Monday, August 27, 2012

Setting the Mood: Traveling with Music

All of us have experienced ambient music - tones that are there to make us feel a certain way.  I am not talking about the foreground music we hear in stores or some restaurants, but rather soundtracks from movies or the music you hear at a theme park like Disney World or Universal Studios.  The composers of these melodies take you from just sitting on your couch or waiting in line for a ride and transport you to an entirely different world (and most of the time you don't even realize it!).  This is something that you can easily duplicate and take advantage of in your everyday life.


My daughter and I often use the Pandora app to "travel" to different countries using the world music genres.  During the heat of the summer, we "went" to various countries in South America.  Suddenly sweating my head off went from being purely uncomfortable to exotic.  We didn't change what we were doing around the house, but it definitely changed my mood about the day considerably.  The Celtic and Indian Pandora channels are also favorites of mine for putting a new twist on everyday tasks.
Movie soundtracks can also provide fantastic background music.  You can choose between fast-paced and exciting (race your way through dusting) or calm and peaceful (folding the laundry between sips of iced tea).  Another suggestion, if you love the excitement of being at a theme park, most parks with ambient music sell their park soundtracks.  I actually own the Universal Studios: Islands of Adventure soundtrack, and it's a real mood booster to have my ears suddenly back in Jurrasic Park or waiting on line for The Hulk Rollercoaster.  Fortunately for everyone's wallets, the soundtracks for Disneyland, Islands of Adventure, and many others are uploaded onto youtube.
And we really can't forget about regular classical music.  This genre is so often overlooked by people thinking it "stuffy" and "old-fashioned", but it can be a beautiful way to transport yourself somewhere else. The  WRTI radio station is always on in my car, and  I find it has a great calming effect when I find myself around frustrating driving situations.  If you are new to classical music, here are a few recommendations to help you realize it's potential (please add to the list with your own favorites!):
-Danse Macabre (hauntingly beautiful)
-The William Tell Overture (you may know this as the Lone Ranger theme)
-The Blue Danube Waltz (this will have significance if you've ever seen Goodbye, Mr. Chips)
-1812 Overture (the whole thing is fantastic but these last few minutes are unbelievable)
-The Marriage of Figaro: Overture (one of Mozart's finest)
I apologize for how link-heavy this post is, but I wanted to make sure you know just what is out there for you to turn on and enjoy.  Even if you don't have time for a Daily Vacation today, take your senses on one and make your everyday exciting!


  1. Such a great idea! I love ambient music too. I like Celtic music as well. Also, the Lord of the Rings soundtrack is a favorite of mine. Addison and I like to put classic jazz music in the background while relaxing.

  2. Excellent ideas! Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy is my all-time favorite. Calming, romantic, peaceful. My sister played this at the top of our wedding to set the mood.

    1. Also a beautiful piece of music! I edited the post to include the Blue Danube Waltz as well :)