What You Can Do With One Minute

One Minute

Even a one-minute break can be enough to clear your head and make you feel refreshed. Take one minute and try one of these exercises. 

Focused Breathing

Focused breathing exercises can take place between classes, in your car before work, before a performance, or even with students! Everyone, musicians especially, benefits from focusing on the breath. If you lose focus, that’s ok. Acknowledge it and return your focus back to the breath. Any time you can bring focus to the breath is helpful. Breathing is the most effective way to bring the mind back to the present moment. 

Three Calming Breaths

  1. Close your eyes or softly gaze down at your feet.
  2. Take a deep breath in through your nose, being aware of how your body feels as you inhale.
  3. Slowly breath out through your mouth, continuing the awareness.
  4. Repeat 2 more times. 

Mindful Breathing

  1. Close your eyes or softly gaze down at your feet. Keep your back straight and feet grounded.
  2. Place one hand on your abdomen or chest. 
  3. Slowly inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
  4. Focus only on your breathing.
  5. Continue for 1 minute (or more).

Square Breathing

  1. Close your eyes or softly gaze down at your feet.
  2. Imagine a square, drawn in the air in front of you. 
  3. Trace the square in your mind: inhale through the vertical line going up, hold the breath on the horizontal lines, and exhale through the vertical line doing down. 
  4. Repeat several times.

*Note, for this exercise some find a rectangle (as opposed to a square) to feel more natural and relaxing. 


Did you know: humans are the only animals who can control their breathing! 

Set an Intention

“A path or practice focused on how you are being in a present moment. Set your intention on what matters most to you.” – Phillip Moffitt

An intention is not the same as a goal. A goal is something you will do. An intention is something you are. Goals focus on the future, while intentions focus on the present. An intention will help you connect your way of being with your way of doing

I am creative.  I am calm. I am loved. I am enough.

Set an intention for yourself daily, then put it in action! 

  • Write your intention on a piece of paper and carry it in your pocket all day.
  • Write your intention on a sticky note and post it somewhere you can see it often. 
  • Say your intention out loud, as many times and as often enough to make sure you believe it! 

Incorporate these with your music students

  • Together take three calming breaths before starting a rehearsal or after a transition. If you already do breathing exercises as part of your warm-up, the calming breaths work well at the end, before transitioning to the next part of rehearsal. 
  • Set an intention with students at the beginning of class – either as a group, or individually. Write the intention somewhere everyone can see it. 
  • Mindful Listening – Use a chime or other long-sustaining instrument. Instruct students to close their eyes. Strike the chime, asking students to raise their hands when they no longer hear it. 
  • Glitter Jar – Fill a jar with water and glitter. Shake the jar and watch the glitter dance. Focus on the breath and watch the jar until all the glitter settles back to the bottom. 

Links to Further Reading and Resources

Back to TACET: Take Five