Our brains are constantly changing (neuroplasticity). Each time you repeat a behaviour that pathway in your brain becomes better worn until it’s the natural path, the natural behaviour, the unconscious habit.
Scientists observed MRI scans of the brains of participants of an 8 week mindfulness practice which showed that their amygdalas (fight or flight response) shrunk! And their pre-frontal cortex (awareness, concentration and decisions making) got stronger! So developing this habit can have numerous benefits for your music! And it’s super simple; notice your breathing, notice what you can hear, notice the present, you are practising being in the now, you are practising focusing, awareness, concentration etc.
What other things could help you focus? (Know your enemies!) My list might be:
- Turn off my phone
- Only answer emails/look at social media at certain times of day
- Keep what I need as much as possible off the internet (designed to distract!)
- Clear my desk /generally declutter/minimise
- Tell my family not to distract me
- Make a clear intention for the day
- Structure my time (lessons/courses) constantly asking if this is helping the goal/intention, ensure all learning’s instantly applicable to the goal (mine:songwriting), new picking technique = new song with that picking technique
- Start work early
- Socialise/learn from other artists/others with similar goals
- In my spare time watch gigs, surround myself with art/music.
- Leave everything in my practise space easy to access; instruments plugged in etc.
- Organise/clear my computer desktop
- Have a music only computer that isn’t attached to the net (declutter the drive&run time machine)
- Get organised; dropbox for your music, computer folder for dated notes to self/vids/pics. So you just dump them in so they’re easily accessible when you want them
- Exercise and eat well
- Again, know the goal, overly tweaking often isn’t improving, complete, learn, move on. Perfectionism comes from not feeling ‘enough’, from fear of being judged. We learn by completing.
What habits would you like to cultivate?