Oh my, well I’ve certainly taken a break from the blogging!
I can distinctly remember at least five instances where I thought “hey, I think I’ll blog today...right after I finish practicing this last excerpt.” Then I look up and, whoops, it’s 10pm/Wine O’Clock!
The last three months have been pretty slow in terms of work, but the days go by pretty quickly. They go something like this:
Wake up and get the boy to school.
Go back to sleep until the little girl wakes up.
Drink water, coffee, and make breakfast with the little girl, because she’s eating everything and that’s AWESOME.
Warm-up and get the first routines of the day in.
Put little girl down for a nap after her mid-day luncheon.
Enjoy a nice long stretch of practicing excerpts and concertos until the boy comes home.
(this part of the day consists of hugs, dinners, jammies, stories, bedtime, lots of food and water on the floor, and goes by in a blur)
Use the quiet apartment to record and run lists, just as I would at an audition.
I have had countless days where I don’t leave the apartment until 10pm, just because I have to take a walk for sanity and fitness. Sure, I could find some blog time somewhere, but I was making a lot of progress practicing, until I wasn’t.
For me, I improve and discover new levels of focus for a good two weeks, and then it all starts to fall apart. When the schedule is wide-open, I practice so much that my arms literally can’t hold the horn anymore, and my embouchure falls apart because I’m putting weight on my lower lip. When I don’t have to play in public, I think to myself “well great, I can get some shedding done and not worry about falling apart on the job” and I go for it, when what I really need is a recovery day.
As I get older, I find more and more that there is a limit to the improvement I can make if I’m not working. I so badly still want a job, or a show, or even regular freelancing work: not for the status that comes with a busy calendar, but because when I’m working I feel like I’m the most horn player I can be. I have clear goals and a quality to maintain. I’m the best version of myself.
So maybe you haven’t seen me much lately, but I’m very much still here. I’m not sure what’s going to happen after all of these hours and all of these years of school and experience. I don’t have that fresh perspective where I just know something will happen and all the work will be worth it. I may even be looking at the second half of my career at this point.
If these three months have taught me anything, it’s this: when you stop trying to be the musician you always wanted to be, that’s when you know it’s over. And don’t forget to take a break!