Tools for the mind-body connection, breathing, mindfulness, awareness, movement ...
Explore these resources to support your mental, physical and emotional well-being.
by Kira Willey
I love this beautiful book, and the imaginative way it demonstrates breathing techniques. Use this to help establish calm awareness & focus at the start of practice!
"Breathe Like a Bear is a beautifully illustrated collection of mindfulness exercises designed to teach kids techniques for managing their bodies, breath, and emotions. Best of all, these 30 simple, short breathing practices and movements can be performed anytime, anywhere: in the car to the grocery store, during heavy homework nights at home, or even at a child’s desk at school."
by Jim Durk
One of the challenges with practicing music, especially for young people, is the demand for focus and awareness. This needs to be learned too, along with the music! Parents & kids will enjoy reading this together. Topics: Breathing, mindfulness, focus.
"A young boy discovers his mind is like a puppy, always wandering away, into the past or the future. He sets about learning to train his puppy mind to heel to the present moment. Through remembering to breathe, the boy becomes a stronger and more caring master of his puppy mind, keeping it in the present, if only for a moment. Includes a link to a discussion guide for parents and teachers."
So many great ideas from copingskillsforkids.com.
Watch a video here: Deep Breathing with Shapes
I love this list of Deep Breathing Exercises for Kids - a child therapist's favorite ways to help kids learn to take a deep breath, including quick explanations and videos of deep breathing techniques.
Have you ever told a kid to take a deep breath, and then they start hyperventilating? Or they breathe in, but don’t breathe out? Sometimes, kids may need a little more help to figure out how to properly take a deep breath.
Encourage your kids to Stop, Breathe & Think - help them discover the superpowers of quiet, focus and more peaceful sleep.
Guided mindfulness & breathing activities on:
their app - Stop, Breathe & Think Kids
and their YouTube channel.
Try one of their breathing videos for focus & calm, like this one on Square Breathing.
Fun, engaging short videos or podcasts on breathing, mindfulness, and listening.
A library of research-based guided mindfulness sessions that help kids and their adults calm their minds, focus their attention and connect to the world around them.
by Andrew Jordan Nance
I haven't read all of this yet, but I've already found so many beautiful, useful ideas! Written for classroom teachers, however I believe it is equally valuable for parents. If we wish to teach kids how to practice music, we really must begin with teaching mindfulness. Music practice = mindfulness!
"Educator and theater director Andrew Nance is the author of the popular children’s book Puppy Mind, which brought a new dimension of cuteness to the practice of mindfulness in the form of a rambunctious, playful puppy. In this book, Nance brings the puppy and a host of other friendly characters into the classroom to animate a 21-lesson curriculum centered around lively stories and easy-to-lead exercises for young students from kindergarten to third grade. Nance offers a teacher’s guide to arts-based mindfulness exercises utilizing story-telling, theater games, and drawing to spark students’ self-expression, self-awareness, and social and emotional well-being."
by William Westney
What every student, musician, teacher and parent should read. This may change your assumptions about what it means to learn music!
"Playing a wrong note can be a perfect event: constructive, useful, even enlightening. Misplaced perfectionism, in contrast, can hamper learning and rob us of the fulfillment and transcendent enjoyment that music can bring ... Westney lays out healthy alternatives for lifelong learning and suggests significant change in the way music is taught."
by Vanessa Cornett
"The Mindful Musician provides a method to promote attentional focus, self-assessment, emotional awareness, and creativity. The first of its kind to combine mindfulness practices with research in cognitive and sport psychology, this book helps musicians explore the roots of anxiety and other challenges related to performance, all through the deliberate focus of awareness.
Author Vanessa Cornett offers guidelines to help musicians cultivate artistic vision, objectivity, freedom, quiet awareness, and self-compassion, both on- and offstage in order to become more resilient performers. With the aid of a companion website that includes audio files and downloadable templates, The Mindful Musician provides a method to promote attentional focus, self-assessment, emotional awareness, and creativity."
The Alexander Technique is a way to feel better, and move in a more relaxed and comfortable way… the way nature intended. Learn to identify and lose the harmful habits you have built up over a lifetime of stress and learn to move more freely.
Alexander Technique can also help you if:
- You suffer from repetitive strain injury or carpal tunnel syndrome.
You have a backache or stiff neck and shoulders.
You become uncomfortable when sitting at your computer for long periods of time.
You are a singer, musician, actor, dancer or athlete and feel you are not performing at your full potential.
Websites: Alexander Technique Express
Body, Breath & Being, by Carolyn Nicholls
more books for Musicians: HERE
Videos: Alexander Video
Listen: Alexander Podcast
Really recommend reading this! Well written, clear & concise discussion, with good references, covering: different types of breathing, breath training, and health benefits.
"Your own breath is one of the most potent health-inducing, performance-enhancing, and stress-busting assets you already have at your disposal. With each inhale and exhale your breath is reflecting how healthy your mind and body are."
Three-Part Breathing is a diaphragmatic breathing technique that teaches you to breathe fully and completely.
It is "3-part" because you are progressively breathing into three parts of your torso: the low belly + the ribs + the upper chest. The breath is continuous, inhaled and exhaled through the nose.
Benefits are: improved lung & cardiovascular functions, strengthening the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, and it is particularly good for calming the mind and turning on the parasympathetic nervous system.
This breathing technique harmonize the two hemispheres of the brain, resulting in a balanced physical, mental and emotional well-being. Specifically, it:
1) Activates the parasympathetic nervous system
2) Enhances respiratory functions
3) Improves attention, and fine-motor coordination/performance
(GREAT for practicing piano!)
The 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as “relaxing breath,” involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds.
Relaxation techniques like this one forces the mind and body to focus on regulating the breath, rather than replaying your worries, and can help calm the nervous system.