My Unusual Journey
to mindfulness, joyful music-making and teaching
My specialty and interest lies in string pedagogy, involving the mindfulness and cognitive approach to teaching violin and other string instruments. In my solo career, I had suffered from a hand injury that lasted a decade. While recovering from the injury, I was introduced to "mindfulness" and learned about how closely human emotions are related to the working of the brain, the body, and the mind; using my own mental practices and exercises, which involve different ways of breathing and brain-imaging away from the instrument, I have been able to help my students and my fellow musician colleagues improve their musical and personal skills and struggles on both technical and musical terms.
Since my full recovery in 2016, I have been invited to speak about my healing journey in medical conferences. Being musicians, a lot of our physical struggles stem from the mental state of our mind -- our perfectionist traits, the competitive culture, and our self-sabotaging habits on our instruments -- and this mind-game is real. Instead of taking care of what really matters -- our emotions, traumas, and other inner struggles -- we continue to go about our practicing and performing unmindfully. The awareness of the mind is the kind of practice that we should all aim for in a practice room or even on a concert stage while the action is on. When we uncover the layers of different emotions we naturally attain and be mindful of them -- yes, just noticing that they exist -- will help us understand our mind and overcome our struggles with joy and gladness.
In my teaching, I focus on instilling a sense of joy and confidence in each student's unique identity as a musician and a person by connecting to their musical and emotional needs on a personal level. I ask lots of questions, and students and I discuss together what is at the core of the emotion(s) they are feeling at the very moment and/or before they enter the "lesson door" because a lot of musical and -- believe it or not -- technical struggles stem from the state of the mind. By bringing students to the awareness of their body and emotional sensations through engaging conversations, I help them connect to music and their inner-self, which leads them to finding the inner peace, which we all naturally strive for. It is my greatest joy to be able to share what I have discovered and witness others join the world of joyful music-making!