People who were like me before I knew about mindfulness think it is all about meditation or yoga. That could not be further from the truth. Mindfulness is about being positive by thinking positive. Being happy, calm, and patient.
I always strive to be a positive easy-going person that thinks about the bright side of things. I tend to think of a glass being half full rather than half empty. This kind of thinking is something I wanted my young students to have so I embrace the characteristics of Mindfulness and began to introduce it to them.
Music is my gift and I am good at creating, singing, and teaching it to children as young as 5 years old. I can remember my older siblings taking piano lessons and practicing at home. Me being the youngest at the time had to wait 3 years before I could tag along to Mrs. Harrison’s for lessons.
Since I was told I had to be older to take lessons instead, I would imitate my older sister and brother playing their rehearsed pieces and produce their melodies by ear. I would close my eyes and listen to the different pitches and tones and pick them out on the piano keys. This was so satisfying and peaceful to me in that it gave me skills of being focused and persistent enough to play a tune just by listening.
This exercise for me was being fully engaged in a task and being aware of my thoughts and feelings. I did not have a worry in my brain when I was creating music. It took me to a special place where I persistently pursued my curiosity of matching the sounds on the piano to the melodies my siblings would practice playing.
Every teacher would like a well-mannered kid but that is not always the case. Some children find it hard to focus due to a variation of reasons. Getting kids to settle down can be a difficult task but music along with guided stretching with inhale and exhale exercises can aid with relaxation of the mind and bring a sense of calmness. This technique will allow one to pay attention to the present moment and enjoy the beauty of the music.
Till this day, I try to engage my incredibly young students into listening to the sounds around them with hopes of building their focus and listening skills. For example, sounds of nature and the beautiful sounds from an instrument by hearing the high, middle, and low pitches is a way to help a child concentrate better. Introducing Mindfulness to young children can turn out to be a precious gift.
By: Mone’t Ledbetter-Glaude