This is an invitation to an adventure in awareness, an approach to the experience of living that only makes living more real.
Let’s take a breath.
At any moment, we can be home, and home is much closer than we think. If we can just realize the reality of THIS breath, we can be at home right now, in our body, just as it is, without commenting on how it should be.
Take another breath, eyes closed………………… … then another.
There is a way of being, a way of paying attention that is fresh, like coming out of a womb, like tasting lemon for the first time.
To explore it as a pure idea would be an exercise in thinking, an exercise without life. Check in with your body; live the fullness of THIS moment.
Let's take three breaths eyes closed. “What am I sensing?”.
See for yourself how things change as you pay attention. Did you hear the leaves? the lightbulbs? Did you see shades of black inside your eyes? Did you notice an itch? Did you discover a scent? What sense was most prominent?
Let's take four breaths and zone in on another less prominent sense.
Though these acute senses brought you superpower, we are more than our body. We are more than our emotions. We are more than our thoughts.
Let's take five breaths eyes closed and discover where our thought goes when it’s roaming. Let it roam. Just follow the bread crumb like a drone, without judgment.
With stillness, we can catch our thoughts as they’re passing by. That’s what’s peculiar about thoughts, they all do that, passing by. Nothing human lasts forever.
If you enjoyed your breaths, take a few more
This very minute could feel like the first minute… of the rest of your life. Here’s a chance to begin anew.
If you enjoyed breathing more than reading, take a few breaths
Your life is already doing the doing itself.
You don’t have to do the living.
You’ve just spent 5 minutes living to the fullest. Take one last breath
No one can tell you what your path is. There is not just one way. There are manifestations of ways. Whatever ways we find, there you are.
Sometimes there are moments of not knowing.
Just as silence is as integral to music as sound is, these unfolding moments are part of your own song. Find comfort in uncertainty.
Growth Mindset, not Fixed Mindset
Students with a growth mindset believe there is no such thing as a fixed level of intelligence and creativity. All mistakes are opportunities for learning and brain research show the brain can always learn, even after a certain age.
Fixed mindset students will tend to take feedback very personally, avoid failures and challenges because they want to perform well, so they stick to what they know. Students with a growth mindset will take more risks and “go out on a limb because that’s where the fruit is”. They embrace challenges; they take constructive feedback as an assessment of their current state, not their permanent characteristic, and they believe that they can learn to do better with effort and persistence.
In order to build self-efficacy and life long learners, teachers and parents should encourage growth mindsets and give students opportunities that are low stake to make mistakes, to reflect on how they learn, to understand how mistakes occur.
Don’t just do what the teacher says without questioning.
A good teacher aims to develop independence and critical thinking in students so that they may be able to solve musical problems on their own during their own practice time. These include what fingering to choose, how to memorize, how to play faster, how to fix a stump at a particular bar, where to add a swelling and why, which articulation and phrasing to use and why ...
"After reading the
the sentence, you are
now aware that the
the human brain often
does not inform you that the
the word the has been repeated
twice many times "
When students repeat without engaging their whole brain, there will be approximations and mistakes. Don’t waste time practicing if you are not going to engage your whole person, brain included, because you will be repeating the wrong sound and physical habits.
Create something, don’t just play what is written
To be out of your daily self and try something unexpected, to be playful and open yourself up to new musical ideas will bring you more than the skill to play an instrument.
Playing without the fear of making a mistake now and then will bring you more joy and help performance anxiety.
Deep listening is required in order to know how to collaborate with others or how to choose the next note, or rhythm. A guide and framework is all you need to be freer to express yourself each day.
My general teaching philosophy addresses several responsibilities of the teacher:
A teacher is, by definition, a learner. Specialization has made the field of music a puzzle where not all pieces fit together. With the possibility of a variety of ways to share knowledge, it's time for music teachers to share their wisdom to one another. A new direction and platform is needed at this time, to advocate for music and the arts in society.