How strict is it not to listen to music during Sefira? I listen to music a lot; it helps me relax etc. So during Sefira, it is quite difficult for me. I’m wondering if perhaps I can listen to music or if specific music is OK? I’m ready to, so to say ‘sacrifice’, but if during Sefira it is more lenient, then I would appreciate if I can listen to music.
During the Sefirah days we do not listen to music (from instruments, even if recorded).
However music which is not intended to make one be happy and/or dance is not forbidden in certain situations (like depression, or heavy fatigue), and one may listen to that type of music. However initially one should try their best to avoid even this type of music in all situations.
I suggest listening to tapes of Chassidim singing slow Chabad Nigunim. The occasional music which is secondary and background isn’t an issue.
Minchas Yitzchak (1:111) explains that music is forbidden during the Sefirah days as is the custom (although not mentioned in the Shulchan Aruch).
See also Igros Moshe Orach Chayim 1:166.