Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Meditation And Music Study

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I have ALL my students meditate- from the elementary school beginner to the aspiring professional. What is meditation ultimately? Mindfulness. Focus. Internal awareness. Clarity. Stillness. Theses are all attributes that are vital to a student beyond the music lesson. In today’s multi-tasking society mindfulness and focus is paramount. What instrument study and meditation create is a mind-body training to be fully engulfed in your work, enhancing learning capabilities as well as creativity. Distractions run amuck these days. Students are constantly struggling with simply keeping attention. Many sociologists believe we are designing an ADHD society. The answer is in the paradox. One must learn and train to think in a singular fashion. Truth is it is biologically impossible to do otherwise. For example, learning drum set is about four-limb coordination. (You know, the rubbing of your belly while you pat your head kind of thing.) Truth is the method is actually “interdependence”. The idea that all limbs work together as one, but seem independent. So the irony is… To play an instrument where four-limb coordination is key a student must train singular focus to achieve success learning. Even a 60 second breathing meditation produces huge leaps in their development. The students who then take the meditation practice to academic and sports activities have found great success. For years I have worked with ADHD students in musical study. The notion of having a low pressure, positive, creative environment to grow in leads to great success beyond the lessons (some ceased to use medication all together). Shawn Anchor, a Harvard professor found meditation to positively affect ADHD students both academically as well as emotionally. The idea is simple. Meditation positively trains focus and mindfulness, a tool vital in learning music and being creative. The more one puts in and gets out of their music study, the more that success transfers to all areas of their life.

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