Lie Down and Listen at St Mark's Church
PUBLISHED: 14:03 05 June 2019
Christina McMaster says lying down and listening to classical music is a boost for mental and physical wellbeing
Listening to music for many is a contemplative act, but pianist Christina McMaster is also advocating it for mental wellbeing.
She took part in Sound Mind with King's College's department of psychological medicine, which combined specially curated music and psychedelic images to enhance the listener's mood.
Crucially the audience were lying down during the two experimental concerts. They filled out questionnaires afterwards which led researchers to conclude that the experience allowed "imaginations and creativity to run freely and also allowed for a deeply visceral experience, altering perception of time, our world, ourselves and others."
The experience has led McMaster to run similar events with the next at St Mark's in Primrose Hill.
At Lie Down and Listen, concert goers will enjoy a yoga and meditation session before McMaster performs alongside choral singers Genesis Sixteen a programme of "meditative" pieces by Meredith Monk, Philip Glass, Peteris Vasks and Arvo Part in the candlelit surroundings of the church.
Taking part in yoga and mindfulness before the concert "opens you up to experience the music on a deeper level and absorb its inherent wellbeing effects," she says.
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"When you come to the mats and are guided through meditation, it's a moment for people to close their eyes and create a bit of stillness."
The simple yoga poses which anyone can manage, help listeners "to have a bit more connection to ourselves and the atmosphere in the room".
The ritual sets up an intensely focused listening environment that is crucial for the experience.
"When we lie down it calms down our whole central nervous system. Being relaxed allows us to absorb the music more readily and deeply," she adds.
"It's a collective experience. We are all looking for some kind of deeper connection now. If we take a moment to be still and connect with ourselves and others this wonderful music can take us to another spiritual dimension."
Audience feedback has described the experience as 'life enhancing', 'hypnotic' 'sublime' and uplifting,' invoking a refreshed sense of peace.
Audiences start off with drinks and snacks followed by a movement session and the concert. Cushions, mats and blankets are provided, although listeners are welcome to bring along their own.
Lie down and Listen starts at 6.30pm on June 14 in St Mark's Church, Regent's Park. Tickets £35 from eventbrite.co.uk