Years ago as a classroom teacher, I discovered that many cultures celebrate with light throughout the year: Ramadan. Diwali. Chanukah. Kwanzaa. Christmas.
Furthermore, in yogic traditions the solstices and equinoxes are said to be very auspicious times to meditate. I’ve found this to be true.
And good meditations lead to great musical performances. Why?
The stilling of your mind and opening of your heart allows the figurative Light of inspiration to shine through your performances.
This past Sunday I had the tremendous honor of leading 250 young singers of the Pacific Youth Choir in a meditation before their Candlelight Carol concert. It was not my first time working with these extraordinary singers, so I cut right to the chase:
The reason to meditate before a performance is not to fight against your body’s natural response of performing for a full house. Instead, the best reasons are:
- To bring your mind to a complete focus upon the music and your inner experience.
- To quiet the chatter of distraction and worry that keeps you from performing your best.
- To deepen your awareness of the awakening joy, inspiration, and spirit of the music.
- To step onstage and resonate your tangible experience into your highly focused performance.
- To experience in real-time the powerful effect music has upon both yourself and the audience.
I sat in the packed Cathedral, close to tears for nearly the entire concert. The exquisite sonic beauty of soaring young voices combined with the genuine sense of joy and light that streamed from their faces.
Yes, they’re young. They may still be bright and shiny, untarnished by the stresses of the “real world”. But yet their willingness to naturally express their light gives me much to ponder.
Perhaps I, too, can choose to welcome more Light into my heart as I teach, direct, and perform. Perhaps I can also deliberately choose to bring light into my thoughts darkened by worry and fear.
And during this auspicious time of year, perhaps I can invite you to bring illumination into your own musical experience as a listener or performer. Listen in your heart for the resonance of Light. Let that Light shine through every note you sing or play.
Be a musical light shining in this world full of darkness. Celebrate the return of Light into your music.