Thursday, May 7, 2009

Music for massage

Music isn't at the top of the list of important elements of a great massage, but it certainly adds to the experience. Since any music I have tends to get played frequently, and since it takes only seconds to pick a cd or playlist for each session, I do make an effort to provide music that will contribute to the treatment.

I try to choose something that will be enjoyable, but not so interesting as to demand a client's attention. New people usually get one of my vanilla "relaxing" recordings. I have some that are(I think) not too bland but still pleasant in the background. For each massage, I try to think of what will be appropriate to this person. Then I consider if the session is more of a sports or clinical massage, or more for relaxation.

Things get fun when I learn to what sorts of music a client already listens. Sometimes this motivates me to explore new music and put together a new recording. One client who is an opera lover got me searching for vocal music, and I ended up with choirs singing Bach, Handle and other sacred "classical" composers. This is a good illustration of finding something appreciated by both the client and by me. I didn't find any operas that I liked and that I thought would work for massage, but the search led me to other music that works beautifully.

Another client is a jazz musician, and talking with her led me to music by Duke Ellington and Glen Miller. For these I combined several albums picking the slower pieces and removing the snappier, more exciting tracks.

Two big favorites of mine for massage music are Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith. For a bit more modern sound I have some trance-y and urban groove recordings.

A few things go into choosing music. I look for a lot of consistency between tracks, with transitions that aren't obvious. The tempo shouldn't change much, or the volume. The style needs to be the same. Words shouldn't be too distinguishable, or not in English. The most important rule is no "surprise" tracks that seem to be from a completely different cd.

Of course I have only music that I enjoy, so no matter what I play, at least one of us likes it.

This very moment, a not uncommon enough strange thing happened. There are beams across the top of my balcony that once held a roof. Squirrels use them as freeways, and in the early morning, a squirrel shadow will dash across my computer monitor.

The squirrels are my nemeses, as they dig up my plants just for fun.

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