From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, “Fluffy’s a piece o’ cake if yeh know how to calm him down, jus’ play him a bit o’ music an’ he’ll go straight off ter sleep –”
A few years ago, on a rather cold day (maybe it was raining?), when the children were inside and bustling with their usual energy, I was trying to figure out how to keep some modicum of calm, so I could finish dinner. Then, out of the blue, the line above from Hagrid popped into head. Music! Of course! So, I turned on YouTube, found one of my favorite groups, Anonymous 4, and started playing their recording of the Ladyman’s Mass (it’s so gorgeous!). I didn’t make a show of it. I just simply turned it on. Within a few minutes, once the kids were quiet just long enough to realize there was music playing in the background, things became a lot more calm around the house. Energized chasing turned into quiet play or reading. I smiled to myself and continued dinner. Since then, when things get a little out of hand, I turn on some Middle Ages to Renaissance or Baroque music, and it really does help keep it a bit calmer.
I love that my children have tons of good energy. I know that it is coming from a good place (I don’t load them up on sugary or overly processed foods), and that they need that exercise to grow strong. However, there does come a point at which it becomes “too much” for me, and those days tend to fall on days when they really can’t go outside to help burn it off. I have found some favorites on YouTube (you could also use Spotify) that work very well for my particular kids. Ancient music seems to be the trick. They are incredibly sensitive to very dissonant harmonies/harmonic structures, and to the ebb and flow of Romantic and late-Romantic music. This is a good thing overall, but not when their little systems are already fired up! A little Shostakovich or Bartok, and they will literally be running all over the house, shouting — sometimes in fun, sometimes not. In time, they will learn to deal with their big emotions. In the meantime, I do find that having some ancient-to-baroque music playing when we need a bit of peace is a great way to achieve just that. 🙂