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How Meditation Has Changed My Singing

I didn’t want to do it. Seriously. I hemmed and hawed. I had every excuse in the book...

“I’m religious”

“I can’t just SIT there”

“I do yoga instead”

“I don’t know where to start"

You name it, I probably said it to myself. I probably would have kept using these same excuses too, but one day I was a total emotional wreck in one of my voice lessons and my teacher calmly said, “I think you need to try meditation.”

She got me. Fair and Square. As if the universe hadn’t already been telling me I needed to try it. So I downloaded the “Calm” app and did their 7 day challenge. I wasn’t so sure about it. It felt difficult to stick with but I felt more myself when I took a couple minutes out of the day to meditate. The next six months I kept trying, listening to podcasts about it, and was feeling like I wasn’t getting “any better” at it. Isn’t that so typical?! We always think we need to be good at everything. However, since Meditation is a practice, it's just something that you work on. What really matters is how it actually changes your brain... CHANGES THE NEUROPLASTICITY of your brain. That’s how powerful it is.

Let’s go back to my excuses and put real answers them

“I’m religious”- Yes, meditation grew out of Buddhist practices. However, in America the most popular mediation is referred to as “Mindfulness Meditation.” This is a totally secular practice, and is enjoyed by religious folks, and well as atheists alike. Everyone is welcome. While your eyes are closed, you are simply focusing on your breaths, in and out, and letting thoughts pass, acknologing their presence but not allowing your mind to delve into them.

“I can’t just sit there”- Ha. Ha. Ha. Oh Lauren. Yes you can. Because you are not just sitting there. You are exercising your brain! You brain is taking a ten minute trip to the gym and loving every second of it. So yes, You can!

“I do yoga instead”- This one is fair but still not accurate. Because while most yoga practices do incorporate some kind of mediation at the beginning or end of class, this does not always take the place of a mindfulness meditation. Also, you can meditate for five minutes, where as to get a yoga practice might be a bit more of a (worthy) time commitment. This makes mediation an anytime and anywhere kind of thing, which is AWESOME!

“I don’t know where to start”- There’s an APP for that!! Of course there is! My current favorite is “Insight Timer” because it is free and thousands of guided mediations which I also really enjoy. Or you can just set a ten minute timer and get to it. Other free favorites are “10% Happier” and “Stop, Breath & Think.” Most of the other require some kind of membership. My best advice is start with the 7 Day Beginner Sequence on Calm and then switch over to a different app once you are in the swing of things.

Tangible Changes

  1. My focus is on point.

  2. When I am singing, I can let myself just sing, without that inner voice coming after me mid-aria telling me that I don’t know the words or that I’m not good enough.

  3. My ability to calm my nerves pre-audition/ performance is getting better with mediation

  4. I am able to remove myself from some of my most intense singing frustrations and address them from a place of calm instead of sheer anger. This is perhaps the biggest change, because these frustrations used to totally cripple me. I just wanted it get it right SO BADLY. (singers, ya feel right?)

  5. While I am practicing, I am much more present. I set timers for myself and then I get to work. This has always been a struggle for me. I would start practicing and all the other things that were on my to do list would suddenly feel so important and that intense anxiety would creep in.

So singers, performers, and lovers of life: I hope you can start meditating. It helps with a whole lot more than singing. I’m not a mediation teacher but I would love to hear any comments or questions you have and I will answer them to the best of my abitlity. Last but not least, join my email list!

 

Lauren Therese Anderson, Mezzo-Soprano

©2018 BY LAUREN THERESE ANDERSON