Sept. 1, 2016: New NA Buxmont Site Launch!

Our new website is now available in beta format until Oct. 1. You can preview it by clicking HERE. -Karen Meshkov, Publisher


Mindfulness for Musicians:
The Process of Practice

by Jonathan Flowers

“Music, the most abstract and uncanny art, is an eternal river of sound moving through time. We can free ourselves from whatever may be holding us back, and join that flowing river. “

             – William Westney           

Music is an art that so many love but so few pursue. Many people stand on the banks and listen to the river of sound, but so few stay in the water to play, sing or create music, either through independent practice or studying with a teacher.

What holds people back from exploring their musical potential? Four common obstacles are:

  • Self-Consciousness: “I lack talent. I’m too young/old/undisciplined. I’ll choke in performance!”
  • Impatience: “Practicing is tedious and lonely. I don’t have time or desire to correct errors.”
  • Closed-Mindedness: “Learning new techniques will stifle my musical creativity.”
  • Pragmatism: “Practicing music is impractical and self-centered. Children’s time is better spent on school work, sports, family and socializing. Adults need to focus on their jobs, homes and families.”  Musicians can overcome these impediments by realizing that they are just mindsets. They are not real—they exist only in the mind and can be set aside by focusing on process before product. This mental shift occurs when individuals suspend self-judgment and pay attention to what is happening inside and around them each moment.  How can musicians reclaim their powers of attention in today’s world of multitasking and digital distractions? Mindfulness meditation has received extensive press as a way to improve mental focus, relieve stress and enhance creativity. The following five-minute meditation can help musicians to tune the body, mind and spirit before practicing.

Meditation Before Practicing
1. Sit still and tall with eyes closed. Enjoy the full length of your spine and limbs.
2. Place your hands on your abdomen and count 10 slow breath cycles as follows: inhale-exhale-1, inhale exhale-2…
3. Continue breathing deeply as you listen to the sounds around you with curiosity. Which sounds are closest? Which are furthest away? Which sounds fade in and out with no clear end points?
4. To conclude, place your hands on your heart, and mentally recite the following intention: “As I play, I will listen with patience and curiosity and allow the music to breathe through me. I will embrace each challenge as food to nourish my creativity.”

Practice is not just a price musicians pay in order to perform—it is a rewarding journey of creative and self-discovery. When musicians learn to savor their process, they gain trust that their music will express their heartfelt intentions.

JonathanFlowersJonathan Flowers teaches piano, voice and music theory/composition at his studio, Mindful Music, LLC, in Bala Cynwyd. He holds music degrees from Yale University and the Eastman School of Music.

September 2016

A Label that Heals: Mysterium Music’s Award-Winning Sound

by Beth Hilton

ED_MysteriumMusic-TrishaBowden_0916Seeing, smelling, tasting, touching, hearing—our powerful senses can bring us great pleasure. We indulge the first four of them with beautiful views, great food, scented candles and warm hugs. But how do we honor our sensitive ability to hear? Are we mindful of the sounds in our environment, the noises we create and the ways that our lives can literally be more harmonious?

Sharing the mindfulness of music is a lifestyle for Trisha Bowden, a lifelong singer, kirtan fan and founder of Mysterium Music, the Pennsylvania-based record label dedicated to high-quality healing, relaxing and restorative music. As a child, Bowden sang soothingly to her pony and learned of music’s power as a healing tool. As she grew within this love of music, she became a professional singer and slowly realized that the type of music one sings and hears is essential to one’s health.

Today, Mysterium Music produces and sells music, with four Grammy-nominated albums by pianist Peter Kater, plus Kirtana Americana by Wynne Paris and Elders & Ancestors by Agrelia’s Castle, an award-winning album that has been embraced for relaxation and hospice care across the world. “All of our music is created with healing intentions and primarily acoustic instrumentation,” explains Bowden, “which makes us stand out as a music label.”

Recently, Bowden attended MIDEM, a global music conference in France, and was encouraged by other countries’ interest in the growing label’s music. Good news, considering they have three new projects in production, including Grammy winner Micki Free’s impending album, The Native American Flute as Therapy.

“It’s up to us to create our own bliss through music,” Bowden reminds us. “It’s always there for us, just a click, switch or chant away.”

Beth Hilton is founder of The B Company, a boutique PR and marketing firm based in Los Angeles, California. Connect at TheBCompany.com. Visit MysteriumMusic.com for interviews, videos, album previews and purchases.

September 2016

Mindfully Musical: 5 Ways to Start

1. Explore new styles of music that you normally don’t listen to. Select a different station every day for a week. Make a note of your favorite new songs and artists and how they make you feel.

2. Connect with your own singing voice—sign up for a session with a voice teacher; participate in a kirtan concert at a local studio; sing along as you fold laundry or sit in traffic. Try to focus on the feeling of the vibrations in the head and jaw, and notice how your energy and mood shift.

3. Experiment with listening to different types of music at various times of the day. Try a downtempo selection while preparing dinner and a brighter, more upbeat sound for the morning routine.

4. Attend a sound healing workshop, or book a few private sessions. Observe your experience before, during and after the sessions, paying attention to your stress level and heart rate.

5. Find a community drum circle in your area. Close your eyes and feel the vibrations moving through your body. See if you can “hear” the different types of drums. Consider taking a lesson, or just learning
by doing.