My name is Will Crawford, the creative director and founder of quietnote, a company which sets out to make mindfulness and meditation practices more accessible through the power of music.
I personally believe that through music anything is possible. To describe a wonderful piece of music in words is near impossible but I’m sure we have all had those goosebump moments where our hair stands on end, perhaps you have even been moved to tears? Our greatest adventures are usually accompanied by a soundtrack. Music can transport us, be used as a tool for expression and help us through our darkest days.
I have found that when I speak about the power that music holds, people are very accepting and passionate about the idea yet when I talk about mindfulness in the same way, I am met with resistance. I believe stereotypes associated with mindfulness are holding people back from exploring the many proven benefits of this practice. Music, however, can help break down these stereotypes by allowing people a familiar and comfortable way to develop a more mindful lifestyle. After all who doesn’t enjoy music? Music, meditation, and mindfulness, to me, are fruits picked from the same tree. They are wonderful and unique in their own right and together they can deepen one’s experience of the world, create a better connection to the present, and help lead to a happier, healthier lifestyle.
Mindfulness practice to me has always primarily been about moving our mind into the present moment and creating a greater amount of awareness in our day to day lives. When our mind dedicates itself to simply listening to music and our entire focus and attention is on the music then couldn’t we call that a form of meditation? Meditation is a hugely personal and individual experience but so is our interpretation and reaction to music. This is why we have such a rich variety and diversity of music across our planet. Discovering a connection to a wonderful song is almost like discovering a new powerful meditation.
There have been countless studies to show the health benefits of listening to music. Music can stimulate and change our mood, ease stress, reduce anxiety, enhance memory, and even reduce pain. This only scratches the surface of the power of music and if we combine the benefits of music with a more mindful lifestyle you can only begin to imagine the benefits.
As well as listening to a wonderful piece of Mozart or a song by Norah Jones, what if we had access to music which sole purpose was there to help guide you through meditation. I have always struggled with spoken guided meditation. I find the minute I start to relax the narrator brings me right out of it. Instead of falling into a deep state of meditation I only end up on the surface. But when I listen to music, I have always been able to find that deep connection and remain there. Because of this, I began to compose music with specific mindful and meditative principles and exercises. Simply asking you to listen for 5 minutes to the dynamic (volume) changes in a piece or allowing the field recordings of a rainforest to allow your mind to paint a visual image. Music can help to quiet our busy talkative minds by giving you a clear uninterrupted focus point. One of my favourite tracks I have written takes you on the journey of a river from the top of a mountain stream all the way into the depths of the ocean. As well as acting as a visualisation meditation – closing your eyes and allowing the mind to visualise a mountain stream – it also incorporates low frequencies and soft drones which resonate with your body to help you relax and calm down. All of these tracks, and many more, can be found on the quietnote website.
Not only does quietnote function from an online space, I also work in-person with groups and individuals to allow for a more personal experience. Through guided workshops we spend time exploring how music can help us develop a stronger understanding and deepen our experience of meditation. We also explore the connection of our body, mind, and breath through guided musical breathing exercises to help us relax, manage stress, and calm our busy minds. Each session allows for a development of a stronger understanding of your wellbeing, health, and happiness.
On the 3rd and 4th July as part of the Cheltenham Music Festival I will be running two sessions open to adults of any meditation and musical experience. The session will be an open to all, non-judgemental space to share, learn, and experience together. Come along and experience all quietnote has to offer first-hand.
My thanks go to Blooming Mindfulness for allowing me the space to share my work and quietnote with you. My deepest thanks for your time today.
Head over to www.quiet-note.com to start your mindful music journey today.
Head over to www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/music for more information on the sessions at the Cheltenham Music Festival.