Jahna Perricone, CMF – Director of c3 Mindfulness Programs
c3 supports the growth and development of the individual artist and creator through a whole system approach. Since 2011, c3 has collaborated on a number events with MARC: Mindfulness Awareness Research Center at UCLA to explore mindfulness and meditation as an approach towards optimal creativity and wellbeing.
As a result, we are implementing both an ongoing monthly Mindfulness gathering which will take place at a location in Santa Monica and will include accompaniment by Tibetan Singing Bowls, a group Mindful meditation sits and open discussion. Additionally, Jahna will be facilitating workshops specially designed for the creative professional.
Jahna Perricone received her certification as a Mindful Meditation facilitator from MARC: Mindfulness Awareness Research Center at UCLA and has been leading Mindfulness classes and groups designed for the creative professional. She will be leading the c3 Mindfulness programs.
You’re invited to a private, ongoing special event for people who are interested in the creative arts and mindfulness. Recent scientific research shows that practicing open awareness mindfulness mediation increases ones access to creative thought. We’re interested in building an opportunity for creative people to gather, practice mindful meditation, and create together. If you’re interested in attending the monthly mindful group event or the “Mindfullness for Optimal Creativity” workshop please contact Jahna Perricone at email@example.com.
What would you say Mindfulness is?
Mindfulness can be defined in many ways; however presently I’m working with this definition:
“Mindfulness is bringing ones’ attention to the present moment with an open curiousity and a willingness to be with what is.”
I learned this definition from Diana Winston, the Director of the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center (MARC) at UCLA as I was completing the CMF program there; earning my Certification as a UCLA Certified Mindfulness Facilitator .
How did you get started in Mindfulness Meditation?
I had been meditating on my own for many years before I was brought to Mindfulness. I had been looking for some guidance and community and a dear friend of mine recommended that I check it out.
What led you to Mindfulness Meditation?
I was initially drawn to both the science that supported the value of meditation and the visceral experience I had when practicing it. Up until that time, I had not experienced such a solid access to my mind — a mind that was not hindered by critical thoughts or fears. And what was most interesting to me was that I had expected the critical thoughts and fears to go away completely… but that wasn’t the case. Instead, I realized that even though they were still there floating around my mind, I was able to take them less seriously and thus be less influenced by them. I could now decide how much control these feelings and thoughts had to my reactions. It was almost as if they were just a barking dog in my neighbors back yard and now I had a door to close to muffle the sounds! In fact, the more that I practiced merely ‘noticing’ the voices, the more I was able to stay focused on the things I truly was interested in.
You’re a musician, singer and singing teacher by trade, correct?
Yes! Tried and true:-) I’ve been a musician and singer my whole life — I started in musical theater and then began to perform in night clubs, then I studied and performed classical voice and opera. I have a couple of Classical Crossover albums out, ‘In The Balance’ and ‘Fresh.’ Presently, I’m doing the finishing mix on my next album, ‘Mindful Glances.’ I love teaching singers too! About 15 years ago I began taking holistic vocal pedagogy classes so that I could learn about vocal muscle systems, the science of singing, and how to teach singers to be strong and confident vocalists. I’m happy to say that I’ve maintained a full roster of students and I’m so grateful for this.
What experiences have you had upon practicing mindfulness and it’s effects on your singing career?
There have been many, but there are a couple that stand out. I was meditating one morning and quite unexpectedly I was ‘watching’ and ‘hearing’ a fully orchestrated version of a new song I had been writing in my mind. I ‘saw’ and ‘heard’ the cellos coming in, followed by the violins etc. This was the first time I had ever had that experience. Another time was when I was performing the “Star Spangled Banner” for a high level government event. Now, as many people know, that song is one of the most well-known, often sung and difficult songs out there. I was quite intimidated by the surroundings and event, and was even feeling a stage fright that I hadn’t had in many years. I used the tools that I’d learned from mindfulness to deal with these feelings by bringing them into my body and noticing where they were. I watched the thoughts and the feelings and, because of my practice, was able to treat them as something I was ‘observing’ in myself vs. something that was over-taking me. I sang the piece and people loved it! They said that they had never heard it sung the way I did it and that they were profoundly moved. This taught me to trust and practice and myself within it. It was a profound experience for me.
What have effects have you seen with your students? What about audiences?
The effects with my students has been fabulous. And fabulous for them. After our short meditation, students are able to be present for themselves and their art and create amazing results. I will always remember one of my students, who I taught for over 10 years and is now a professional singer/songwriter, telling me that one of her favorite parts of our lessons was when we would meditate before starting the lesson. It really is such a gift we can give ourselves.
Being that you’re a graduate from the CMF program at the MARC Institute at UCLA, what’s does the latest scientific research they’ve discovered show in relation to mindfulness and creativity?
The research is very promising. Recent studies have concluded that practicing mindfulness with open awareness (a practice where one brings their attention to different stimuli rather than focusing on one thing) instills more creative processing and access to creative thought.
What about general well-being and health?
The research is solid and growing in the area of health and well-being. Some of the promising results and findings are; lowered inflammatory response, deeper sleep, higher T-cell count, increased energy, increased positive outlook and well-being.
Where do you think we are headed in mindfulness and it’s relationship to the creative music space in the future?
This is a very exciting time to be involved in mindfulness and the creative arts and music. I believe we are all muse’s looking looking for ways to channel our creations and bring them out to others who are looking for similar connection. Through the practice of mindfulness we are able to access this truth with a vibrancy and trust that is visceral. It’s due to mindfulness meditation that I have been able to access this creative sense with such confidence.
In terms of the future, I see musical experiences expanding as more and more people meeting and approaching the arts with this state of mind. I see events happening in immersive settings that encourage us to bring our attention to our many senses as well as the blending of meditation practice with concerts and theatrical experiences. I could keep on going with ideas because there really is no limit – so bring it on.