Stress and distraction will forever be present in our lives. It can come from a variety of directions. One of the most powerful examples is the invasion of technology in every part of our daily lives. Technology has dimmed the marks between our home and work. We always struggle to find a place where we can unwind. In order to overcome stress, many choose to explore mindfulness exercises like meditation and yoga. The concept of Mindfulness is widespread and has many benefits.
Mindfulness meditation focuses on our awareness, on where we are now. We have two places, two spaces, in our minds. Where we are and where our mind takes us. The trick is to be able to focus on the now. Our body, our space, the sounds, the aspects of our life where we are physically.. Our mind tends to wander – this is natural and normal. We can dwell on the past or anxious about the future, anywhere but now. Let it go there (don’t be mad at yourself) but when you do notice it, gently bring it back to where you can focus on the here and now. We cannot change the past and there are many things that can affect the future. Stress is relieved in grasping what we can handle. For the most part we are better at handling the present than we are the future.
In these other timelines, we can have thoughts about our fears or failures or how we were unfairly treated by others. Sometimes, we also predict calamities and disasters that will happen to us. This often ends up us being lonely, hurt, afraid, and stressed. You cannot be mindful of where you are now if you are always concerned about the future. Relax and find the beauty in the now.
Piano Practice: Mindfulness
In order to enter in mindfulness meditation, one anchor that is used is breathing. Spend a great deal of time to focus on how you breath; patterns, depth, time. Be aware of what your body is doing naturally. This is the first step in being present. Being aware of our breath means we have entered the present moment. Before we start a song, breathe and know where you are – getting ready to take the first step in a completely new musical journey – enjoy it!
Other anchors musicians have at their disposal include the notation, sound, fingerings, and rhythm. If you practice focusing on these issues, not only will the piano practice becomes more efficient, but you will find it rewarding as you will also find relief from daily stress that could be from school, homework, etc. If you feel time speed up when practicing piano, then this a great sign! Some people call it being in the “zone”.
And being mindful, present, and less stressed will means you will also learn how to express your emotions through music and, the ultimate goal, to have better connection to the audience during performances.