Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Next Week vs. Next Year

For a while now I've wanted to start getting serious about practicing, but there's always been something major in the way. Thankfully, I have *finally* finished my Master’s thesis and can now really get moving forward with my life. Now that I've gotten to this point where I actually have time to practice, I have had to figure out what my next step should be.

Certainly music is a large part of what I want to focus my life around, you could even consider it a centerpiece for me. However, my life is not single-faceted (as I’m sure you could say about your own life), so I have other things to think about and try and balance as well. Finances are a major concern of mine. Having just completed graduate school, I now have quite the mound of debts to repay. Not to mention savings to build up, emergency funds, maybe a vacation every once and a while, and - Lord willing – even retirement to think about. I want to build a career in music that’s my own. I’m also not single, so I have another person to work with and try and create a life and home that’s our own.

One quote that has at time both inspired and haunted me is by the British flutist Geoffrey Gilbert: "Remember, you're not practicing for next week, you're practicing for next year." There have been so many times when I have thought "Oh if only I'd been practicing this more/all along/etc.!"

Why not take this quote one step further:  “In everything you do, don’t prepare for next week, prepare for next year!” Musically, professionally, personally, we should always be looking ahead, planning ahead. I plan to spend the next year trying to balance all of these pieces. So, this leaves me with one question:

Where do I want to be one year from now?

What a loaded question. I can honestly say that so many ideas have popped into my head – a career as a woodwind doubler, starting a chamber group, planning recitals out the wazoo, maybe I should take a second job, etc. I’ve been thinking about all of these options (some harder than others – really, Phil? You want to prepare four recitals in a single year?!), and I’ve been trying to sift through them. The ones that are more readily available to me or more important are moving to the top of the list, while the loftier or more challenging ones are drifting to the bottom. It’s starting to become clear which avenues I can really see myself pursuing.

As I'm actually not going to officially kick this one year of dedicated practice off until August 1, the month of July will serve as my planning month. This will allow me ample time to plan effectively, and get geared up.  I won’t be writing it all out in today’s post, but I’ve done some work already, gotten ideas written out, and some rough plans going.

I hope to be back soon with exciting news and at least a few clear goals!

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