5 Ways Mindfulness Will Skyrocket Your Music Career

5 Ways Mindfulness Will Skyrocket Your Music Career

 

What is Mindfulness? Is it all about sitting in peace on mountain tops, or might it be the answer to becoming the phenomenal musician you’ve always wanted to be?

 

Mindfulness is a meditation technique originating from ancient Buddhist practices. Its been used to enhance the mind in concentration, martial arts, and the pursuit of happiness for millennia. Today you can train in a range of mindfulness methods, from those traditional Eastern techniques to the more contemporary and scientific. Mindfulness is often described as a state of mind where you’re consciously paying attention to the present moment.

Read on to discover how Mindfulness can benefit you as a musician

 

1 Super Concentration

Mindfulness increases your ability to focus on exactly what you’re doing. Without focus, the mind will wonder.

Let’s look closely at what happens when you start playing music. You might begin by focusing on the music, but within seconds other thoughts will creep in. Before you know it, the mind is floating on a stream of random thoughts – what you saw on TV last night, how badly you’re playing, the argument you had with your friend, what you’re having for dinner…

This is the constant state of most of our minds. Not just in playing music, but all of the time. Don’t worry though, it doesn’t have to be this way. With practice you can learn to keep your thoughts on one thing at a time.

The traditional way of learning this is through mindful meditation practice. So how does this work? It’s simple. You make yourself comfortable, sitting down or standing up. Close your eyes, and simply follow the movement of the breath. Sounds easy? You’ll be surprised how difficult it is at the beginning.

Your only job is to observe the breath entering the nostrils, before leaving again through the nose. You don’t need to change anything, just watch the breath entering and exiting the body. When you notice you’ve drifted into a daydream, simply bring the mind back to the breath. With practice you’ll see that you can stay focused for several minutes without effort.

Once you’ve got the basics of following your breath, you can use exactly the same technique to focus on playing your instrument. Super concentration is available to everyone.

 

2 Effortless Creativity

Creativity is central to the musical process. From writing a piece of music, to planning your career. We’re all used to working with our thoughts, weighing up pros and cons, engaging in various internal dialogues.

Through mindfulness training, its possible to access another part of the mind, the area beyond those chattering thoughts. Just by relaxing, and following the breath, you can connect with a part of yourself that’s in no hurry to find the right answers.

As the mind becomes still, focused and relaxed, the thought process becomes less prominent, and a space opens up from which creative ideas and solutions present themselves without thought or effort.

You can use this time to let musical ideas come to you, or to figure out problems. But the best thing is, by regularly practicing mindfulness, you’ll develop a natural effortless creativity which is around all the time. Your whole life becomes a creative process.

 

Need more info?  Ask in the Mindfulness and Meditation forum

 

3 Solid Technique

One great benefit of mindfulness is how you develop a sense of awareness of what’s really going on in your body.

With this deep internal awareness, the hands of the pianist become highly sensitive. They respond to the keys with just the right amount of pressure. The performer learns what it means to be relaxed, but still alert, in both body and mind.

Good technique is about becoming really efficient, making the smallest movements to create the biggest impacts. The better you get at playing, the easier it becomes.

To develop internal sensitivity, try starting with a practice called ‘walking meditation’. You walk very slowly for just a few minutes, focusing solely on the sensations in the feet as they move. When the mind wonders, bring it back to the feet.

Another good practice is to sit still and observe the sensations in any body part. The more you passively observe, the more you discover what’s going on there, and your internal sensitivity rockets.

Then you take it what you’ve learnt to you instrument. If you play the piano, try playing just a single note while observing the sensations in the hand. You’ll notice any tension creeping in, and soon learn to play with an effortless efficiency. Try taking lessons in the Alexander Technique to really explore this fully.

 

4 Dealing with Performance Nerves

Why is it that after practising for weeks, as soon as you’re in front of an audience, it all falls apart? There’s a lot of contributors to performance anxiety, and getting to the root of it can be complex.

Mindfulness helps on many levels. You may have noticed, those practicing mindfulness tend to develop a general calmness, which has its benefits on or off the stage. The anxiety of performing can bring up difficult feelings, and these feelings are experienced as sensations in the body. Through mindful meditation, you can learn to accept these feelings with equanimity as part of your present experience. Once you’ve stopped running away from them, instead welcoming your experience in its entirety, you’re free to enjoy your performance.

As discussed before, focus and concentration become much stronger, meaning that as a performer you can keep your mind on playing your instrument. At some point the mind will wonder into a fantasy – making a mistake, or some other scenario, but now you’re able to bring it back. You’re in control, and you can stop negative thoughts from spiralling, and ruining a performance.

A technique which is insecure, based on too much tension is particularly susceptible to falling apart under the pressure of public performance. The mindful musician uses their practice time to experiment with using just the right amount of effort in every movement. Technique becomes relaxed and efficient. As a performer you can relax in the knowledge that you have a solid technique to rely on.

 

5 Happiness

Mindfulness makes you happier. That’s why so many people have dedicated their lives to the practice of mindful meditation. And when you’re happy, you’re going to be successful. When you’re happy, you’ll be motivated to get up in the morning and practice. You’ll get on better with your band mates. And people will want you around for the next gig!

 


What do you think? Are you interested in mindfulness? Or maybe you already have a regular meditation practice? We want to hear from you! Post your thoughts in the Mindfulness and Meditation forum

 

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