I've been indulging in a little me time recently. I mentioned in my last blog that I've taken up yoga and I've been using a couple of apps to help me spend a little more time being still and mindful. This got me thinking - how can we use music to be more mindful?
So what is mindfulness? Well, according to Google:
I think there are two ways that mindfulness and music can interact:
We often listen to music in a mindless way - it's a background sound or we just sing or humm along. But here are a couple of ways you could try listening more mindfully:
- Find a score or copy of the sheet music and look at what's happening. Follow each bar carefully.
- Track one instrument and focus your ear on that one line. Concentrate on how it interacts with the other instruments.
- Listen carefully to the words - hear each one and how they rhyme or change throughout the song.
- Be aware of how the music is making you feel - is it calming, uplifting, worrying?
We focus on lots of things when we practise - at any one time we might be thinking about tempo, rhythm, pitch, breathing, articulation, words, performance - and all sorts of sparks are flying in your brain. So how about:
- Playing your scales or sing your exercises mindfully. Track each note - is it as beautiful as it could be? How is your breathing working? What does it feel like?
- Play or sing simple music and really nail down each aspect at a time.
- Play or sing long notes and listen to every millisecond of that note, concentrating on all the different aspects that could improve it.
Not only will this work give your brain time to recover from the many thoughts that keep us occupied during the day - you'll be a better musician too!