I’m just back from a show with Sliotar as I sit down to write this. I am buzzing, it was a great show. But I am almost scared to say this out loud as not jinx it, and at the same time I feel it is very important to document the experience as it happens. So here we go 😉
I have one of those minds that races about hundred thousand miles an hour. Things and thoughts just race through my head, and sometimes it can be hard to grasp a hold of thoughts. When I am performing live, I observe the room, I am very aware of everything that goes on in the audience. Often when I talk to people after the show, they might be surprised I noticed something they did during the show.
I believe this make me a better performer and help me better connect with the audience. But the downside is that I get very easily distracted. This as a musician is not a good thing! If you get distracted, you lose concentration and this can lead to all sorts of negative side effects, like compromising in timing, missing changes, or for me the worst, forgetting song lyrics.
I’ve become quite good at problem solving in the past few years. These days if someone tell me something cannot be done, I see it as a challenge. And if someone tells me to do something “the way it has always been done”, I start to wonder if just maybe there might be a better way. So I started to look in to how I could improve my focus while I perform. This has almost become a little bit of an obsession of mine. As an artist I want to give my audience the best possible performance every time.
I looked in to other artists experiences. For some people it seems to be easier, but there are others who have struggled with this and overcome it. It seems more I researched, the more I run into meditation. Yeah, I know… I had the same stereotypical ideas of it as most people who know very little about meditation. Incense sticks, sitting cross-legged on the floor, vegan food… I’ve nothing against any of the above, but you know what I mean.
But in the name of my art I decided to give it a go. And I can not even start to explain what a struggle the beginning was 😀 The thought of spending time doing nothing everyday was so strange to me… (afterwards I learned that was exactly why I needed it) I tried several different approaches, some more successful than others. But eventually I went for the Headspace app. This was a way of having someone guide me through the process, and I could do it anywhere. This I could stick with.
It turned out to be beneficial in many ways, I was sleeping better, I seemed to have more focus throughout the day. But still there was no connection with my live performance. Until earlier today.
In the beginning of our Saturday set something made me concentrate on timing, in a more focused way while I was playing. This instantly made me feel more in control. After first few numbers, that focus seemed to start get much deeper. And even more so, I could pull out of this focus and get back in to it as well. I had never felt this kind of clarity. It felt like everything I was playing, I was observing in slow motion. I felt I had more time between the notes. But I could still hear what it sounded like in reality and let’s just say I was enjoying what I was hearing 🙂 None of the usual distractions got on the way. My mind was focused, there were no thoughts running through my head, just pure concentration on the music and the performance.
The reason I am sharing this with you is to tell you that there are benefits from meditation, that effect what ever it is you do. But give it time. This did not happen after few weeks… it took me months of on and off meditating. And here’s the other thing, yes I skipped days, even weeks, but I still got back to it. I did not just give up because I missed a day. If you are sceptical, I recommend you to give it a try. The Headspace app might not be for you. You might need to find the approach that suits you the best.
Again, let me just say this is not any spiritual thing, more like your unconscious mind finally connecting the dots. Give it a try. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? It might actually work?
The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE