Music Toolkit – Breathing and Music

What You Need:

  • Yoga mat/pillows, if needed.

  • Pre-recorded relaxation music without words or sounds of nature. For example, songs using acoustic guitar, strings, or piano only such as some music by The Piano Guys.


  • Encourage child to find a comfortable position, whether it be lying on their back or stomach, sitting upright, putting their head down on the table, etc.

  • Start playing pre-recorded music and invite the child to close their eyes if they feel safe to do so.

  • Using a soft and slow voice, encourage the child to concentrate on their breathing in and out, drawing attention to how their lungs and stomach expand when breathing in and relax when breathing out.

  • Begin counting breaths in the following manner:

    – Start by counting in for 2, out for 2 (2/2).

    – After three repetitions, go to 3/3 for 3 repetitions, and finally 4/4.

  • Allow the child time to count in and out on their own; encourage them to breathe in for the same amount they breathe out.

  • Repeat song as needed/desired for no more than 20 minutes.

  • When ending the exercise, turn down music slightly.

    – State “Bring attention to your hands and your feet, moving them slowly. Open your eyes when you are ready.”

  • When they are ready, allow the child to take their time in sitting upright.

This is a relaxation activity to draw attention to breathing patterns to slow respiration/heart rate and decrease anxiety, pain, or agitation and to teach possible coping strategy to utilize when needed. It is a good activity for children over 8 years old.

All activities should be supervised by an adult.


Thank you to Jessica Sturgeon, MT-BC, HPMT for providing this activity.

Possible modifications:

Watch for breathing to see if they are struggling to breathe in or out for the number you are counting; if they aren’t able to, then do not go higher.