Skip to main content

Who Can Do It All?

Last weekend I played "Barbie at the Symphony". It was an educational presentation in which Barbie appeared on a big video screen and interacted with our conductor and spoke about classical music and about the orchestra - all as they related to her and her various movies and products. That I didn't mind. Barbie has a right to promote herself. And I don't basically mind Barbie as a concept. I never played with Barbie dolls as a child - I was more of a tomboy - but I like any toy that promotes imagination and independent play and making up stories. The unrealistic body image thing is fine by me, too - everyone looks different and I think little girls probably understand that a doll is pretend and no two people look alike and that a little girl isn't going to look like a grown-up lady supermodel anytime soon. And if they don't understand that then they can learn.

Here's what bothered me, though. Barbie kept reappearing between pieces in her own persona - not as an actress but as Barbie - always in a different glamorous place doing something glamorous. She was in Montreal in a figure-skating event, she was in Tokyo with her band, she was giving a speech in Geneva. she was in a Paris ballet studio preparing for a role. I may have the details skewed (I was working, and also very very tired) but over time we saw Barbie herself doing an enormous number of creative and high-profile professional activities at a very high level. That did hit close to home. What I am learning most recently in my own life is that there really are only so many things you can pursue at any one time. Don't get me wrong - I do think girls can do anything they want and be anything they want. I just increasingly realize that a person can't do EVERYTHING, and I'm a little insulted that Barbie can. Bad message.

After the last crazy couple of weeks of my life, I have decided to reprioritize sleep over exercise, and I could not be happier. Honestly my actions aren't that different, as I've found it impossible to get out for a week or so, but my attitude sure is. Now instead of lying in bed from 6:30 until 8 hitting the snooze button and hating myself for not running, I sleep until 8 and get up without beating myself up. It's been four days since my decision and I'm glowing with renewed vigor. This is definitely temporary - once Zoe sleeps better and I have a few earlier nights under my belt and maybe it gets a little less COLD out I will hit the streets again. Fitness IS important to me, and my body is important to me, and I know I feel better and more energetic day to day when I run regularly. But I can't do everything, and I can't be a great player and a great mom and a great teacher when I'm trying to cram too many things into my day and holding it all together with caffeine. I have to still be a runner, but I don't have to be hard-core about it at this precise moment in time.


Popular posts from this blog

Discouraging Words

I can remember at least two old cranky violinists coming to talk to young me about NOT going into music.  There was a session, for example, during a Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra retreat in which a real RPO professional (who was probably 47 but whom I remember as ancient) told us that, statistically, no one who graduates from music school wins auditions for jobs because there are only like 4 jobs out there in the world and 7000 hotshots coming into the job market every week. 

Quit NOW. 

I may have misremembered the details of this speech, but I remember the emotional jolt.  It was designed to discourage.

Last weekend I was presenting at a Double Reed Festival, and heard some oboists grumbling about another presenter who had evidently given something of the same talk to a roomful of masterclass attendees and participants.  High school students and cheerful adult amateurs.

And look, there's an element of truth to this.  Classical music is not a growing field, and it is leg…

Shaq and the Oboe

Here’s my FAVORITE thing about that Shaquille O'Neal video everyone's sharing this week - it’s how HAPPY he is playing this silly game and how little he CARES what the oboe actually SOUNDS LIKE or how to play it. 
Almost as if the oboe is not a giant obstacle to overcome.

Instead of focusing on the CRAFT of the instrument, the precise fingerings, the quality of the sound, the finesse of the vibrato - his focus is on DELIVERING the SONG.   It’s on COMMUNICATION, not perfection.

What a LIBERATING concept!

When I am playing my best, I find that I can surpass the STRUGGLE and come to a place where my focus is on communication.   I can sing through the instrument, and I can use that voice to reach out and find someone else.  This is really what being In the Zone means for me - it's when I don’t have to engage with the OBOE and instead can be generous with my VOICE for the audience.

I seek and strive for this Zone all the time - it’s the whole point of practicing! I practice long…

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

We took a vacation this summer.This is not news to anyone in my life - anyone who knows me or especially Steve on Facebook followed along with all of our pictures.We took our travel trailer out to Arizona - via St Louis, Tulsa, Amarillo, Roswell, Santa Fe - and then stayed a week in Clarksdale and Flagstaff and visited some ancient pueblo ruins, Sedona, Jerome, the Lowell Observatory, the Grand Canyon.We swam in swimming pools, lakes, and icy mountain streams.We hiked.Eventually we came home again, via Albuquerque, Amarillo, Tulsa, and St Louis. (our inventiveness had somewhat worn out).After a week at home we took another trip, and drove to Vermont via western NY and the Adirondack Park (stayed an extra day to hike a mountain), lived four days in East Franklin VT, and came home via Catskill and eastern Ohio.
This vacation felt different from all of our previous ones.In the 21 years we’ve been married, I can name only one - maybe two trips we ever took that were not For Work or For …