Whether you’re an actor, singer, musician, or dancer, you will get so much out of meditation. When you start meditating you will improve your performances and you will feel more relaxed and confident.
In my years as a meditation teacher, I have been fortunate enough to teach many performers. And I love it. Why? Because I used to be a professional performer myself. I’ve been a professional actor, I took singing lessons for five years, dance lessons for three years, and I have played the piano since I was five.
My own experience as a performer has made me realise just how valuable meditation is for us. And my students say the same thing. After taking a few lessons with me they tell me they are more relaxed, more confident, and overall a better performer.
Let me show you how.
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Benefits of Meditation for Performers
I was a professional actor for many years. And even though I had talent I also had one huge problem: anxiety. Whenever I went to an audition, I felt anxious. My cheeks flushed, my heart pounded, and my mind raced. That is until I started meditating.
When you learn to meditate you will be able to relax on stage and in auditions even if you currently suffer from anxiety.
Meditation reduces the activity of both the sympathetic nervous system and amygdala, balances cortisol, and promotes the parasympathetic nervous system. All of this means that you will feel much more relaxed after meditating.
Plus, it massively increases your focus. Methods like Buddhist Samatha (focusing on one object) train the mind to concentrate. After a few weeks of practice, you will find that your levels of concentration are significantly higher.
Finally, it increases the mind-body connection. When you meditate you enhance the communication between your mind and body. In turn, this means that you are more able to express yourself through movement. And we all know how important that skill is for an actor. Just ask Charlie Chaplin.
Meditation for Dancers
While we’re discussing the benefits of meditation for the performer, let’s talk about dancers.
Firstly, as a dancer, you obviously need to be fit. Whether you’re a Hip Hop dancer or a ballerina, fitness is imperative. And meditation can help. It reduces oxygen consumption, relieves physical tension, strengthens the immune system, and improves heart health. All of this means that you will be fitter by meditating. And you will also recover faster.
It also enhances the mind-body connection, motor skills, and spatial coordination. The result is that you have more coordination of your movements. In particular, integrative Body-Mind Training techniques (such as tai chi, qigong, and Body Scan meditation) are excellent for this.
And of course, meditation makes you more confident. When we meditate, we thicken the striatum, mesolimbic dopamine system, and prefrontal cortex according to Harvard neuroscientist Dr. Sara Lazar. The result is increased confidence.
Meditation for Singers
Meditation also helps singers. As well as all the benefits that we have looked at above (confidence, fitness, stress relief, confidence, and spatial awareness) meditation improves our breathing.
When we meditate, we relax. And when we relax our breathing changes. Specifically, we breathe deeply into the diaphragm. This increases our oxygen intake, which means you can hold notes for longer.
It also helps because of its effect on the inferior pharyngeal constrictor muscle. These are muscles in the larynx. They constrict when we swallow. However, they also constrict when we are stressed. The problem for a singer is that when these muscles are tense the voice sounds harsh. But thankfully, meditation helps. It relaxes the constrictor muscles so your voice sounds smoother and more pleasant.
Meditation for Musicians
So far, we’ve seen that meditation:
- Improves confidence
- Improves the voice
- Helps us relax ahead of auditions and on stage
- Increases spatial awareness
- Enhances the mind-body connection
- Improves our focus
- And makes us fitter
But it doesnt stop there.
For starters, when meditating you enhance the connections between your brain and your body. This means that you can move your body more emotively (because the emotions in your brain are better communicated to your body). In turn, this means that you can play instruments with more feeling. And that’s true whether you play the guitar, piano, drums, or the ukulele.
If you’re the lead singer in a group, meditation will also improve your leadership skills. You need to be able to lead your band, choir, or orchestra effectively. And to do this, you need to be aware of the group as a team. You need to be aware of not just your own performance, but everyone else’s too.
Thankfully, meditation can help. One of the most immediate benefits of meditation is that it makes us more aware. Therefore, when you meditate you will be more aware of how other people in your ensemble are performing. And this will help to improve both your communication skills and your leadership skills.
In case it isn’t obvious yet, there are massive advantages of meditation for performers. When you meditate you help your brain and body to work in peak condition. And that is a very good thing. So, to put it simply, as well as taking singing, acting, dancing, and music lessons, you should probably also take a meditation lesson with me.
Paul Harrison BSc is a qualified meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in teaching meditation and mindfulness both to individuals and to corporations and is the author of four books on meditation. He has been featured in Psychology Today, Breathe Magazine, Healthline, Psych Central and Lion’s Roar.
Paul studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
Paul’s biggest inspirations include Thich Nhat Hanh, Jon Kabat Zinn, and Jack Kornfield.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison