Why has Meditation always been so popular amongst those who study music? Perhaps it has to do with the nature of the creative process itself. To be truly creative one must go beyond the surface level of life, look for deeper meanings, and bring out with unique artistic vision those often overlooked magical connections between the inner realm of ideas and outer world of physical objects. This necessitates not only looking for camouflaged meaning in the world around us, but, more importantly, tapping into both the shadowy and celestial resources of the human mind.
Musicians seem to be intuitively drawn toward these synchronicities between inner and outer spheres that so often emerge through music and art. This is frequently experienced as an exhilarating sense of being In The Flow while performing or writing music. Musicians often become seekers of techniques such as meditation in an attempt to break free from limiting mental boundaries and expand their consciousness in order to access these mysterious and alluring planes, in addition to finding a higher meaning for their art.
Yet wise musicians usually realize at some point along their pursuit toward mastery of their craft that without some formal instruction their first task becomes reinventing the wheel, which could put off completing any polished creative works for quite a few years. Sooner or later every musician needs to balance their creative drive with learning some technique through lessons, self-study, classes, and, if you are seriously thinking about music as a career, music college. But the problem arises when studying technique through music education inhibits the natural creative inspiration of passionate young musicians. How can one learn the ropes without accidentally hanging oneself with them?
In Fairfield Iowa a striking combination of brilliant educators and mystical traditions seemed to have discovered the solution. Maharishi University of Management (MUM), a fully accredited university that is known for its academic excellence, offers degree program up to the PhD level, and a new innovative music program has just emerged from its horizon. A unique feature of the university is that both faculty and students practice Transcendental Meditation on a daily basis as an essential component of the curriculum.
Transcendental Meditation, commonly known as TM, is by far the most thoroughly researched form of personal development. There have been over 600 scientific research studies conducted by eminent scientists at major universities throughout the world proving its effectiveness at increasing intelligence, developing emotional maturity, synchronizing brain wave function, and improving just about every area of physical health imaginable, from reducing blood pressure and acquiring a better night’s sleep, to actually reversing the aging process.
The idea at MUM is to go beyond simply cramming students full of information and rolling their bloated tassel-flaunting heads out into a confused workforce as many universities do, but to developing the whole person so that he or she might leave college with a fully developed mind that has both exemplary knowledge and the inner wisdom and capacity to use that knowledge for a higher purpose. It is a revolutionary approach to education: in addition to knowledge of the outer world, teach the student how to dive deep within and know themselves, which has perennially been the highest quest of truth seekers from all cultures.
This year MUM launched a new Creative Musical Arts program, which is the first music college program of its kind. The development of the student’s full creative potential is of the utmost importance, which is a very different paradigm than that of traditional music colleges. Self-realization, personal growth, and the development of consciousness for the budding next generation of musicians is the ultimate goal.
Kevin Thomas, founder of Songwriting Planet, taught a course in Songwriting at MUM during the Fall semester 2010, and it was a huge success. The admissions to the course were nearly double that of the standard class size. There was such high demand for the course that accommodations were made and students of all different musical backgrounds and levels of experience were accepted.
The outcome was far greater than anyone had anticipated. Student songs consisted of styles as diverse as Rock, R&B, County, Hip-Hop, Folk, East Indian, Operatic Choral arrangements, and quite a few new genres that are yet to be defined. Students who had experience with songwriting in the past took their craft up to a whole new level, and students with no experience in songwriting finished the course with a portfolio of polished songs. But the biggest success shinned through the students as an inner light growing brighter day-by-day from their expanded level of consciousness through Transcendental Meditation.
Anyone currently looking into music colleges should consider the MUM Creative Musical Arts program. In addition this being a top notch university music program, students will leave with a greater knowledge of who they are on the inside, and a clearer direction of their higher purpose both in their music career and in their lives. If want to find out more about the program feel free to contact one of our Admissions counselors.
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|Kevin Thomas is the Adjunct Assistant Professor of the music department of MUM. Kevin is also the vice-president the San Diego Writers Guild and is president of Song Writers Planet.|