In tandem with his musical career, Namoradze is actively engaged in various music-related fields in the cognitive sciences. He currently pursues postgraduate studies in neuropsychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College, London, where his research interests include the effects of mental practice and mindfulness on musical performance. He is also a certified meditation teacher and the creator of IDAGIO Mindfulness, a platform on IDAGIO, the world’s leading classical music streaming app. Please see below for more information on the platform and his research.
IDAGIO Mindfulness is a platform on mind and music on IDAGIO. The content includes an audio course called The Mindful Listener that combines meditation training with music appreciation, a series on sleep, bite-sized meditations, various curated playlists and albums, and more.
In October 2022, Nicolas curated and hosted the symposium Mind Over Music, presented in Calgary, Canada as part of the Honens International Piano Competition in association with the University of Calgary and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. The symposium explored a range of questions surrounding music competitions in the 21st century, primarily from the perspectives of cognitive science. The events included panel discussions, workshops and performances that touch on topics such as performance psychology, mindfulness, mental health, aesthetics, neuroscience and music technology. See here for more information, and video recordings of all of the events can be found on IDAGIO Mindfulness.
Nicolas’ path to his current musical activities was an unconventional one. During his master’s studies as a pianist at Juilliard, Nicolas, feeling the need to search more deeply for his unique musical voice, withdrew from actively concertizing or competing. This was to create a space of quietude and freedom to experiment away from the pressures of the limelight, to develop his artistic profile by touching upon a variety of interests before returning in earnest to the stage.
Over the next few years, Nicolas pursued his doctorate at the CUNY Graduate Center, taught music history, composition, and chamber music at Queens College, and broadened his compositional activities, all while continuing to develop his pianism. His interest in meditation and the cognitive sciences also deepened during this period. Nicolas began to study mindfulness intensively and undertook part of his doctorate at Columbia University, where he studied neuroscience and Buddhism. His doctoral work touched upon questions of cognition—his dissertation developed statistical-graphical methods of analysis for aspects of musical perception. The work is published as the book “Ligeti’s Macroharmonies” by Springer in the Computational Music Science series.
In parallel to his studies in mindfulness and meditation, Nicolas also delved into sports psychology and neuroplasticity. Noticing a lack of resources for musicians on ways to improve one’s performance away from the instrument, he began to research and develop mental practice methods for the entire preparation process, from the early stages of learning a piece of music to pre-performance routines.
Upon feeling ready to return to the limelight, Nicolas decided to enter Honens. Given the centrality that mindfulness and mental training played not only in the preparation for the competition but especially his subsequent intensive performance and touring schedule, Nicolas later took up the formal study of these fields in parallel to his musical life. In 2021 he was certified by the International Mindfulness Teacher’s Association as a mindfulness teacher, and he currently pursues postgraduate studies in neuropsychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College, London, where his research interests include the effects of mental practice and mindfulness on musical performance.
Besides his work on mental techniques for performers, Nicolas also found that mindfulness has much to offer one’s experience as a listener. Building upon his several years of teaching music history, he developed meditations that are a cross between mindfulness and music appreciation, in conjunction with listening sessions. These meditations serve to both train and develop mindfulness, while also refining one’s skills as a listener and heightening perception of the music one is about to hear. In this vein, Nicolas has recently begun presenting “mindful recitals.” These events interweave musical performances with short mindfulness exercises and thought experiments that guide the listener into a particular headspace to hear these pieces of music, revealing new perspectives on the listening experience.
Given the unique advantages and benefits that apps and digital media offer the study of mindfulness and meditation, Nicolas came together with IDAGIO, the world’s leading classical music streaming service, to create IDAGIO Mindfulness. Besides a forthcoming podcast, video series and several other resources, the core of the platform constitutes two courses: The Mindful Performer, a performance psychology and mental skills training app for performers, and The Mindful Listener, a course for developing mindfulness and music listening skills.