Why hello internet, it’s been a while, I’m glad you’re still here. I’ll try to keep in touch better in the coming year.
First new recording: Shame for speaking alto flutist by Jesse Diener-Bennett
Second, some reflection on the new year. As I was thinking about 2015, I was also (inevitably) thinking about 2014, and have concluded that it was a good year for me. I need to remind myself every once in a while, that yes, I am doing well, and I’m doing things I want. I sometimes get rather impatient with myself, and want everything to happen at once, and need to remember that things happen slowly. In 2014, I planned and performed a solo recital and masterclass, auditioned for a major orchestra, and my music work is outweighing my non-music work. I also had a major epiphany this year: I don’t have to wait for things to happen. I had a good idea for a recital, and I did it. That was it, end of story. I think before that, I always knew that I could just do things, but I thought there were all these insurmountable barriers to doing so. Turns out, there isn’t, just me standing in my own way.
Looking forward into 2015, I resolve to be better at flute, do more, and to get better at inversions in yoga. I have chosen the same resolutions almost every year, (especially the “be better at flute” one), and every year I get a little better at keeping them. To be “better at flute” is about improving my practice habits. “Do more” means going to more concerts, producing more concerts, playing more concerts, and focusing more on the ‘making things happen’ aspect of my life. And working on yoga inversions means making time for exercise in my life, which is often the first to go when I feel too busy. What helps me the most in doing the things I want to do is prioritizing the work (and non-work) I do.
1. Performance work
My goal, as a musician, is to be a performer, so taking that opportunity to perform, especially playing something I’m passionate about, is always at the top of my list.
2. Music work
This includes producing concerts, administrative work, managing social media, and teaching. Basically anything that is related to the music industry. This kind of work is extremely important to making my own performances happen, and also super awesome learning experiences and rewarding work in and of itself.
Teaching is another passion of mine, and I love teaching and love my students, but I consider it to be a separate career aspiration than performing. I learn a lot every week from my students, and ultimately it makes me a better teacher and musician in general.
3. Non-music work
This is anything I do because I have to pay rent, such as working as a barista and babysitting.
The list above is how I try to think about all the work I do, how I try to distribute my work time between the categories. Sometimes this makes my decision making process easier. Sometimes I have to accept that I live in reality and have responsibilities and can’t practice all day instead of going to work. However, thinking about my various responsibilities and (many) career goals within this structure helps me focus on what’s most important to me, and not get too lost in all the details.
And, of course, all this happens within the hopefully happy balance of work-time and “rest of my life”-time, which can be a little more difficult to maintain. But again, I get a little better at this every year. 2014 was the year of learning time management and making my own schedule. 2015 will (with some luck) be reaping the rewards of learning time management and making things happen.