A mindful musician is someone who has developed a heightened awareness of music that is both instinctive (felt through the body) and refined (developed through the mind ). A mindful musician is comfortable exploring different ideas in music such as beat, rhythm, dynamics and tempo. A mindful musician is both present in the moment and looking ahead while making musical decisions. He or she is at ease with their instrument. Technique becomes a vehicle of musical expression and the instrument of choice is an extension of the body. A mindful musician is connected with mind, body and music. He or she plays with a sense of uninterrupted flow in ensemble or solo, improvising or recreating music.
A teacher needs to guide a student to become a mindful musician. While the goal is to actuate and be able to perform, a teacher guides students through a sense of exploration and develops their curiosity rather than just dispensing knowledge.
Through listening activities, games and exploration of movement with music, students begin to develop their own ability to create music.
To quote Virginia Hoge Mead:
All music learning begins with perceiving or hearing of sound, then as student responds in some way the mind begins to grasp bits of understanding and the student is ready to actuate or create his own music by either performing, improvising or composing.
As the music teacher, it is my belief that learning is a circular process. The more experiences I can offer in regards to perception, grasping, actuating and performing, my students will develop a deeper understanding of music. The process can be reinforced through a variety of activities where the student is both responsive and active physically, mentally and emotionally.
The teacher’s highest responsibility is to be aware of their students needs in their musical development. As a music educator, it is my belief that everyone has the capacity to become a mindful musician and my goal through teaching is to develop this ability in my students.
In lessons, I include listening activities, singing, sight reading, responding to music through movement, improvisation, composition and ensemble playing. I also give much attention to the development of piano technique. As a pianist who has had much training in the areas of redeveloping my technique through the Taubman approach, I believe that students need to think about how they play the piano. Through my guidance, I hope for them to develop the most natural technique with ease and beautiful sound. Overall, I teach piano because I enjoy the possibilities of developing students that play with a deep sense of musicality and a joyful spirit.