Looking for an Edge?
Competition in the music world starts early. Chair auditions in middle school lead to honor band and choir and the next thing you know you’re singing in costume on a reality tv show. We search for the secret training, diet, or method that will give us an edge. A training method you believe in and optimal health for the body is important, but when we are done training and practice time is over we must trust our preparation. Without trust in your training and method, there will be second-guessing interrupting the performance. I trust in my training by training and trusting my inner musician. Your inner musician is a power coordinator of all the parts that make you, a human being.
When I’m trusting my inner musician it feels like the music plays me. It takes control of my actions and plays through me. Trusting in my inner musician is my secret weapon for any fear, doubt, or performance anxiety, and if I’m not feeling 100% my inner musician has the energy to see us through. Learning to train and trust your inner musician is the way to freedom from your instrument, yourself, and stresses in this competitive world.
Who is “The Inner Musician”?
Try to stop breathing and you’ll experience a force that compels you to breathe. The urge to force your breath is part of your powerful multitasking subconscious mind. It’s the same intelligence that regulates the oxygen and sodium in your blood needed to send you the energy for digestion, elimination, and the physical actions necessary to put that food in your mouth. Your subconscious never sleeps and doesn’t get tired. In fact, its most efficient work happens while you’re asleep. Slowing down the waves of the conscious mind stills the waters allowing the mud of the mind to settle down and the subconscious can see clearly. Settling the mind during an activity relieves tension from the body and allows it to work more efficiently. In this environment, the inner musician takes over the human machine and the human being may experience “the zone”.
Athletes in the zone say it feels like it wasn’t them, or thank a higher power. The conscious mind lets go of the need to control the movements and it seems like the actions flow with little effort. Developing the ability to allow the training and practice to take over without interruption from any second guesses is the goal. We can train the conscious mind into helpful habits. Habits of letting go and allowing the actions to flow give us the best chance of performing in the zone. Performing with zero care or worry about the outcome is also crucial. With these conditions, you allow your inner musician the freedom to sing and the music flows through you. You are simply the instrument for the actions.
What Makes Up A Human Being?
The human body you walk around in is a complex design with many systems working together in harmony. It is an amazing vehicle that we can use to do many things. Imagine you are the driver of a car. You start and stop, turn right and left, and eventually, you even learn to parallel park. The more you parallel park the easier it gets until it becomes natural and easy. But knowing how a car works doesn’t necessarily translate to being good at using it.
Doctors, scientists, and researchers have learned many things about how the human body works but that doesn’t mean they will be in the next Olympics. The sharper our tools get and the deeper we cut into what makes up a human being more questions arise. Evidence shows that humans have been on the planet for over 2 million years. That’s a lot of time to develop theories. Here’s a bit of what humans think we know about ourselves so far.
37.2 Trillion Inner Musicians
It is estimated that the human being is made up of 37.2 trillion cells. Each cell has a system for absorbing nutrition, a digestive system, and a system for waste elimination. Cells have an electric current with a positive and negative polarity and can act like radio antennae giving and receiving input. Cells have survival instincts and the ability to adapt to new environments. In one experiment a group of lactose-intolerant cells evolved to use lactose as a food source. Another shows a cloned group of cells placed in three different environments where one produced hair, one skin, and one bone, to survive the environmental conditions. Your cells pick up on your mental environment too so choose a positive mental attitude instead of a destructive one. Each of the 37.2 trillion cells seems to have a mind of its own.
Our cell’s environment includes the rhythm of the heartbeat and the flow of the fluids moving through the body. Not to mention any signals we are getting from outside of our bodies through the senses. Plus each cell has the rhythm and activity of its own systems within its own membrane. Your subconscious mind is coordinating this community night and day. It is the universal mind of the YOUniverse that is you. Made to respond to frequency and rhythm, the body responds naturally to music. You were made for music. When music is playing we feel the beat, the music moves us without thinking. The subconscious mind is the ultimate conductor conducting this human symphony.
The Human Experience
We have five senses in our bodies that form our experience of the outside world. These senses send electrical neural signals through our nervous system to our brain. Nobody in this world will ever see the world the way that you do because they have their own signals getting filtered through their own mind causing their own separate experience. In other words, we make up everything we experience, and as much as you try to explain that experience to someone else they will never experience what you do.
First, your subconscious mind filters the information from your brain, organizing it into levels of importance, and then decides if actions are needed. As the conscious mind thinks about the information the subconscious decides if we need to escape danger or remove our hand from a hot pan. The hand gets signals from the brain with no middleman and before we consciously know what has happened, we are no longer touching that pan. The body works efficiently without the conscious middleman in an emergency and will work efficiently when we want it to perform music.
I Am, Therefore, I Think!
Rene Descartes’ famous declaration “I think therefore I am.” may not have been the start of the overthinking phenomena today, but it is a good starting point for the discussion. In the social media world, “I am my thinking” might be an accurate description of the environment. Let’s develop the “I am, therefore, I think” attitude. Thinking is an excellent tool if you can use it without it using you. The Egyptians thought of thinking as one of the six senses. It was easier for them to stop the thinking process and act with no thinking middleman second-guessing their actions.
Just the idea of the thinking process being something separate from the person whose thinking may seem foreign. The fact that you are aware that you are thinking is proof that you are not the thinking but the thinker. The Egyptians may have tuned out thinking as it occurred the same way we don’t hear someone talking to us while we are deep in thought, or watching tv. With the ability to ignore thoughts without forcing actions, you can act instead of reacting. Actions come before thoughts and your inner musician can play uninterrupted from the conscious mind.
Communicating With Your Inner Musician
Our subconscious is most susceptible to suggestion while the conscious mind is relaxed and slow. The times for this are right as we drift off to sleep or as we awaken. As our brain slows and the waves of the body calm, the stillness brings us closer to the subconscious. This relaxed almost dream state is the time to use the imagination to send the sounds and images you want to manifest in your performance to your inner musician. With detailed dreaming, we program the subconscious to repeat the scene when we are performing. The master of this body, the subconscious, or your inner musician now knows what we want during our performance. When it is time to perform, just let it sing. It’s simple and easy.
Our imagination has proven to be powerful and a link to communicating with the rest of the body. Studies show muscle growth in subjects imagining themselves doing exercise to be comparable to those actually doing the exercise. Remember that all of the cells are looking for information on how to form. Using the imagination we can send information to the body and the body responds. If we make our inner environment full of positive and nourishing waves of health and growth, then our cells will thrive.
The Brain Waves, Hello
When I was younger my friend Matt and I powered a clock with a potato. It was pretty cool! This was done by converting chemical energy into electrical energy. Zinc and copper strips in combination with the potato work like a battery. The brain is an electrochemical organ and researchers speculate that a brain can generate as much as 10 watts of electrical power. That’s a big potato.
Electrical activity emanating from the brain is displayed in the form of brainwaves and there are five types. Ranging from a very fast bumpy pattern to a slow rolling wave, each type is associated with different states of consciousness and cognitive functioning.
The highest frequency wave is gamma which measures between 30 and 44 cycles per second or Hz and is the only frequency group found in every part of the brain. When the brain needs to simultaneously process information from different areas, its hypothesized that the 40Hz activity consolidates the required areas for simultaneous processing. A good memory is associated with well-regulated and efficient 40Hz activity, whereas a 40Hz deficiency creates learning disabilities.
When the brain is aroused and actively engaged in mental activities, it generates beta waves. These beta waves are of relatively low amplitude and high frequency ranging from 15 to 40 Hz. Beta waves are characteristics of a strongly engaged mind. A person in active conversation would be in beta. A debater would be in high beta.
The next brainwave category in order of frequency is alpha. Where beta represented arousal, alpha represents non-arousal. Alpha brainwaves are slower, and higher in amplitude. Their frequency ranges from 9 to 14 Hz. When you’ve completed a task and sit down to rest, reflect, or meditate you are usually in an alpha state.
Theta’s frequency range is normally between 5 and 8 Hz. When you take time off from a task and begin to daydream you’re often in a theta brainwave state. Runners often are in a state of mental relaxation that is slower than alpha and when in theta are prone to a flow of ideas. This can also occur in the shower while brushing your teeth or hair. It is a state where tasks become so automatic that you can mentally disengage from them. It is typically a very positive mental state.
Delta brainwaves are of the greatest amplitude and slowest frequency. They typically center around a range of 1.5 to 4 Hz. When in deep dreamless sleep the brain is in the lowest frequency. Typically, 2 to 3 Hz. When we go to bed and turn off the lights and close our eyes, our brainwaves descend from gamma to beta to alpha to theta, and finally, when we fall asleep, delta.
Catch The Theta Wave and Dream with Purpose
When an individual awakes from a deep sleep in preparation for getting up, their brainwave frequencies will increase through the different specific stages of brainwave activity. During this awakening cycle, it is possible to stay in the theta state for an extra 5 to 15 minutes. This can allow a free flow of ideas about yesterday’s events or the activities of the forthcoming day. This time can be extremely productive and a period of very meaningful and creative mental activity. A nice time for dreaming with purpose and imagining the next performance.
As you fall asleep the brainwave frequencies decrease and you get another opportunity for catching the theta wave and strengthening your imagination. As I lay down to sleep each night I fill my mind with thoughts of gratefulness and gratitude. Life is pretty amazing. We are alive on this spinning globe in the vastness of space. When you think about life we are so lucky to be breathing air, drinking water, and eating food. Finding things to be grateful for is pretty easy. Putting myself in an environment of gratitude every night as I go to sleep makes it easy to be at peace before I sleep and every cell feels loved and safe.
Your Three Brains
The brain in your head is not the only one sending these waves through the body. The same type of communication comes from the heart and the gut. Have you ever been told to trust your feelings or asked what your gut is telling you? This intuition doesn’t come from the brain in our head. The next time you decide on something, ask yourself which brain is making the decision.
If these brains are asking questions and deciding things about our outside environment, then the signals are coming in but when we are playing music or storytelling we are giving signals out to communicate our message. The human mind cannot do both at the same time. The signals are either coming or going. You are either asking questions or making statements. When we play music we are making statements or in storytelling mode. Sing from the heart, sing from the gut, and sing from every cell but make statements and tell your story as a storyteller of sound and not an audience member.