by Hannah Murray, Nov. 27th, 2018.
We were honored to welcome David Eby as a guest on our podcast a few weeks ago to chat about his projects and approach to music and meditation. We could have spent hours discussing his teachings and thoughts on life as a performer and how meditation helps him and his students and colleagues.
He is a fascinating person, educator, and performer who deserves more time than we had available during our podcast recording session. SO we decided to shed more light on his projects and work by highlighting him in this space.
David Eby received his Bachelor of Music degree and Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Paul Katz of the Cleveland Quartet. He went on to study with Janos Starker and earn his Masters of Music degree from Indiana University.
He is the founding cellist of Pink Martiniand his recordings include Sympathique(with Pink Martini), Mystic harp 2, Secrets of Love, Relax: Meditations for Flute and Cello,Song of the Nightingaleand the Finding Happinesssoundtrack for Hansa Productions.
Beginning in 2001, David served as the Music Director at the Ananda Village in Northern California for twelve years. During his time there, he explored the realms of music, consciousness, inspiration, and discovering the steps for achieving a consistently inspired performance.
David is the cellist of the Bodhi trio, and performs with the Oregon Symphony and Portland Cello Project. He is on faculty at Lewis and Clark College, is a Teaching Artist for the BRAVO Youth Orchestra and is the director of the Advanced Strings at Oregon Episcopal School. He lives in Southwest Portland and teaches Workshops for the Inspired Musician.
Eby maintains a blog on his website. In preparation for our interview, I did some perusing and really connected with his writings. In a post published on September 29th 2018, titled “Stop the Reactive, Engage the Responsive,” Eby explains “Meditation is not meant to put you to sleep. It’s been scientifically shown that meditation decreases activity in the limbic system while activating the more highly evolved parts of our brain that enable empathy and creativity.”
The limbic system, for anyone who isn’t confident with that term, is a primal portion of the brain that functions as your fight or flight mechanism, helps you “hunt” for food, regulates your sleep schedule, and is very helpful when running from predators or finding a sandwich when “hangry” hits, but is extremely unhelpful when you’re trying to play an instrument.
As a musician, I think this sounds like an excellent reason to meditate. Creativity and empathy are always in short supply, and often in the practice room I feel very uninspired and uncreative and I am always looking for ways to keep myself excited and engaged. In my humble opinion, one can never have too much empathy or creativity.
And from his blog post titled “The Thrill of Liberating Progress” written on July 7th, 2018:
As a beginner, this thrill of progress is not uncommon. But as you start to master a skill, the thrilling moments come less often as you reach a plateau. Most of us burn out, and the trail goes cold. One of the reasons why so many of us professional musicians experience depression is because we lose touch with these moments of true progress. Not because the music isn’t hard enough, but because we forget that it’s not simply about technique—it’s about glimpsing our true soul potential through the music we practice and perform.
So I encourage you: use your will power to create opportunities for liberating moments of freedom. Blast open some space in your schedule and in your consciousness. The thrill of progress is an inner response to an outward achievement, so spend time every day clearing the inner environment of your heart and mind so that these moments can flourish and further inspire you.
Life is a battle for inner freedom, every step along the way. May your every day be victorious.
I think this is lovely! It resonates so strongly with me because I constantly chase the thrill of progress. In fact, I relish the role of the novice or beginner because there is nowhere to go but up. It is hard to feel this same tangible joy at this point in my musical career. This post sheds a peaceful simple light on this in a way that makes me want to sit in stillness and “clear my inner environment” to make room for more joy and enthusiasm from something (anything) that has lost its shine from years, months, hours, lifetimes of hard work.
David also maintains a Youtube channel where he shares guided meditation videos, ideas for how to help students come into stillness and calm, and music from Paramhansa Yogananda. Below are a few of his videos for you to check out and you can subscribe to his channel for more!
You can check out our podcast episode with David on Apple Podcasts and please subscribe, rate, and review the episode and show! (You can find more on our podcast tab on the website).