The Psychological Benefits from Reconceptualizing Music-Making as Mindfulness Practice

Med Probl Perform Art. 2015 Jun;30(2):84-9. doi: 10.21091/mppa.2015.2014.


While the music psychology and education literatures have devoted considerable attention to how musical instrumentalists practice their instruments, less formal scholarly attention has been given in consideration of what it means to maintain a musical "practice" over time and across context. In this paper, the practice of mindfulness meditation is used as heuristic, arguing for a view of mindfulness meditation as a formalized de-specialization of the infinite number of other activities with which people can achieve mindfulness. Sitting meditation, requiring of one to observe the contents of their mind unmediated, can serve as a useful model for the musician in understanding the phenomenology of the music-making process and the "flow" states that can result from an embodied musical practice. Finally, reconceptualizing music-making as a mindfulness practice is considered with psychological and pedagogical implications relevant for developing musicians.

MeSH terms

  • Attention*
  • Awareness
  • Cognition*
  • Humans
  • Meditation
  • Mind-Body Relations, Metaphysical*
  • Mindfulness*
  • Music / psychology*
  • Practice, Psychological