September. There is something about this time of year that feels like a big reset. It was drilled into our brains and bodies since childhood. It represents the start of school, a shift in lifestyle for parents with school-aged children, and for many of us it is a reminder of the length of time our lives have been so drastically different from our pre-pandemic days. Every year around this time I like to take stock, not just of the events of life, but of all the positive things that hold us up through the year. The studio has been through a ton of changes: moving from Chicago to Massachusetts to San Diego, growing to max capacity, many students shifting from traditional lessons to music therapy, some holding their senior recitals, and other students graduating and beginning college! I don't know that the studio has seen this many changes in such brief period of time, but it makes perfect sense. We are all learning and growing.
Now that we have landed on our feet (we have, even if it was a rocky landing) I want to redirect us to the smaller things that got us through. Many times we make big assumptions, like setting lofty goals that feel good, but aren't realistic. This year I want to focus on the more powerful small goals. Here are some places to start:
Singers! Are you drinking enough water? Try making sure to have a glass by you during your practice sessions. Remember, it is ok to practice during the small breaks in your day. Sometimes I get my hour in 15-min increments at different times during my day.
Pianists & Flutists: How are your hands? Are you stretching your fingers before and after playing? Be sure to rest them, especially if you have very fast passages in your music. Move over Beethoven!
Sleep! I have a love-hate relationship with my insomnia. Sleep has a direct effect on your playing, especially those emotional pieces you are working on. Doe anyone get cranky and "mad" at their music when they are sleep-deprived? I'm looking at you, love songs!
Emotional self-care and stress. For me, the #1 reason I avoid practicing is stress. When I have a ton of heavy things on my mind, it robs me of my joy and I simply don't practice. If it's been a while since you've picked up your sheet music and you are simply waiting for your lesson to "practice", I invite you to think about why. When was the last time you found joy in playing and singing? What freed your mind to do so? How can you create a similar environment? This is one of the most important aspects of practice. Let me know if you need help with this.
We can all count the big things going on in our lives; good, bad, and ugly. Let's make some time for the small things.
Love & Light,