Mindful Music Education

There has been much written, studied and observed recently regarding mindfulness in education. Engaging a mindfulness program for students in a school environment has been shown to reduce stress, poor behaviour and behavioural issues whilst increasing school attendance and improving focus in class. It also promotes awareness of self and others and can be an effective stop-gap measure to relieve conflict and to allow students to focus intently during examination times. Music and music education is in and of itself a mindful activity. Mindful practice is effective practice where there is a much higher chance of achieving that magical sense of "flow" where the world disappears into the music. In fact, why not lose the word "practice" - which can sound like a dreary chore to be done with as fast as possible - and replace it with "Music Mindfulness"? "Have you been mindful with music today?" sounds much more appealing than "Have you done your practice yet?" Further, the linkage of focus on breath management and awareness to the art of making music is inherently a mindful practice. Particularly when experiencing nervousness or anxiety in a performance situation, the musician can master the moment through focusing on their breath and taking time to consciously be in the moment, placing negative thought about making mistakes in front of people far away. There is a much higher chance of developing a positive performance practice in music if a mindful approach is developed and engaged from the outset - even at the very beginning of the musical journey. Make your music experience mindful - talk to your teacher, your friends and other musicians about what they do - you might be surprised at what you learn!

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