There has been a growing number of books published recently, combining two of my most prefered topics – music and mindfulness. One such book has been out just for a couple weeks. Thanks to the website NetGalley I had a chance to read it and to write this review.
The title of the book is In Tune: Music as the Bridge to Mindfulness, written by an Emmy Award-winning composer, multi-platinum-selling producer, and professor of music industry and mindfulness Richard Wolf. The subheading explains quite clearly the aim of the book – How You Can Build a Lifelong Meditation Practice through Sound- and Silence.
This is clearly a book written by a musician for musicians. Or at least for those who get and like music. It is intertwined with stories from the history of music and especially from the rich professional experience of the author. So we can read about the jazzman John Coltrane, rapper Easy-E, Danny Wahlberg, John Cage, Allen Ginsberg and others.
Richard Wolf writes at the beginning of his book: Music can be a bridge between body and mind, the primitive and refined, the material and immaterial. And it can aslo be abridge to a more expansive awareness and a more harmonious way of life. He says that many skills and habits developed through musical practice are transferable to meditative mindfulness practice. His twelve more important similarities, that he calls primary “bridges” represent twelve chapters and the majority of the book. They are: dedication, posture, concentration, harmony, practice for the sake of practice, the art of deep listening, patience and perseverance, mindfulness and creativity, trance, sympathetic vibrations, transcending the self, and silence.
Each chapter starts with brief description, has interesting stories related to the particular “bridge” and finishes with recommended meditation “technique”. The first chapter starts with a simple breathing exercises. Following chapters help learning how to meditate, and go more into depth through counting, listening, gratitude, and finish with silence.
There is no doubt, that a profession of musician has become very competitive, demanding and stressful. Many musicians deal with these negative aspects of their jobs by overcomsumption of alcohol and other drugs. This often brings them into a vicious circle, where there is really hard to get out and so quite often they end with destruction or suicide. Understandably, there is a growing concern about the mental wellbeing of musicians and their collaborators, so there are various activities and organizations offering help.
Instead of getting too far and getting damaged by demanding lifestyle of professional musicians, it is much better to take care of ones’ health and sanity early in the life. A very good way how to do it is through incorporating mindfulness and meditation into their lives. According to the author, many successful musicians were reported to practice meditative disciplines, including Leonard Cohe, Paul McCartney, Carlos Santana, Robert Plant, Tina Turner, Rich Rubin, or Kendrick Lamar.
With the help of this book, many more musicians and music lovers can find a way how to improve their lives through mindfulness and meditation. The author Richard Wolf did a good job to make it easier for those, who dare to try.