‘Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.’
Being a musician is a tremendous gift!
The feeling of mastery when a piece of music starts to flow, after hours and hours of practice; the fulfillment of working with other musicians, each of you contributing to the greater whole; the amazing experience of walking onto a stage – big or small – and connecting with an audience; the feeling of grace when another’s heart is touched by what you do…… the gifts of being a musician are many!
And being a musician can also provide some particular challenges and stressors perhaps unique to those working in the creative arts – a field in which one has to be able to communicate with ‘the muse’ of your particular art form yet keep your feet firmly planted in dealing with the nuts and bolts of learning your craft and earning your living from your gift.
Dealing with performance anxiety, competition, touring schedules, contracts, financial uncertainty are all things that come with the territory and can erode confidence and ultimately effect the simple gift of making music which is central to it all. Keeping the feet firmly planted on the earth while ensuring that the spirit can soar free to create fabulous music – this is the life skill all musicians should learn!
Combining over 25 years of experience as a professional musician (singer and harper) with her extensive mindfulness experience, Fionnuala offers both individual and group mindfulness sessions to performers of all ages and levels of experience.
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama (GSMD) in London has recently introduced mindfulness courses for staff and students at the college with excellent results. Research carried out by the GSMD and Cambridge University in 2012 has shown significantly increased levels of perceived wellbeing, positive emotion and life satisfaction among music students who took part in an eight week mindfulness course as part of their training at GSMD. The results of the study also indicated decreased levels of performance anxiety, decreased levels of depression and decreased levels of perceived stress among those students who took part in the mindfulness course. Student reports during in-depth interviews at the end of the course showed the following results:
- Practice has become more effective
- Better management of performance anxiety
- Greater enjoyment of performance
- Increased focus and attention
- Increased self-regulation of behaviour & emotions
- Increased self-acceptance and self-compassion
An artist’s wellbeing is central to their ability to create and perform and Fionnuala feels privileged to work with artists of all disciplines in exploring ways that mindfulness practice might enhance their lives, both personally and professionally.