Meditation is becoming more and more mainstream, and it is time that we as musicians realize how much we can benefit from this simple technique. Meditation optimizes practicing, adds a tangible dimension to performance, and helps us find our flow and inspiration.
Want some facts? It has been scientifically shown that meditation:
- improves concentration and absorption
- improves the listening experience
- decreases stage fright and performance anxiety
- decreases stress responses that trigger adrenal fatigue
- increases blood flow, decreases blood pressure
- decreases your limbic system “fight or flight” reaction
- helps performers achieve the state of flow, of Inspired Performance, much more easily and consistently.
- increases intuition, the key to musicality.
- trains you to be fully in the moment for true spontaneity.
- increases and expands awareness for improved nonverbal communication within an ensemble.
- trains performers to “get out of the way” to let inspiration come through.
- By training your body to enter a deep state of physical relaxation at will, you will be able to practice and perform for longer periods without pain and frustration.
- You will look better when performing. You might think this is just vanity, but inner peace naturally brings a little smile or a relaxed look to your face which will help them feel at ease even in the midst of musical intensity. In this increasingly visual world, audiences look at your face as much or more than they listen.
- You will build magnetism by your increasing inner happiness and peace. People will start wondering what you have that they don’t. They know that there is something about you that just feels good to be around, and will seek you out.
- You will gain greater equanimity making it easier to maintain composure when faced with a difficult conductor or miserable stand partner, not to mention performing under duress.
- You begin to see the bigger picture. Meditation fosters a practice of non-attachment which allows you to learn from the inevitable mistakes without an overwhelming guilt and see a bigger picture. You learn how to keep an inner peace regardless of the outcome of performance.
- It feels really good. When you let your inner experience shine through your music, it becomes contagious. The nature of joy is to want to share itself—people are thirsty for feel-good vibes.
- Group meditation creates underlying unity and cohesion within ensembles. When people tune into each other on a deeper level, it makes it much easier to approach the differences and disagreements that naturally arise in any group dynamic.
So why in the world would anyone NOT want to meditate? I invite you to try for yourself, without any expectations of boredom or restlessness. Peace of mind and stillness need to be cultivated in our craft now more than ever. Music, especially, benefits from just a few minutes a day of sitting in the silence.
Open yourself to inspiration, the inward flow of energy. Find your flow.