How Meditation May Help Your Music

Meditation in nature can be a blissful experience!

Meditation in nature can be a blissful experience!

Consider the following scenario.  You’ve spent the last few weeks pouring your heart and soul into a new song, and now it’s time to record it.   You get in touch with a producer and arrange some studio time.  But when it comes time to record, you start to get anxious, as doubts creep into your head.  Is my song really ready?  What will people think of my music?  What if I can’t pull off the guitar part in my song when I’m recording?

This is a common experience for many musicians when they come to record their music.  Our music is often a deeply emotional expression of ourselves – so it’s quite natural for feelings of anxiety, self-consciousness or stress to arise when that expression is exposed to others through the recording process.  

While there’s no quick fix to these issues, you might find it surprising to know that cultivating your ability to simply be aware of these negative states of mind may do wonders for your music.  We’re talking, of course, about mindfulness meditation. 

The claimed benefits of meditation

We’re hearing more and more about the benefits of mindfulness meditation from the scientific community (although to Eastern contemplative traditions such as Buddhism, these benefits are nothing new!).  A number of well-run studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can yield benefits for sufferers of depression, chronic pain, and anxiety.

It’s thought that mindfulness meditation may enhance the areas of the brain that are responsible for emotional response and attention.  Neuroscientists believe that this may improve a person’s ability to choose between competing objects of attention, and better regulate fight-or-flight responses.   

Returning to our scenario above, these possible benefits would clearly be of great use to the anxious musician.  But they can equally apply to that musician’s general work and life.  Who wouldn’t benefit from improved attention?  We’ve certainly noticed benefits in our own lives as we have incorporated meditation practice into our routine.

And don’t just take our word for it.  Scores of successful musicians and others have turned to meditation, and praised its benefits.  The list is said to include Stevie Wonder, Sting, Katy Perry, John Frusciante (formerly of Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Rick Rubin, to name a few.

Cutting to the chase: How do you meditate?

“Okay, so how do I meditate?” I hear you ask.  Well, there’s a number of ways, but one of the simplest methods goes something like this:

1.     Sit in a comfortable position in a chair, on the floor, or anyway else that you find comfortable.

2.     Close your eyes gently and relax the body.

3.     Observe the sensation of your breath, either by noticing the air moving in and out of your nostrils, or the rising and falling of your belly and chest.

4.     Whenever any thoughts arise, simply notice them and bring your attention gently back to the breath. 

Like anything, meditation requires practice (something we are trying to get better at ourselves!).  It’s also important to note it may not work for everyone.  But we definitely suggest giving it a go – you may be pleasantly surprised with the results!

Until next time!