Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Not Recommended

This is not how I would recommend doing this. While I stand by my long-term goals of maintaining and improving my playing and my career while also being the best mother I can be, I would say that now, this month, with Zoe at 6 months old growing more fascinating and magical every day, but still not sleeping through the night, is a crummy time to be preparing a recital and a whole bunch of difficult orchestra concerts.

I'm down a lot of IQ points with the lack of sleep. She's a good baby and does sleep easily and well between feedings - but doesn't want to not feed at night. Wants, in fact, to feed every three hours or less. Which for a night or two is not bad, but cumulatively over the past 6 months is killing me. I'm in a kind of permanent fog, and anything I don't write down gets forgotten instantly, and in the orchestra I sit in amazed wonderment listening to my colleagues effortlessly grasping meter changes that I am straining to understand.

I am accustomed to how much work it takes to prepare a new (to me) piece of music, but after putting in that much work I arrived at rehearsal Sunday and realized how much more work the new dumb me needs. I had worked out all of the notes at the tempos printed, but I had not worked out how to understand them in the context of the conducted meters or how to get from one section to another in my counting, or how to deliver them in case they turned out to be solos. Nor had I hunted down a recording so that I knew what to listen for and what was likely to be exposed and dangerous. These are basic and obvious approaches to a new work which last year's me could have gotten way with skipping (or would have found time to do) but this year's me cannot. Everything just takes more time.

So I've been working remedially on our MLK Day concert, which was difficult. I'm learning Turandot which begins rehearsals on Saturday. I had to report for jury duty this morning, and was mercifully dismissed after four hours. And I am also cramming with my awesome pianist, Paul, for a recital on Monday at 12:15 at the Chicago Cultural Center. I'm excited about the repertoire, and solo playing is my very very favorite thing to do, and the Cultural Center is a great space to play in and I am so looking forward to it. And at the same time I can only laugh at how absurdly much is on my plate at the very time that I least want to do anything at all.

Zoe can crawl now, and she can sit up, and she loves her mommy and daddy - observably - and she babbles and sings and smiles and laughs and flirts and plays and I could spend all of her waking hours watching her and playing with her and never get bored. That's probably hyperbole, but it certainly is hard to tear myself away. And, that said, I'm on my way up to the practice room to take advantage of the next couple of hours, and I do feel that I'm doing what's important. In my limited, impossibly over-scheduled way, I'm living my life the way I want to. But don't try this at home.

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