I'm not looking for the typical "meditation music" replete with rainsticks and nature sounds that one hears at spas and (some) yoga studios.
Anyone have any suggestions?
I love listening to Erik Satie (piano) - I think Gnossienne No. 4 is one of my favorite pieces because of the pace of it and it's almost haunting but lulling melody. A similar classical artist is Claude Debussy - I love the complexity of his pieces and thinking of his note patterns. I also appreciate the piano pieces (can you tell I like piano??) in the movie Amelie by Yann Tiersen. I would recommend creating a Pandora station to listen to throughout the day and start discovering some artists/pieces. Often times I'll have music on in the background while working/studying/cooking and find myself thinking "I'd like song that for my playlist".
I second the Pandora idea - there's a lot of great stuff to be found there. I had planned to set up an MP3 player with labor music in advance for my first, and was using Pandora to identify relaxing music I liked, but never got around to it. In retrospect, I didn't miss it at all ... the only music I used in labor was on the ride to the birthing center (around 2 hours), and then I didn't want the instrumentals/relaxing music I thought I would ... I wanted music to sing along with to make me forget. I'd reach a peak in each contraction where I just didn't have the breath to sing along, but it would be just a few seconds, but it helped to keep my mind off the entire rest of the contraction. Also, it helped to time without "timing" - as long as the contractions were coming with every second or third song, I knew the spacing was about the same without having to eye the clock or concentrate on how long it was taking to get to the birth center. Just to say, if this is your first, I'd keep a completely open mind about what type of music, if any, you might find helpful for labor.
I am due February 20 with my first child and I started compiling a playlist now on my iTunes and will add a few songs each week. When I think of the birthing process, I think of mellow moments mixed with some intense ones, so far I have some Gypsy Kings and Annie Lennox in there mixed with Rolling Stones and The Ramones...The more songs I can sing along with, the better, I am hoping... :)