June 27, 2012 at 4:35 PMLike many musicians, my 'job' is a cobbled-together combination consisting of of private teaching, church work, orchestral player, pit musician, etc. I conduct a youth orchestra and am the music director (currently an unpaid gig)at a young-but-growing non-profit arts school.
My work calendar roughly corresponds to the school year in that there is a crush of things all at once at Christmas time (concerts, recitals, church music) and in the spring at the end of the year. The period of time between Easter and early June is particularly intense, and I always survive it by reminding myself that summer is a-coming.
Summer--- that season that I always expect to be so restorative---is in reality, just a different type of busy. I only teach students one day a week in the summer...but still, the days are full and over-full with summer work. Last week I taught a week-long musical theater camp for 30 kids. We also began pit rehearsals for Carousel, our July musical. Had a string quartet rehearsal for a wedding. Organized and planned for an outdoor concert my youth and adult orchestras are playing tomorrow evening. Am collecting the string section for the Opera in August. Sunday keeps coming every week. Another camp begins in a couple of weeks....
And every year this surprises me. Every summer, I catch myself at some particularly stressful time and ask myself, "Wait a minute.... wasn't summer supposed to feel like 'less'?"
And we musicians work way into the future. I got a call the other day for a big wedding gig on the Island in October. I am spending time with the other teachers, planning and shaping our class offerings for fall. Concerts are already planned for all of next season, and now is the time to choose music, secure venues, etc.
I'm also in school, finishing the last of my coursework this summer. I still have a thesis to write somewhere on top of all the fall demands. And it's looking like I'll be teaching some at the University this fall.
As my brain swimmingly juggles all the details, I'm doing some hard evaluating. As I'm faced with some possibly hard choices for fall I realize that there isn't a lot that I really want to do without.
I know I'll never stop private teaching (though perhaps 15-18 students instead of 30+ is more reasonable)and you'd have to wrest the baton of my youth orchestra from my crippled hands to get me to give that up.
Still, I need to remember to enjoy the small things on the way...the wedding I'm playing on the shore of Lake Michigan on Saturday will give me a chance to just BE for a bit.
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