Welcome to my new blog!
To begin, I am happy to share my article, "Songs of the Desert Wind" that was recently published in The Journal of Performance and Mindfulness. I invite you to click on the link to download the full article. Available open access at: https://www.performanceandmindfulness.org.uk/
Songs of the Desert Wind: A Musical Improvisation and Meditation Performance Rebecca Sabine Ramsey, BA, CMT-P Oregon State University Undergraduate Research Fellow, Concert Violinist, Mindfulness Meditation Teacher KEYWORDS sound ecology mindfulness meditation performance score ABSTRACT This is a performance score developed by a violinist/mindfulness meditation teacher. It outlines a guided group meditation performed with live, improvisational music. Field recordings of natural environments are included, simulating mindful listening as a way to raise environmental awareness. I created the 'Songs of the Desert Wind' score as a solo musical improvisation and meditation performance for a yoga studio where I often teach. I was asked to write a meditation series for their wellness club membership that would consist of musical sound journeys reflective of the surrounding desert environment. 'Songs of the Desert Wind' is a guided meditation that encompasses mindfulness practices and an improvised tonal blending of violin sounds with field recordings of the Mojave desert. Although I play 'Songs of the Desert Wind' on the violin, it is a format that I feel can be adapted by classical musicians of any instrument who would like to integrate group meditation into their improvisatory programs. As musicians, we are becoming aware of new ways we can contribute to the environmental movement by introducing our audiences to the sonic intersection of music, nature, and the contemplative arts. response to the variety and spontaneity of nature’s sounds.
Although I usually perform group meditations in the relaxed atmosphere of a yoga studio or meditation space, as a publisher on the Insight Timer Meditation app, I have also presented 'Songs of the Desert Wind' as a live-stream meditation event from my home studio. I find that performing live online transforms the experience of creating music from a musician’s perspective. The palpable energy that is generated by a group’s physical presence in the space is noticeably absent. However, I knew from comments in the online chat box, which I responded to from time to time, that people were actively listening as I was improvising. Although I could not see them, I felt a new sense of connection, reaching out to the world in a way that could only be possible in this time of advanced technology. Moving beyond the environment of the traditional concert hall, it is yet another way to share the gifts of music and meditation. Interweaving improvised music, accompanied by field recordings of natural environments and established mindfulness practices is a mode of performance that I am eager to share with other musicians. It is my hope that, as musical artists, we can continue to further a deeper awareness of the precious sounds of the earth and our integration within the natural environment.
References: Goldstein, Malcolm (1988) Sounding the Full Circle: Concerning Music Improvisation and Other Related Matters. Sheffield, VT: M. Goldstein. Hạnh, T. N., & Kotler, A. (1991). Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life. New York: Bantam Books. Krause, Bernie (2012) The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places. Oliveros, Pauline (1974) Sonic Meditations. Baltimore MD: Smith Publications. Suzuki, S., Dixon, T (Ed.) (1970). Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. New York and Tokyo: Weatherhill. New York: Little, Brown. Oliveros, Pauline (2005) Deep Listening: a Composer's Sound Practice. IUniverse, Inc.