We’re in the middle of a global pandemic, and it’s uncharted territory for all of us. What will we do if we can’t work or go out? We musicians are panicking over cancelled concerts, plane tickets we already paid for, and lost sources of income that we were counting on.
Most of us in the music business have multiple streams of income, so it’s now more important than ever to keep our teaching businesses up and running.
Like many academic types, I have to read so much for research that I often run out of time for reading for pleasure. It isn’t just that I miss reading, I also miss being informed about subjects other than music. So this year, I decided I was going to make time for reading non-music books.
Four years ago I wrote a post about preparing Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel with a pianist friend. I was intrigued with the idea of infinity in its mirror imagery, and every time we studied the score we found more and more of these images.
I never imagined that my next performance of Spiegel im Spiegel would be in honour of that same friend’s memory after he was tragically taken from us aged 37 after a short illness.
People who know me well know that I’ve been a bit obsessed with Katherine Mansfield since I was a schoolgirl. It wasn’t just that she was New Zealand’s most famous writer and I wanted to be a writer, it was also something to do with her rebelliousness. I liked to imagine that I would one day become New Zealand’s second most disobedient daughter. (Didn’t really work. KM was far more impressively disobedient.)
I heard a great expression the other day on the Twitterverse. Mugglerésumé. In the Harry Potter novels, a non-wizard is called a Muggle. Living costs money, so sometimes we wizards musicians have to get Muggle jobs where we apply some of our non-wizard skills. Our music résumé will be full of wizardry like species counterpoint (that’s our version of Defense Against the Dark Arts), and our Muggle résumé … won’t.
This post is the third in a multi-part series on time management for music professionals.
How do you want people to remember you after you die?
I hope my family and friends will talk about the music I made, the lessons I taught, the words I wrote, and the way I made them feel.
Sometimes, when day-to-day stresses distract me from my purpose, I remind myself that no one is going to stand up at my funeral and proclaim “Her house was perfectly clean, and she was perfectly thin.”
And yet, we high-achieving women of a certain age (think grown-up Hermione Grainger) put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect. It’s not enough to be at the top of our professions, we also have to be perfect mothers, run marathons, and live in houses that look like something out of Better Homes and Gardens. It’s a lot of pressure.
This post is the second in a multi-part series on time management for music professionals.
Do you ever find yourself getting sucked into a necessary but boring task that takes all the time you wanted to spend doing something that means a lot to you? Did 56 new emails appear in the last five minutes, threatening to eat up your precious creative time? Does your music practice get pushed into last priority by all the other things you have to do? Are you angry and resentful about it?
This post is the first in a multi-part series on time management for music professionals.
Becoming a music professor was my goal from the first magical minute I stepped on campus as an undergraduate more then 20 years ago. What could be more blissful, I thought, than living the life of the mind and making great music while you’re at it? I imagined myself delivering passionate lectures, fixing bow-holds, writing essays, and travelling all over the world for recitals and festivals.
What I pictured myself doing, in other words, was the fun part of being a music professor.
Hands up if you have a love-hate relationship with practice.
Sometimes opening a new score feels as blissful as opening your Christmas stocking. Other times you invent all kinds of busy-work to do so that you don’t have to get your instrument out of its case. (Hello procrastibaking, my old friend.)