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Music for Relaxation:

A Decision Matrix


Control No Control

Quiet? Need for masking?

Relaxation is goal Distraction is desired

No Lyrics

Slow tempo: 60-80

Preferred music Sedative music Highly preferred
Simple melodic music
themes and
Iso-principle: tempo, style, Match music to
intensity mood

Major mode

With lyrics Without lyrics Dialogue?

Facilitated Self-guided

Progressive Muscle
Deep breathing Imagery

(Iso-Principle: Move intensity, complexity and tempo of music in the desired direction.)

*The iso-principle: Matching the rhythms and character of the music to a current mood state.
For the purposes of relaxation, begin using music at a slightly more relaxed state than you are
feeling and gradually change the music to guide you into deeper relaxation.
Daniel B. Tague, MME, MT-BC
© 2011