Award-winning jazz student talks about the role of Transcendental Meditation in music

When Keelan Dimick was 13 years old, he took first place in the junior division of the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival competition. The odd thing was that Keelan hadn’t had any formal training in piano until four months before the competition.

Two years after winning at the junior level, Keelan took first place in the senior division. By the age of 17 he was recruited by many of the top music schools in America and last year entered the Manhattan School of Music’s jazz program—one of the top music programs in America.

In this video Keelan talks about his experience playing music and why he feels the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique—which he has been doing every day since he was ten years old—is an essential part of his training and his preparation for performances.

“When I transcend I experience deep quietness and silence and bliss. It’s the only time and the only thing you can do in life that allows you to kind of take a step out of what we see as reality and therefore allows you to see more holistically.

“Your mood affects how you play—I mean everything really affects how you play. Each person has his own personality, and everything you do, even though it’s subtle, has a hint of your personality in it. So if a guy is really relaxed and calm, most likely that’s going to be his flavor of playing.”

“When I am fully rested and do my program, there’s nothing really that’s a stress. I’ve got to be honest because nothing really affects me on the outside. And that’s why I feel that it’s really important for students especially to start TM. Because they’re young and they are doing a lot of things, they need to have that deep rest so that they can, as Maharishi says, ‘pull the arrow back’ so that they can go further and experience more bliss in their activity.”


Written by Dennis Raimondi who has a Masters Degree in Education from Harvard University and is a former member of the Dean’s Council at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. After an extensive career in education and business, Dennis is the host of “Speaking Freely” on KRUU LP 100.1 FM, Fairfield, IA. It is also broadcast on the Harvard University radio station, WHRB FM 95.3, Boston. Dennis is a member of the National Press Club.