Transcendental Meditation

Guitar great Sharon Isbin on ‘inner creativity’

When she was a child, Sharon Isbin wanted to become a rocket scientist like her father. Instead, she has reached stratospheric heights as one of the world’s greatest classical guitarists.

sharon isbin on transcendental meditation tm practice

Multi-Grammy Award winner Sharon Isbin is hailed as “the pre-eminent classical guitarist of our time”. She has appeared as soloist with over 170 orchestras, and has commissioned more concerti than any other guitarist. Her catalogue of over 25 recordings ranges from Baroque to jazz-fusion. In 1995, one of her CDs was even taken into space by U.S. astronauts.
Photo: Allison Michael Orenstein for The Wall Street Journal

She credits her years of Transcendental Meditation practice – she started at the age of 17, and has been going ever since – with maintaining her teaching, recording and touring work and keeping her life balanced.

Sharon Isbin on
benefits of meditation

In her amazingly productive career, Isbin has performed at the White House and Carnegie Hall and played with rock guitarists such as Steve Vai, Steve Morse and Nancy Wilson. She also founded the guitar department at the Juilliard School of Music. At age 58, Isbin sometimes plays as many as 20 concerts a month.

However, she says that she still gets nervous before each one.

To prepare for a show, she meditates and then practices only lightly, so that onstage she can “flip the switch and pretend it’s the first time ever.”

Sharon Isbin_tm practice music and meditation interview

When at home in New York, Sharon Isbin balances her practicing and teaching schedule with meditation and riverside runs near her Upper West Side apartment.
Photo credit: sharonisbin.com

Meditation also helps once she is in front of the audience. “TM really helps me access my inner creativity,” Isbin says. “Meditation is something that facilitates deep immersion when I’m on stage.”

I feel like if I’m there in a trancelike state, the audience comes with me, and they’re in that journey with me. Music takes people out of this world and into another for a period of time where hopefully they can experience the emotions of joy and sadness and nostalgia, but in a really artistically empowering way.”

SOURCES and MORE INFO:

sharon isbin guitarist meditatesInterview by Joey DiGuglielmo, The classics and beyond

The Washington Blade

the wall street journal transcendental meditation tm sharon isbin“Sharon Isbin: Notes From a Classical Guitarist”
by Alexandra Wolfe,

The Wall Street Journal

sharon isbin the-new-york-times transcendental meditation tm news“Sharon Isbin: Seeking Out Serenity”
by Liz Robbins,

New York Times

sharon isbin documentary apt“Sharon Isbin: Troubadour” (2014),
American Public Television

Sharon-Isbin-on meditation

Sharon Isbin performing for President Barack Obama at the White House:  Isaac Albeniz’s Asturias and Agustin Barrios Mangoré’s Waltz Op. 8, No. 4, November 4, 2009.