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On Music by Michael Molin-Skelton

by Michael Molin-Skelton, 15th October 2022

Meister Eckhart says, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough”.

So, first and foremost, I want to offer a bow of deep thanks to all of the artists whose musical genius continually moves our bodies, hearts and souls. There is a beautiful conversation that happens between the music and the dancer; driven by the beat, lifted with strings, held through the bass line, soothed inside a flute.

My body, since my feet first touched the ground, has gyrated and vibrated, from frustration through celebration, to various forms of music from classical to hip hop, Mozart to Miles, Beethoven to Beyonce, Ella to Einaudi, And of course, sometimes the best sound to move to is silence; where we can hear our own breath singing and our own hearts breaking open.

When I was first invited to contribute my “thoughts” about music I was of course honored and humbled. Then, there came a few moments of hesitation and doubt because I don’t “think” much about music. I don’t plan, prepare or program music ahead of time. I have never made a playlist or had any preconceived ideas of which songs will be shared. This movement practice invites participants to show up fully present in each moment, like an unfolding prayer, unrehearsed and uncensored, So my preference is to be in the mystery with them, with each piece of music being birthed in real time, moment by moment, rooting and rising, receding and reaching, together. A living collaboration between those who are moving their bodies and the music being played to move them.

I was recently asked if there is any music that I would not play in a class or workshop. My response was that when I am ministering the music (I am not a DJ) I believe there is no music that is off limits, as long as I am conscious of the choices being made. Being conscious of my music involves having an awareness of the intention I have for a piece of music and the impact it may have beyond that intention. Many of the teachers that I most deeply respect (K&L, Ya’Acov, Vincent, Andrea) all dance on that tightrope between intention versus impact, with the courage to hold the container with grace and grit.

I was playfully asked to share tips, tricks and secret magic formulas….but truthfully i don’t have any. I don’t use beat matching, looping, key matching, EQ mixing or cue points. There are two things that i do consider essential when it comes to music. First, is to know your music. When Gabrielle invited me to begin teaching, (back in the last century) I only had 13 CD’s, about 150 songs. That was my complete music library. So I knew my music intimately. Slowly and steadily I added music to my collection, thereby keeping a relationship to my music. I wonder now, when teachers start out with 20,000 songs in their library, how they can have a relationship or know their music. 

Second, and perhaps most importantly, play music that you love and that moves you. In our house we refer to this as goosebump music (after 3 notes you literally have goosebumps). I am constantly listening for songs that move me in this way; physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. And when I am blessed it touches each of those.

Here is a song by Samuel J that touches and moves me deeply.

I leave you with the words of Bob Marley: “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain”.

Michael Molin Skelton, Soul Motion from the USA

i have had the great fortune to lean on and learn from extraordinary teachers; susan harper, gabrielle roth, steve hearing, linda gold, vincent martinez, bill t. jones, kathy altman, lori saltman, andrea juhan, zuza engler, camille maureen, nina wise, david darling. i bow deeply and strive to move forward as an exemplar of their works.

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