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Silent Hike Takes San Diegans On A Meditative Musical Journey

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's called a silent hike. Yet people will be guided through a meditative journey with music while hiking along the trail at Cowles mountain. People who participate are called mine travelers, and they'll wear headphones while listening to composer and pianist Murray hidary who created mine travel. Take a listen. Speaker 2: 00:29 [inaudible] Speaker 1: 00:29 and Marie joins us to talk about the silent hike happening this weekend. Marie, welcome. Thank you so much for having me. Pleasure to be here. Well, some people go hiking for the peaceful sound of nature and to perhaps escape the noise of the city, but that isn't exactly what's happening here. Describe what is happening during this hike. Speaker 3: 00:48 So we, uh, bring together, um, music, nature and community into one integrated experience. So all the participants gather at the meeting point and we provide wireless headphones for everybody. And then we all listen to relaxing music that I compose. Um, piano music that, uh, really creates a soundtrack to this natural external landscape. And it creates the space for self-reflection. Um, so you get your alone time, but you also have this real bond and cohesiveness and connection with the whole community. That's, that's with you. Speaker 2: 01:32 [inaudible] Speaker 1: 01:33 and where did the idea for the silent hike could come from? Speaker 3: 01:36 So, you know, as a pianist and composer, I started performing in theaters of course, and then I wanted to bring the audience out into nature. So we did outdoor concerts. Um, but since I take people on this musical journey, I thought, well, what if we really went on a journey and went walking, you know, through nature, uh, with the music as well. And so I did the first one and it works so well that now we embarked on a coast to coast tour from New York to the west coast 21 cities. Um, and, uh, W it's just been phenomenal. Speaker 1: 02:09 So how did you, uh, how do you approach composing the music that the hikers will listen to? Is there a connection between what they hear and the terrain and what they'll see? Speaker 3: 02:18 Absolutely. So I a hike each of the locations in advance and spend time in that natural setting to really feel the energy of it and just kind of get a sense of the landscape. And then I match and curate the music, all original compositions and recordings of mine. And I match it to that landscape and to, you know, whether it's the view at the top or the places we stomp along the way. So it's really a, you know, specifically curated soundtrack to that landscape. Speaker 1: 02:48 And what do you think music can add to the experience of being out in, in nature, uh, away from the hustle and bustle of, of noise of everyday life? Yeah, I mean, music is truly, you know, the of Speaker 3: 03:00 emotions, the language of feelings. And this is a very introspective reflection type of experience. And so people are able to really tap in to, uh, that emotional state, connecting it with nature, which also helps to distress, reducing anxiety and together that combination of the music with nature is just so powerful. Um, so the, you know, that's the experience people are having. It's really both internal as well as connecting it with this external natural landscape. Speaker 1: 03:33 So what informs and inspires your music? Speaker 3: 03:37 Well, the reason why I'm so excited about this experience and I created it because nature is the greatest inspiration for me. And with the music I do, which is all instrumental and has this abstract nature to it. Um, I do my best. Like my aspiration is to really, I get inspired by the patterns of nature, the rhythm of nature, whether it's the movement to the trees, um, or the grasses or the flowers or the birds. I mean everything has rhythm and movement to it. And I interpret that as music, as movement, just like music is movement. Speaker 4: 04:23 [inaudible] Speaker 1: 04:23 and I know you've, you spent time sort of studying eastern religions. How does that influence, um, the music that you play and this IX, this mind travel experience? Speaker 3: 04:34 Yeah, so the mine travel really is the fusion of my training as a classical pianist and composer with my deep studies, um, in eastern ideas and philosophy and living abroad and, and integrating all of that. And so specifically, nature is such a wonderful teacher when it comes to one of the greatest lessons of these traditions, which is the idea of impermanence and embracing the transient nature of life. And once we're able to do that, uh, and music, of course, is the ultimate metaphor for that. It's the only art form that actually only exists in the moment and then disappears, um, as opposed to like painting or sculpture, right. Which, which, uh, have a lasting effect. And so, uh, once we get to really understand and experience that in both nature and the music, we can embrace life in a fuller, um, way to really live in the moment more. Speaker 1: 05:31 And, you know, some people will say they just want to hear nature on a high, you know, or maybe, you know, the birds chirping, the wind blowing through the trees or just peaceful nothingness. Um, what's your response to that? Speaker 3: 05:43 Yeah, and there's, and there's moments where we're able to do that. And you know, on the hike last night in Santa Barbara for instance, we had crickets in the evening, you know, that came out as we descended from the mountain and you're still able to hear that, um, and experience, they know the grand sounds of nature even with the headphones on because they're not blocking out 100% of it. Um, and what's nice too is that this is an experience that people can, can control on their own. They can adjust the volume level to whatever comfort level they want and if they want to take a break and just listen to the wind, they're able to do that as well. It's all about freedom of the experience and freedom of expression. Speaker 1: 06:21 The hike is going to be on Cal's mountain where it's headphones. Does that impede a hikers ability to sort of be on alert for snakes or other hazards on the trail? Speaker 3: 06:29 Well, amazingly because of the experience that we have, um, we are opening the senses and that's part of the guiding that I do is opening all of our senses more deeply. So all of us on the, on the hike, uh, because we're not chatting with one another, right? Everyone's in a no speaking zone. So we, we maintain, that's the silent part of it is we're completely quiet moving through the mountain in the forest. And so, um, and so we're all more attuned to our, uh, and much more aware of everything around us, every little movement, everything that's going on, we're completely present too because that's part of the, the walking meditation, this experience that we're having. And ultimately what do you hope hikers take away from this experience? So my, my ultimate aspiration is for people to kind of open up, um, just a little bit more and connect more deeply with themselves, with what's important to them and to take that feeling into their lives so that it ripples out, whether it's at home with their friends and family or at work, and that has a lasting impact for them and those around them. Speaker 1: 07:41 I've been speaking with Murray hidary, composer, pianist, and creator of mine travel. The silent hype will take place Sunday, September 15th at 3:00 PM at Cowes Mountain. You can find more information@kpbs.org Marie, thanks so much for joining us. Thank you so much. Speaker 4: 08:11 [inaudible] Speaker 2: 08:34 [inaudible] [inaudible] Speaker 4: 08:42 [inaudible].

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Mind Travel is a silent hike up Cowles Mountain where hikers, called Mind Travellers, wear headphones and are guided through a meditative journey with music. It was created by composer and pianist Murray Hidary.
KPBS Midday Edition Segments