Silence is golden
It's a strange thing for a music teacher to say - but silence is really important!
You may have noticed that it's been a while since I last added to my blog. There are lots of reasons for this - I've been really busy taking on new students and guiding their first steps into music, which is always such a privilege. I've also been involved in all sorts of performance opportunities (like the Torkard Ensemble's lunchtime recitals) and furthering my own skills by taking (and passing!) Grade 5 saxophone. In other words, life just rather took over. But the other thing is that, for all sorts of reasons, I've been a bit lost for words.
Life is rather complicated and sometimes it's more than a bit rubbish. We're not always good at saying that in public. Social media allows us to portray a life to the world that isn't always the one we're living and we see only the selected highlights of other people's lives, often making us feel isolated and alone. Today is "Time to Talk" day - an opportunity to be open about mental health. So it's important that I say that I struggle too. I've experienced depression and anxiety. Sometimes these things are manageable and I get on. Other times, it's all a bit much and it's time to get some help and take some time out.
There are lots of ways we can react to difficult times and challenging health. Sometimes we shout about it, sometimes we ignore it and hope it goes away. But one of the things I chose to do was to take some quiet time and allow myself to deal with it. So I've been having some time away from social media, some time time putting less pressure on myself and some time to reflect and recover. I think that's really important - allowing yourself time away from all the noise of everyday life to think and just be. Time to enjoy the silence. And when you do, you often have chance to listen to other sounds - the beautiful singing of birds, the whisper of the wind in the trees or the hammering of the rain on the music room roof! These are wonderful sounds that we often miss in the chaos of our everyday lives.
Recently, I've also been going to yoga classes with the very lovely All You Yoga in Hucknall. Yoga is great for clearing the mind of all its clutter for a little while and concentrating on you. The breathing exercises I teach singers are very closely linked to the breathing used for yoga so it's been helpful for my singing as well as giving me time out to recover. I've also been using some apps to make sure I take at least ten minutes a day of quiet time to concentrate on just breathing and "being". These things are doing me the world of good.
My next blog is going to focus on music and mindfulness - two things that can work very well together to improve both your musicianship and your mind!
Until then, please take some time for you. You only get this one life and it's far too precious to waste on excessive work and worry. Stop. Breathe. Be!