Interview: Leo Cosendai
We catch up with our alumnus to learn how his Third Ear app uses music and meditation to improve wellbeing…
Originally from Switzerland, now based in London, Leo’s teachings have become much in demand. He now works as a sound meditation teacher both in London and internationally, helping people change their lives via his gong sound bath sessions and Third Ear app.
Following a guest meditation class at ICMP earlier in the year, we caught up with Leo to find out more about his musical journey and how he uses music and meditation to improve wellbeing…
Could you explain a little about how you first got into the world of sound therapy?
Well, firstly, I think it’s crucial to establish the fact that music is a therapy in and of itself. Playing an instrument is good for your cerebral activity and singing is great for your heart and vagus nerve. However, there is a great therapeutic momentum in sounds that aren't orchestrated by the conscious mind. I am talking about sounds which don't necessarily fit into a time or key signature. A sound doesn't bound its listener(s) to time or any notion of it.
From a personal point of view, it is simple: I got into sound meditation because I had been suffering from anxiety from a young age.
You studied at ICMP - what did you learn from your experiences here that have equipped you for your career?
I learned to do things that I didn't want to do and other things I knew I wasn't good at. So to put it simply, I was often outside of my comfort zone, which is a gift in the long term.
Have you got a favourite inspirational quote that you return to?
“Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink,” by Charles Bukowski. Why this quote? It reminds me of the essence of two key ingredients which I believe I need to leave a positive mark on this planet: resourcefulness and resilience."
How did the Third Ear app come about? Could you explain who makes up the Third Ear team?
It's fairly simple: my clients had been asking me to make a CD and I eventually said yes. Why an app rather than a CD? I think the answer is obvious!
Third Ear is my school friend from Switzerland (EPFL and Harvard graduate) and sister Julie Cosendai (ECAL graduate, Vogue, Y-3, Dior, Balanciaga). As sound consultant and producer, we have Gregor McWilliam who has helped us tremendously in getting the right sound for extremely intricate instruments such as gongs and Tibetan bowls.
Many reading this will work as either musicians or in the music industry. What would be your top tips for them around looking after themselves/mindfulness/wellbeing?
Get your sleep right. This will mean different strokes for different folks but we all know where to start ... have plenty of it (AT NIGHT!)
Exercise (yoga, run, gym, walk) do whatever you can but stay active at least 45 minutes a day.
Make five to 10 minutes to meditate daily.
For more tips, download my app Third Ear on the Apple App store.
It will also be available on android devices (Google store) at the beginning of September.
What’s been the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Hard work is crucial, but timing is everything.
For anyone looking to implement a meditation routine, what would you advise them?
Start with five minutes a day and don't expect results straight away. Silence can be a tricky thing to deal with, so I'd advise going to a sound bath (follow me @leo.cosendai for my schedule) and/or download Third Ear.
What does the future have in store for you?
I do not know and hope never to know. If for any reason you do, keep your cards to yourselves and focus on why you’re doing what you’re doing!
Visit leo.cosendai.com and thirdear.com for more information.
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