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…
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.
At the last National Association for Music Education (NAfME) research conference, I gave a short presentation on the need for teacher training programs to include strategies for helping educators deal with their internal ecology. I like the term “internal ecology” because it puts the…
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.