Skip to main content

A New Phase

I'm in a coffee shop gearing up for the first rehearsal of NEXT weekened's concert in DuPage.(Tchaikovsky 5, Haydn 88, and a World Premiere Harp Concertino. Click HERE for tickets and info.) It's nice to have a little time to myself, and I had intended to use it to edit a couple of posts I had roughed out earlier, but you know what? It's been a chaotic couple of weeks, and nothing I wrote before feels like me anymore. Too angst-y, too conflicted. I'm on the upswing again, and everything feels easy and possible again. It's a new phase beginning, and I can't fight it...

Steve is a wonderful stay-at-home Dad. When he left his job as Education Director for the South Bend Symphony at the end of January I was skeptical that this change would wind up being for the better for us - but it definitely has. I think I had had hopes (though not expectations) that having him home would mean an end to the drudgery of running a house - no more cooking, no more laundry. That is not the way it's working out and probably shouldn't be - but we're sharing the load now in a way that has not previously been the case and while I still find that I'm spending time trying to practice and make reeds with an active baby underfoot I also find that I have an out. I can be with Zoe now without having to multitask obsessively, because I can also hand her off for an hour or two here and there and really buckle down when I need to. It's more a difference of how relaxed I feel than how many hours I've really reclaimed, but it's all I needed.

Zoe is sleeping through the night! At least, more nights than not. And I am too, and my energy levels are through the roof in comparison to a month ago.

Our big good dog, Jasper, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bone cancer, and we opted to amputate his right hind leg. Prognosis is still undetermined, but he's healing well from the surgery and getting around better every day. And even this I read as optimistic - it's nice to see his pain gone and the old doggieness return to our pet. He seems happier, even just a week after the operation.

It's March! And the days are getting longer and I can see mud emerging from the snow, and it's almost Spring and everything feels more possible. I don't remember being overtly bothered by the weather this winter - it felt more like an irrelevant nuisance to me on top of my basic level of stress and internal panic than like a stressor, if that makes any sense - but I'm aware of my mood shifting when the sun comes out (occasionally) here in Indiana and that's definitely an improvement, too.

And I'm more inspired by my career than I have been in years. Motivated to make changes, ready to get out there. It's partly that having Zoe has made me want to stay closer to home, and has lessened my tolerance for driving long distances for minimal economic gains, but also that having less time in my days has sharpened my focus on what I really want to be doing which is performing in solo recitals and chamber groups. My next project involves working on my materials and self-promotional skills so that I can replace some of my daily grind with work that excites me.

I'm frequently aware of the various cycles at work in my life - monthly and seasonally, of course, but also in terms of my career arcs and project arcs, and work vs. rest days in fitness - and it's very exciting that ALL of my personal cycles feel like new beginnings right now.

Comments

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 …