This semester has been a whirlwind of travel, one in which I’ve taken on more performing than I’ve ever done in such a short span. I went to California for an artist training in September. Earlier this month I went on a six-day recital tour to several universities in Texas with the Amicitia Duo with my best friend. Today I embarked on a three-day tour to Kentucky and Tennessee with my colleagues in the UAB Chamber Trio. In just over a week, we head to Santa Fe to perform at a national conference. Two days after that, I head to Florida with my piano colleague for a solo recital tour. After that, we perform at a single reed symposium and, finally, my faculty recital at UAB. My head spins thinking about all the notes, all the different places. What was I thinking?
Well, to be honest, I was thinking how lucky I am to be doing what I love with people I enjoy making music with…not, “Cool, I’ll be away from Dan and home and my students for days on end!” Definitely not something I’d ever celebrate. This gal is a major homebody. However, these sojourns around the country to perform are really good for me, both as a performer and a teacher. They challenge me, stretch me. I get to meet and work with students from all over and take new ideas and stories back to share with my own students. It’s really important to stay relevant, and to keep my playing at a high level. I want to always be able to teach my students through example, and that means I need to be an active performer. Just maybe not quite as active as I let myself be this semester. Whew.
I am very fortunate in that I have an incredibly supportive husband who totally gets what I do and supports me every step of the way- even if that means I am gone quite a bit sometimes. I have a fantastic Graduate Assistant who has done a wonderful job of keeping my clarinet studio running right along when I am away from campus. I have a very supportive Chair and colleagues who are a joy to make music with. I may be busy, but it’s a good kind of busy, the kind that energizes and inspires me.
As with everything in life, this often madness-filled semester comes with lessons. I am learning that it’s okay to ask for help when I am feeling overwhelmed- something that has always been difficult for me. I have so many great people in my life who are there to support me when I need it. I’ve gained an even deeper appreciation for being home with Dan (is that even possible?) and with my students, and that I need extra recharge time when I have to be ‘on’ so much during these tours. And, I learned that maybe I don’t need to cram so many performances into such a short time period. Hopefully I’ve learned that lesson…but then again, maybe I’ll feel the same excitement of opportunity and adventure next year, the call to ‘do it all’. All I know is that right now, I’m going to enjoy the ride, every single note of it.