Mindfulness and Musical Perfectionism – the hidden costs of chasing after an often unexamined illusion

What is perfection? If someone asked you to describe your own idea of perfection, what would you say? For many musicians, ideas about perfection often lie on some continuum between internally imposed and externally influenced idealizations about musical competency. Furthermore, these idealizations are by definition abstractions rather than the thing itself. The perfect note, phrase, […]

Why attention matters – musings on investigating meditation with musicians

A couple of years ago, I received an invitation to present on the topic of music and mindfulness for a symposium featuring some preeminent researchers. One of these scholars was none other than Richard Davidson, author of The Emotional Life of the Brain, and head of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. […]

Five things I learned after five weeks of teaching mindfulness to teachers

Earlier this spring, after years of research and personal practice, I decided to finally put my thoughts together and offer a mindfulness-based class on teaching and wellness. The class is modeled after the popular 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program developed at the Massachusetts General Hospital, with readings, practices, and discussions designed specifically for […]

Three breaths – re-engaging during practice and rehearsals

A few weeks ago, my colleague Sharon Paul shared an experience with me that I think demonstrates how powerful even a simple mindfulness-based technique can be in changing the dynamics of a practice session or rehearsal. Sharon is the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Oregon, and is in my opinion, one of […]