Happy Snow Day, everyone! The snow fell voraciously here in NYC today, and it was great to stay home and be a practicing mom for a day. For me, that means lots of cooking and scrubbing little faces, and lots of laughs and hugs. It couldn't have come at a better time, because I was running on fumes by the end of last week. Here's a snapshot from a day that made me think "Whew, it's good to be a horn player!".
The day started early, with toddler snuggles and his very own continental fruit and juice breakfast. I was lucky that morning to get an hour of practice in, which I usually can't do if Gabrielle has been waking the night before. Sam the toddler is having sessions with a Speech Therapist, so I finished getting ready for the day while they worked. Lunch, nap, and I was out the door five hours after we woke up. Usually I pack a snack, but I knew I had a small window to run back and see the kids, and I can always get something at home and save a little money.
I am teaching a group of great kids in Brooklyn, so I get clerical tasks done on the train and bus rides. Sometimes I use that time to write blog posts, and other times I make lists of issues that I want to hit in my practice time. The class goes by incredibly quick, and the ride back is usually spent on reviewing the topics I covered in that class and I start gathering a lesson plan for the next time I see that group of kids.
This particular day, I had a job to play that night, so I ran home, nursed Gabrielle, and slapped together a snack. A quick brush of my teeth, a change into black clothes, and I was out again! On days like this, it's absolutely crucial that I pack my case and purse as far head in advance as I can, so I can cleanly walk in and out and not have to worry about having the right mutes and music. When I have 15 minutes at home, I want to spend that time hugging my kids and chasing them around while they smile and giggle.
At the next job, I got there in plenty of time to center my mind and chops for the music I was about to play. I always build extra time into my commute so I can have those precious minutes to regain the focus I need to play my best. There's really nothing better than finding your zone, getting the job done, and hearing the laughs and seeing the smiles of the audience you're playing for. In theory we're always playing for someone, but seeing the people you're playing for ties all of the practice sessions and mental preparation together. It reminds me that the practice hours add up to a really great night for someone, and hopefully you too!
I got home ten hours after I first left, starving and tired. As I changed clothes and got ready to nurse the baby, I felt my skin tingle and I smiled. What a great day to be alive in New York City! It's a decades-old cliche, but the "energy of the city" really carried me from start to finish, and I couldn't have been more grateful that day. From the students in that class to the audience members that were enjoying their night out, I could see the faces of the people whose lives I had crossed into today in my mind. And even when we're all just trying to pay our rent and our phone bill, isn't that why we're doing this in the first place? We could make a ton more money doing something else that doesn't take as much back pain, but the excitement and rush of completing a day like this makes me come back for more.
Even though I was physically exhausted, my spirit was charged to do it again the next day, and to bring all of that positive energy back to my kids. I hope that I can use these experiences to teach them that happiness isn't about ambition or money, but about enjoying and learning from the experiences of your life as you have them. And of course, I couldn't have done it without the support of my amazing husband, who believes in me as a musician and a mother more than I do at times. Many thanks to the colleagues who recommended me for these opportunities that make days like this possible for me; maybe I'll see you all on the train!
Have you had a satisfying marathon day recently? What did you do to get through it? Comment below!