However, just as the health of your body needs constant attention, nutrition and occasional visits to a practitioner, the same holds true for your emotional and mental needs.
This article will outline why maintaining mental and emotional health is important for continuous learning of music and how you may go about maintaining these aspects for yourself.
For me, mental health is a subject close to my heart because I am so thankful for the experience that paying attention to these aspects of myself has given me.
I doubt very much that I would be as happy in my life or even still playing music if I had not addressed some of the issues inherent in my personality and got to know myself better.
Investing in this aspect of my wellbeing has definitely made me a better teacher and a much more empathic person.
So, this article is just a reminder for some, and an introduction for others to the fabulous, amazing inner world that we all possess.
It is a world that, if we are more in touch with, can enrich our lives and our music.
According to http://www.health.com
”Creative people may … have higher rates of mood disorders;”
However, writing this blog in this present day, I feel that there is not such a gap between the general public and the creative artist as far as drug dependency and mood disorders or mental illness goes.
In the past, musicians and other artists were much more on the edge of society which was difficult for them, and so resulted in more addiction and illness.
These days, I think most of us would agree that, due to many aspects of our social order (drug companies, food addictions, allergies, media, marketing, high tech lifestyles and the list goes on…) drugs and mental disorder is now as common throughout society as it ever was for the musician and struggling artist.
Perhaps this is also because, although carving out a career in music can be difficult, these days carving out a career in any professions is likely to prove just as difficult.
I do believe however, that the difference between artists and musicians and mainstream society is that someone who is truly learning to tread an artistic path has to confront many inner issues such as:
- self acceptance,
- performance anxiety,
- the inner critic and
- many other internal barriers.
This is definitely a challenge that many people do not wish to take on, even though the rewards are worth it.
Helping my students to deal with these aspects of music is probably 90% of my job, the other 10% being the basic teaching of the musical language.
And it is only because I have had to consciously address these issues within myself that I am able to help others and continue with my musical career.
There are many roads that lead to improved mental health and it is up to you to choose which ones appeal specifically to you.
This means that you may need to try a few different therapies or practices before you come up with something that you find beneficial.
Here a few suggestions for you now, however, there is always more investigation you can do for yourself.
On a personal level, I found psychotherapy was great for me, but of course I also realise this was due to the fact that I found the right therapist and therapy.
If you wish to experience psychotherapy, pay close attention to your gut feelings about your therapist.
Just as choosing the best possible music teacher for you is important, you can apply this criteria to choosing the right therapist.
Here is a short vid explaining in more detail what psychoanalysis is and how it works.
There are so many different forms of meditation and it may take years until you find what’s right for you.
However, I have no problem recommending this as a daily practice for everybody.
Taking time out to meditate creates a centre of calmness and self reflection, it can renew your energy and generally make you feel a lot better.
There has been much research into the benefits of meditation.
Here is one video that explains them.
(p.s. this is not a promotion for the Chopra Centre on my part, it’s just a good vid!
This is something else that I’ve done. Actually, it was the catalyst for this blog.
Again, there are many practitioners so choose one which is right for you.
I hope this article has given you some food for thought.
Just remember that there is so much more of you involved in learning music and learning to live than meets the eye and sometimes it may be worth considering other options to help you get through any barriers you may be experiencing.
It’s your life and it’s up to you to find your way but keep an open mind.
Often we can find treasure in the most unlikely of places!