anxiety! Listen to meditation music often, and emotionally, you’re likely to be a lot more stable.
- Mental clarity – Another perk of listening to meditation music is clarity. A LOT of it! Because with meditation music being very minimalistic, it also doubles as a great way of drowning out background noise/ eliminating distractions. All of which make it a whole lot easier to truly be ‘at one’ with yourself. FYI: Science has shown how music at certain frequencies can enhance mental stability and concentration. Good to know if you’ve got a lot on your mind.
- Improved sleep quality – Listening to meditation music while you drift off to sleep is never a bad idea. Why all comes back to how it allows you to get the very best out of your night’s sleep. Listen to meditation music while you drift off, and you stand a FAR better chance of entering what’s known as REM sleep – the most important type of sleep you can have! This form of sleep works to enhance your ability to: dream, remember things, process emotions & develop a healthy brain in general. In other words, it’s essential.
Here’s how to make your own meditation music…
Like the idea of meditation music, but yet to feel the benefit?
Don’t give up just yet. Because (disclaimer alert) everyone is receptive to different sorts of sounds. So while certain meditation tracks may have a significant effect on some people, for others, they may have little to no benefit – & vice-versa.
Nothing to be ashamed of. It just means that you’d perhaps be better off making your own music instead of relying on pre-composed tracks. And if this is you – good news – because making your own meditation music today is easier than it ever has been!
Wanted to get started right away? Here’s the basics of what you’ll need to make your own meditation music to a professional standard at home…
1. Get a feel for the right DAW
When it comes to making music in this day & age, you won’t get very far without a DAW.
In short, a Digital Audio Workstation is a piece of software that allows you to record, arrange and mix music, all via your laptop, tablet, or phone. And while for a beginner, this may seem pretty technical, if you want to channel as much of your inspo as possible into your track + make a final product that’s top-notch in terms of quality, then a DAW is 100% the route to go down.
Some of the most popular DAWs out there are Logic Pro X and Ableton Live.
Typical cost: depends on the DAW you choose. Some are free, while others are a one-off cost or subscription-based.
2. Invest in a midi keyboard
Providing you have a DAW (above), you’re going to also want to get yourself a midi controller.
A tool that’s used by top music producers to make the most popular tunes to ever exist. And even though meditation music is designed to do the exact opposite, using a midi controller to compose your track will give you a HUGE advantage!! To be more specific, using a midi controller, as opposed to the keys of your computer, allows you to inject feel and atmosphere into your track with very little effort.
This all comes back to something called velocity sensitivity. A perk that midi controllers have and your computer keyboard does not; the harder you press a specific key/ pad on a midi controller, the louder and more prominent the sound becomes. Exactly why a midi controller is a non-negotiable piece of kit when making meditation music.
Without one, you won’t be able to key-in notes softly and create an immersive dream-like atmosphere.
Typical cost: £50-£100 for 25 keys upto £1k for the best 88 key controller.
3. Record acoustics into a studio mic
While meditation music rarely includes lyrics, that’s not to say you can’t use your voice.
Heck, your voice itself can even function as an instrument, often being one of the best ways to weave dreamy tones into your spiritual soundtrack. And the great part about using your voice is that you don’t need a controller to manage it – merely a solid vocal mic to record into.
The best mic out there for recording vocals is undoubtedly a condenser mic, although if you’re on a budget, then a USB mic could be a viable alternative.
Typical cost: anywhere from £100 to £1k depending on quality/ type of mic.
4. Switch things up with VST plugins
If you create a truly unique vibe, then you cannot afford to sleep on VSTs.
Otherwise known as virtual instruments, these plugins allow you to unlock a whole cocktail of new sounds and effects, many of which you wouldn’t be able to even create in real life!! Arguably the most important ingredient to creating any sort of ‘other worldly’ atmosphere.
For meditation music in particular, you’d be wise to check out some custom synth sounds, as well as delve deeper into effects like delay and reverb. Analog Lab by Arturia would be a good place to start. Either way, if you’re after infinite possibilities, then VST plugins are a necessity you must invest in.
Typical cost: anywhere from free to £100+ depending on the catalog of sounds.
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