I think by now we’re all too familiar with the phrase “comfort food”.  Different for everyone, it ranges from chicken and dumplings to (here’s my favorite) apple dumpling with vanilla ice cream.   It’s that food that makes you feel good.  Either nostalgic for the past or relieving the stress of the current day.  We’ve all been there.

Lately I’ve been dealing with stress of family members.  There are several problems and I’m dealing with everything as best as I can.  But when it comes to practicing my cello, I find that I’m having a very difficult time focusing.  In fact, it’s an effort to work on the music that’s required:  orchestra and quartet.  And believe me, I do need to work on this music.  That Brahms passage from the Tragic Overture is still haunting me.

So what I’ve been doing is turning to “comfort music”.  It’s music that is not stressful.  Does not require fast passages.  There are no moment in the music where 4 measures before the “hard stuff” I start thinking, “uh oh, it’s coming up…it’s coming up”.  It’s music that is relaxing, non-stressful, and brings me to a better place.  Everyone needs some music like this.  It may be something as familiar as “Amazing Grace” 


Or it may be something you aren’t (yet) familiar with, but is very soothing.  Here’s “Meditation” by Frank Bridge


I hope you try to find your own “comfort music” when you’re feeling overwhelmed or under pressure.  It’s a great… (what else?)  comfort.




8 thoughts on “Comfort Music

  1. Nancy, stresses come and go in our lifetime, but some are worse than others, especially with family with whom you love and feel close to. Having Music to play is so comforting, like the meditation by Bridge. I also recommend Dairy Queen or your favorite frozen yogurt, fat- free and sugar-free. I hope they all ease your pain!

  2. David B Teague says:

    Hi Nancy

    This has been a stressful Summer, month, week. Your story and the pieces you posted here to help.

    Whole house plumbing replacement: soliciting &evaluating bids, letting the bid, and enduring initial removal of drywall to expose pipes; Expensive cat dentistry but I repeat myself; and almost adding insult to injury, I was rear ended by a kid in Hickory, and have to deal with all that.

    Again thanks for sources of great pieces Bridge writes good stuff. And Amazing Grace is an old standard from the church of my childhood.

    Thank you!

  3. Summertime … and the living is easy … (accompanied my daughter singing that gorgeous Gershwin song at the beginning of summer)

    For me, summertime is the time for salon pieces: comfort music. Salut d’Amour (Elgar) or some Kreisler Waltz (Liebesleid) or a selection of cello pieces by Nölck… Easy going, easy listening… pure enjoyment. Cello can be hard work (wrestling with Goltermann and Popper at the moment), but it can also be supreme relaxation… The more i practice, the more I realize that I can’t really miss it anymore.

    Thanks for your blog, Nancy. I always look forward to your next piece.

    — thanks for the iPad Pro tip – I’m fully digitized now.

    • Hello Peter! Thanks for your message. I guess summer is over and I’m also back to more serious work. Besides my orchestra pieces my teacher has determined it’s time to get more structure back after my lackadaisical few weeks! So back to my Popper etude, a bit of Bach, and starting the Elgar. A giant leap!

      I’m so glad you’re on the digital train! Are you using ForScore and have you found the multitude of colors available? I’m into the purple phase right now! Enjoy!

  4. ForScore works perfectly for me. Didn’t find the colors at first, but now you mentioned it… well, I’ve set it to this nice Bärenreiter -style blue. I’ve gotten a lot of questions by my fellow students at the academy last week. Guess I’ll convert some of them to the digital realm before long… Thanks again !

    I like the new layout of the blog .

  5. Nan, you must really, really love the answers you get to your blogging! So rewarding, and people write you back with such great comments and their own experiences!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>