Dr. Eric Dickson is Assistant Professor of Music, teaching trumpet at Truman State University and a certified MBWP teacher. Before starting my current position at Truman State University, I spent several years as a freelance musician and educator in the Indianapolis area. Living an… Continue Reading “Unexpected Mindfulness”
A few months ago, you found me after class to talk about your racing mind. You shared your frustrations about lacking focus, feeling inadequate, and worrying about the future. I want you to know that I heard you. I want you to know that… Continue Reading “You are already enough – thoughts on self-compassion to a recent student”
Holly Brown is an elementary band teacher in Connecticut and a certified MBWP teacher. Senior year of high school. Gym class. This was where my first introduction to meditation took place. As seniors, we were given options about which gym units we would… Continue Reading “Meditation and Mindfulness: Thoughts from a New Music Teacher”
As a music teacher educator, I was fascinated by the opportunity to discover how I might meaningfully pull mindfulness into not only my classroom but also into the culture of my department. Musicians experience the gamut of unique, intense pressures and demands on time. How could I develop my own personal practice while also learning how to share mindfulness with my students and colleagues? And there was so very much to share – the pause, the stillness, the clarity, the awareness, the openness, the absence of judgment, the measured calm, the wonder. I felt such gratitude for each of these evolving dimensions within my presence of mind, and with that gratitude came a pure desire to give.
What is perfection? If someone asked you to describe your own idea of perfection, what would you say? For many musicians, ideas about perfection lie on some continuum between internally imposed and externally influenced idealizations about musical competency. Furthermore, these idealizations are by definition… Continue Reading “Mindfulness and Musical Perfectionism – the hidden costs of chasing after an unexamined illusion”
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… Continue Reading “Why attention matters – musings on investigating meditation with musicians”
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… Continue Reading “Five things I learned after five weeks of teaching mindfulness to teachers”
A recent conversation with my colleague Sharon Paul demonstrated to me 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… Continue Reading “Three breaths – re-engaging during practice and rehearsals”
The initial stages of MBWP are focused on developing physiological regulation and embodied grounding as a means of aiding meditative practice and artistic expression. Working with our breath and bodies helps to calm our nervous system, facilitating our ability to anchor our awareness in the present moment.
During the middle stages of the curriculum, concentration and awareness are cultivated through mindful and deliberate exploration of our senses, emotions, and patterns of thought, leading to greater clarity, stability, and equanimity.
As we non-judgmentally examine our habitual ways of feeling, thinking, and acting, we gain insight into how our perceptions color reality, giving us the opportunity to let go of unfruitful ways of experiencing and responding to ourselves and others. We then work on reframing our experiences such that they are aligned with our personal values.
During the final stages of MBWP training, after reducing our reactivity through mindful awareness, we develop the capacity to act intentionally in the world, using our experiences, aspirations, values, and ethics as a compass for wise and compassionate action.