She’s Mt. Airy’s most rockin’ meditation instructor

Local Life February 22, 2013 2 Comments

Eve Miller, a cellist with Tempesta di Mare, a highly regarded player in alternative rock bands and senior student at the Amitayus Kadampa Buddhist Center in center city, is also teaching meditation classes on Tuesdays, 7 to 8 p.m., at The Juice Room & Video Library, 7141 Germantown Ave. in Mt. Airy. (Photo provided by Ian Boyl)

by Sally Hults

Eve Miller, 41, has twin callings: music and meditation. Miller is an accomplished freelance cellist, recording artist, composer, music educator, arts administrator and meditation teacher. Her music resume includes Tempesta Di Mare (a baroque, early classical chamber ensemble) and La Rocinate Baroque Ensemble as well as several alternate rock bands (Matt Pond PA, Swarm of Arrows, Rachel’s and the Lewis & Clarke Band).

Originally from Virginia, Miller earned a Bachelor’s Degree in cello performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore and a Master’s Degree in music history from Temple University. She recently took a job as Artistic Coordinator at Play On Philly!, a daily after-school orchestral music education program for at-risk children. The program is tuition-free and offered at the St. Francis de Sales Elementary School in West Philadelphia and the Freire Charter School Middle School at 10th and Market Streets in Center City. She will be working with the director to develop repertoire and curriculum, review lesson plans and do music fundamentals testing.”

In 1998 Miller discovered meditation. “I was stressed and mad at the world. I walked into a coffee shop and saw a picture of Buddha on a bulletin board. Instead of ‘Got milk?,’ the caption read ‘Got Peace?’ The flyer was for a meditation class in Center City. There were strips of paper with a phone number. I took one, and I called.”

The Mahayana Buddhist meditation class was offered by the New Kadampa Tradition in a rental space at the Ethical Society in Center City. “The teacher had a presence of peace and calm. I never stopped going,” Miller said.

The Mahayana meditation classes are now held at the Amitayus Kadampa Buddhist Center at 11th & Pine Streets in Center City. Miller continued with her studies and is now a senior student. “The teacher training program takes years of study and a significant retreat commitment,” Miller said.

“The New Kadampa Tradition is an international Mahayana Buddhist organization that was founded by a Tibetan Buddhist monk, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who translated traditional Mahayana Buddhist meditations into English and wrote commentaries in a modern presentation that is practical for everyday life.”

The central belief of Mahayana meditation is that it is possible for everyone to cultivate a positive state of mind that will lead to calmness and inner peace. You do not have to be a Buddhist or a member of the Amitayus Kadampa Buddhist Center to attend meditation classes. There are 1,000 Kadampa Centers worldwide.

“Meditating has affected my music. I feel more connected to the audience. I make eye contact. I am more present in the moment. It’s about making an offering to the audience. Meditation has helped me to develop powers of concentration that prepared me for both music and meditation,” said Miller. “Meditation takes practice … It’s like building a muscle. It is a practical toolbox for learning how to be a happier and more peaceful person.”

Miller trained as a mainstream classical cellist, but when she was a student at Baltimore’s Peabody Conservatory, she was introduced to a baroque performance practice by Ann Marie Morgan, Eve’s baroque cello professor in conservatory and a founding member of Tempesta Di Mare. “I loved it, I loved it from the get-go,” said Miller.

In addition to her history with baroque music, Miller has often played the cello with rock bands, even touring almost 180 days a year for five years with a rock band, although performing with acoustic strings in live rock club settings is unusual. “Wrangling the sound issues of acoustic versus electric instruments, cello versus drum set, it’s challenging,” she said.

Since mid-October of last year, Miller, who lives with her husband in South Philadelphia, has been teaching an ongoing meditation class at the Juice Room & Video Library at 7141 Germantown Ave. in Mt. Airy on Tuesdays from 7 to 8 p.m. “We get a big cross section of people — women in their 20s, retired people, all races. Currently we have mostly beginning meditation students. Students can join at any time. It’s a drop-in situation,” said Miller, who suggests wearing loose, comfortable clothes. The meditation is done sitting on a chair or on floor pillows. Each class is $10.

For more information, call 267-702-4083 or email epcamitayus@gmail.com.

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