As my dissertation in the final semester of my Medical Humanities MSc, I decided to take on the project of writing music for medical waiting rooms. I composed and recorded an album of music lasting an hour. It involved a collection of electronic ambient and piano music, with the intention of providing a calming waiting room environment. The album was played in a waiting room at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. The pieces of music are published in this blog.
In order to write the music to encourage a relaxing environment, I used the technique of musical embodiment when composing. I have taken a section from my dissertation blog which explains this process, taught to me by a musician and composer, Gary Lloyd:
“You can’t just write music that you think sounds nice. You need to consider the effect you want it to have: how you want the music to make people feel. In order to do so, you must put yourself in a place, embody a situation that evokes those feelings as you compose the music.”
I wanted the music to encourage a relaxing, stress-relieving environment. Therefore, while writing, I needed to imagine myself in a place where I felt completely relaxed, happy and stress-free. For the first piece of music written alongside Gary as an exercise, I imagined myself lying on a beautiful beach, the sun warming my skin and the waves gently lapping at the shoreline. By imagining myself in that place, I was able to write relaxing music more effectively.