In our noisy world, music is the key to inner silence
Richard Wolf first tried Zen meditation in his teens, but no matter in what posture or for how long he sat, transcendence proved stubbornly out of reach. It was only years later that he found the bridge that could take him there: music.
In Tune charts twelve “bridges”—skills and sensibilities refined in musical practice that carry over to mindfulness and meditation, among them:
ConcentrationPostureHarmonySilenceThe Art of Deep ListeningTranscending the Self This inspirational guide offers a wealth of music-based exercises to enhance daily meditation and creativity. Plus, Wolf shares personal anecdotes of eminent musicians—from Miles Davis to Dr. Dre—to illuminate points along the intersection of music and mindful living.
As you begin to move fluidly between these two transformative disciplines, you’ll notice the focus, composure, and peacefulness that comes from practice—as well as the joys of tuning in to the music all around you, and to the symphony that plays silently from within.
Wolf (Thought and Play in Musical Rhythm), Emmy Award winning composer and professor at the USC Thornton School of Music, finds many productive connections between his musical career and meditation in this fine guide. Though Wolf tried zen meditation for years, it only became beneficial after he began relating meditative practices to his musical training. Each of the 12 chapters opens with anecdotes from his own experience or that of famous performers, including Miles Davis, John Cage, John Coltrane, and Pablo Casals. He then presents exercises and techniques drawn from music to introduce aspects of meditation. These bridges include instructions on topics including posture and concentration, as well as arguments, such as why one should practice for the sake of practicing and the value of losing oneself in performance. Though many of the techniques loosening the whole body, counting breaths, letting the mind drift are standard beginning approaches, the musical associations provide fresh context. Wolf also shows how these techniques can be used beyond sitting meditation to calm the mind and aid mindfulness during other tasks. The conclusion includes specialized exercises such as tonal breathing for those with advanced musical skills. Readers with even slight musical background will enjoy Wolf's sharp, useful suggestions to make mindfulness a more achievable goal.