Thursday, April 20, 2017

Balance, Rebalance, Counterbalance

I do a lot in my life and career, as I have discussed before.  And every bit of it is something I have taken on intentionally, at some point, and every bit of it is something that I enjoy - but still sometimes it gets overwhelming.  Just as you should balance your checkbook every month and your investment portfolio every year - or so I read -  I have to periodically find a way to rebalance all of the balls I keep in the air in my life.

My income comes from three main sources - performance, teaching, and my reed business.  My time has more claims on than that, of course, because of non-income-producing but important things like interacting with my husband and daughter, exercising for my own health, and practicing and writing which are sort of a part of my job but are mostly my own creative outlets.

This year I have had a lot of wonderful performance opportunities, including my Mozart concerto, several enjoyable chamber music concerts, our ballet tour to NYC, and a few CD Release Recitals. Performance is what I live for. I'm always looking for more solo opportunities, and I'm eager to revive Musicians for Michiana, which has been on hold this year due to crazy amounts of committee work with the SBSO, but there is just not time in my life.

I need more room in my schedule, more room to not do anything.  More room to let creativity happen.  I used to post on my blog multiple times in a week.  I'm a different, busier person now, but posting once a week should be possible.  Currently it is not.  I used to have performance ideas and brainstorms come to me, as I drove or ran or showered.  Those have stopped coming.  I need the space to invite this inspiration back into my life.

When I did my monthly New Moon tarot reading in March, the message I drew was to stop playing the victim about my busyness.  All the things I'm doing come from choices I've made myself, and I need to not complain about the work when it is largely in my own control.

Jennet Ingle Reeds has picked up a lot.  With the launch of my new website I'm making and selling more than ever, which is fantastic but does take a lot of my time and attention.  I have two people winding for me, and might even be looking for more soon, but I'm doing a LOT myself.  Financially this business is very good for me and I am not planning to put the brakes on it.

Which means that something else has to go.  It can't be Steve and Zoe. It can't be the orchestra work, though I do turn down more than I used to - playing validates me and keeps me visible and keeps my reeds relevant and also I love it.  It can't be the minimal amount of self-care that I try to maintain - that's REALLY minimal and without it I'll fall to pieces.

So it can only be the teaching.  I have a VERY large studio this year, due to having been low on funds and willpower at the end of summer last year.  I teach at three colleges and have ten private students as well. This is too much.  I love every one of my students, and I enjoy teaching in the moment, as I do it, but the time it takes is becoming painful and the energy it requires of me is not sustainable.

So I am vowing, here in public, to let this third of my life begin to slip aside.  I need to have fewer demands on my time and energy so I can use those resources for other things.  I'll graduate one senior this spring.  I've already arranged to eliminate one college commute by having students come to me.  I will change my tuition model to make it easier to cancel lessons in busy times.  And I'll commit to not accepting ANY new private students until I can handle my load in two days a week.  I think it may be three years before I get there by organic attrition - but I'm playing a long game here.

By allowing myself to say NO to new students, and by leaving one school, I hope to be able to cook more meals for my family, and play more games with my daughter, and more effortlessly manage vacation days out of town during school breaks.  I hope to have the personal energy to write more and practice better, and to reach out to find new performance opportunities both at home and farther afield.  I am trying to be very strategic about doing the things I want to do, which also bring in income, while consciously letting go of the things which bind me to a tight schedule and sap my energy.

We'll see how the next few years will go!

2 comments:



  1. What an excellent personal inventory. You may need a third clone in order achieve half of what you are doing. During certain times in my life I have experienced similar problems. I understand the pleasures that teaching grants. It has a multiplier effect in the satisfaction it provides.

    Delighted to see you are thinking of resuscitating MFM. Perhaps if we think in terms of a more inclusive organization that includes Claricello, and Lang and whatever others, it may have a more durable and effective presence in the community.
    I didn’t know what “winding reeds” meant, so I ….googled it. Itsounds very complicated. It seems that making reeds is an art, a science and a talent all rolled into one. The link, friendly enough, is called “Winding cane to tube for oboe reed making”. From its use of English I think it’s from abroad. I am still not clear how it’s done. Congratulations on all your efforts, and in case of doubt…. Recast the cards…
    I haven’t seen any white smoke coming out of the Morris. Does that mean we don’t have a new pope yet? (lol)
    Dimitri

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    1. Can't comment on the new pope, but I love that imagery. I'll see if we can arrange for some white smoke when the time is right!

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