Mindful U at Naropa University

20. Mark Miller: Contemplative Approaches to Music and Improv

April 2nd, 2018  •  28 mins 56 secs  •  Download (66.5 MB)  •  Link with Timestamp

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Improvisation is a wonderful contemplative practice–a mindfulness practice–a discipline that has to do with paying attention in a very precise way to what's going on in the present moment. It's about showing up–being open to whatever is happening musically, to whatever my colleagues are playing, or to the environment of the room–the acoustics, the audience, that sort of thing–and really drawing inspiration from that. Paying attention to all of that requires one hundred percent concentration. Music happens so quickly, so naturally, your intellectual mind really can't keep up with it. The brain can't be analyzing and explaining and interpreting why you're playing, you just have to play. To me, that means you show up and play who you are.