I am sure you know that feeling. Your alarm clock or a ‘body clock’ (if your circadian rhythm functions well) goes off in the morning. You jump out of the bed well rested and ready for another day.
Or you decide to snooze a little, tired not only from the previous day, but from the previous night as well. You don’t feel like moving at all. You are tired. Your head is still full of various ideas, worries, responsibilities and you are dragging your feet to start a new day.
How do you handle this second, and more common scenario?
Do you have a proven morning routine? Does a critical morning coffee put your mind and body onto a right path? Do you jump under a cold shower? Go out jogging? Stay silent for your meditation ritual? Rush to wake up the rest of the family … and don’t stop rushing until you fall back to your bad again in the evening?
Everyone has different way in starting their day. What works for my family is – music.
That is obvious. Right?
Not really. Because it may be tricky at times. And sometimes a pure silence is the best what you can offer yourself and your family to begin a day.
I have been using music to wake up other members of my family for a couple years now. Here I would like to share my observations and experiences. With a hope that you will find some of them inspiring and will include them into your morning routine. I would be more than happy if, also with my little help, music would make your life more enjoyable.
As I already suggested, using music in the morning could be tricky. I still remember that feeling from the time of my military service, when the wake up trumpet bugle call started. Most of us hated it from the very first day.
Trumpet bugle calls are not what I wanted to write here about, though.
My family experience shows, that appropriately selected morning music – or wake up music, has the power to set you up for the whole day. Or at least a better part of it.
But it cannot be just any music to start your day with. The worst is to rely on a radio. Whichever radio station you may decide to pre-program into your alarm clock, you are exposing yourself to a real danger. Loud and bad advertisements and/or a truck-load of negative news would be the first information entering your mind right after waking up.
Similar situation is with using the same song or music every day. After a while it becomes equally annoying to a buzzer sound or those dreaded military trumpet calls.
Less repulsive, but still not advisable, is a completely unknown music or music genre. When waking up, you don’t want to start right away guessing what is it what you are listening to. You don’t want to be forced to start forming an opinion on, whether you like that music or not.
The morning waking up music has a special function to help your mind and body to go through a smooth transition from the sleeping stage to be fully awake. And to do it pleasantly.
So how to do it?
I don’t think even the most successful DJs playing sets attractive to mass audiences, would be able to fully satisfy your family particular needs. Because ever family is different and no day is the same either.
What you try to accomplish is to find a balance between the day past and the new day about to start. Did you have a hard evening before, with some heated discussions or even fights? Or was it a day when your kids accomplished something important? Has your spouse recently returned from a longer business trip? Or are you already packed and heading for a longer time out of town? Do you prefer to cheer up your family, or cool down some heat?
These are only a few consideration when you think about what music to choose for your family waking up. I don’t suggest that you have to go through a lengthy list and analyze the situation. More than that, it is your feeling how to please and positively inspire your family members right from the first seconds of their new day. You are the best family DJ you have in that particular morning. Give it a brief thought, assess the situation and decide. The worst case scenario is, that you will have to shut down that music you selected. Next morning you can try something different.
One aspect you should consider for sure is – weather. Weather impacts our daily commute, our mental wellbeing, our work. Appropriately selected music can help to look forward into a cold rainy day, or to refresh you heading into a scorching summer heat.
Here is one example from a recent morning. Although we are in the second half of April, winter still doesn’t want to leave from Ontario, Canada. Over the last weekend we had a bad snow storm so there are still piles of snow and ice everywhere. The weather forecast shows the temperature around zero, with cloudy skies.
So my selection for this day was Leonard Cohen. I started with Darkness from his album Old Ideas. Its medium tempo, gentle, bluesy flow and Cohen’s deep voice perfectly reflected the dark day in front of us. At the same time it has a capability to cheer you up. Actually so, if you don’t listen much to the lyrics. But who wants to analyze song words right after waking up?
This Cohen’s album appeared on our morning wakeup show for the first time. But my family is familiar with Leonard Cohen, so they didn’t protest at all. Especially if following they could belt out Hallelujah.
It is important to strike a balance between novelty and repetition, if you want to have happy family morning with music. And to include silence for some mornings as well. Your ultimate goal is to have your family members walking out of the house with smile and humming melodies they woke up with that day.
If you have read right up to here, I guess you may expect some concrete suggestions of what music to play in a morning. I don’t want to disappoint you. But the truth is, as I wrote before, it is very individual. Music genres that haven’t worked for us are – hard rock, hip hop, most of jazz, and contemporary classical music. Here are some music titles that have proven to successfully work in waking up my family:
Wake Me Up – from Avicii (RIP). The title says it all! And it works most of the times. The truth is, that my kids usually end up singing the second song from Avicii’s album True, which is Hey Brother. This happens more often, because it is the second song which finds listeners more awake than the first one. So plan your first and second song properly. You don’t have to start playing an album from the very beginning.
My Favorite Things – from The Sound Of Music soundtrack. After this one comes the song Do-Re-Mi and I can usually hear my kids singing it from the bathroom.
Any Dream Will Do – from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Gold hits collection. The following Don’t Cry For Me Argentina often makes us sing out loud the whole family.
Whispers In The Dark – from Mumford & Sons’ album Babel. It is an intense song, which pushes you out of bed. And if you don’t do it fast, you can end up singing the following I Will Wait stepping and stomping in front of closed bathroom doors …
Other interprets, music or songs that have been proven in my family’s morning routine are in no particular order – dance music violinist Lindsey Stirling, famous flamenco guitarist Paco De Lucia, jazz bassist Richard Bona, Italian singer Zucchero, all-boy English vocal group Libera, Welsh composer Karl Jenkins and his Adiemus series, anything Vivaldi or Mozart.
Do you have favorite morning music? Share it here with us!