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Silence is Your Friend

When we allow silence, we make space for our creativity




Try this over the course of your day:

Stop.

Let go of everything you are doing

Listen. If you can, close your eyes.

Thoughts will arise, let them go….

Listen…

More thoughts will arise, let them go…

Listen…


I engage in this practice several times a day. These micro-breaks are very important for me. 


If I don’t take time to be in silence, I start to feel constricted, overwhelmed and/or anxious. 


If I am too busy, there is no room for creativity and imagination. I make time in my day for silence and improvisation.





I love early mornings

Because I can begin each day in silence

It is essential

Before I look at the messages on my phone

Or my email, or turn on the radio

(Yes, I still listen to the radio)

I sit in silence facing a large window

I check in with myself

I look at the sky - it’s different every day

I listen

To the silence

Then I tone with my voice for 7 minutes

Then I sit in silence for 10 minutes

Some days I am more comfortable than others

…and that is ok

Then I do 30-minutes of yoga or take a walk

I am ready for the day…


When I improvise I can let go of my thoughts, and I drop into a state of flow. I’m in the zone listening. When I’m there, I’m not thinking, and I feel so present and alive. Without any goals or expectations. I find myself “in the music”. This is a precious gift, and I come out of each improvisation feeling inspired and refreshed. Sometimes I cry for no reason and other times I am filled with profound gratitude. I fall in love with music all over again each time. It soothes my soul,


Then I move from the sublime to everyday life, and I feel recharged.  



“Silence is Your Friend” David Darling - Music for People

“Silence is Your Friend”
David Darling - Music for People

When we allow silence in our playing and in life, we make room for our creativity. 


Creativity is vital to our well being, yet it falls very low on the priority list of many. If you do an online search on creativity and health, you will find lots of information written by experts in mental health. I can share from my experience how being in silence, and improvising on my own and with others has helped me in so many ways both musically and personally. 


Here is short list:

I get to check in with myself

I give myself time to feel

I am more focused

I get to express what I’m feeling in music

I am a better listener 

I surprise myself musically

Problems become projects

I actually have something unique to offer 

I am more confident

I am more calm

My mind seems more flexible

I am more accepting of myself

I feel refreshed

My singing voice feels more free


“We are always playing a duet with silence”
David Darling  - Music for People

I think a lot about this quote, silence is always with me, day and night. When I listen and acknowledge it, I feel better.  



For you to try:

Sit in silence with your instrument

Listen 

Let a note come to you

Notice how you feel 

Play it or sing it 

Let it fade to silence

Listen 

Wait for the next note to come to you

Notice how you feel

Play it or sing it

Let it fade to silence


This might sound very simple but it is a wonderful first step towards mindfulness in music!

Meditation - Piano and Voice - Irene Feher





In this free improvisation, the only thing I seek is to drop into sound without expectations or goals. It's one of those moments I choose to just be with music.


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