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Music Is In The Space Between Notes

"Music is in the space between notes" - Claude Debussy

In education we are seeing an increase in anxiety amongst children.

Our lives have become like a piece of music that is frantic and hurried. The day is filled with crashing cymbals, loud horns or a relentless melody. The music never gets to resolve so we can reach the place of rest. As humans we are wired to need space and mental downtime.

In music it is the space between notes that allow the notes to fully express themselves. When we listen, space allows us to fully experience the sound, the breath and the pause. This allows our brains to process, to renew, create and experience joy.

So it is with life We need to create and guard the space in between the notes of life. If we live a symphony that is constantly racing towards some great crescendo, it is no wonder that our children never get to experience the natural rhythm of work and rest. A brain without rest becomes an anxious brain, living in a constant state of readiness. As humans we were designed to sit and notice the sunset, take a break and find somewhere you belong. It is why athletes and creatives acknowledge the need to have different types of rest. We need to think about allowing ourselves and our children physical, mental, sensory, emotional, creative, social and spiritual rest.

Recently, I read a book called Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim-Pang. I read about the neuroscience behind rest and the importance of scheduling deliberate times to give ourselves space and rest. I thought about how a symphony is actually broken up into movements. After each movement there is a period of silence where we contemplate, anticipate and allow our brains to process.

Yesterday, my daughter was feeling sad after a busy day. I went in and sat beside her on the floor. We sat in silence for a long time, our breathing became synchronized and a sense of calm settled upon us both. Eventually, she hugged me and we talked. Space can connect us, heal us and calm our brains.

How can we create space between the notes in our busy lives so we can rest and recover?

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