I haven’t blogged for a while. Things have been pretty crazy here. Let me just fill you in on my weeks.
For most weeks in the school term, I teach for three days. They are huge days – I don’t get much time off. I see as many kids as I can and lessons are all pretty high energy. In my experience, kids learn music best by doing. Playing music as much as possible. So this means that things are noisy. And I have to manage things carefully. I’m often asked why I teach like this. Well, a number of reasons. Most of the time, I like to be high-energy. I’m an extrovert, so it’s a pretty easy way for me to be. But most of all, I love seeing kids really engage – laughing, energised themselves. It means, after a while I have been teaching in their school, they rush into their music lessons. It’s fun. They love the energy and the slight craziness. It does mean I go home pretty tired though…
I’m paid well for what I do. I’ve negotiated this, and I work hard for it. The other days I don’t teach, I manage a concert series and I’m a cellist. People assume I ‘have a day off’. But I don’t. I’m up, just as early. I’m practising. Emailing. Keeping up with social media, and scheduling posts. Listening to stuff to see if it would work in a program. Updating websites. It’s busy. And requires constant work.
I don’t often have a ‘day off’. I was reading this article this morning. And it rang very true. Most artists don’t dodge taxes, despite what people think. We don’t shirk. We are tremendously disciplined. Sometimes too much so. But it’s not an easy path to walk. I wouldn’t encourage young people to walk down this road. Not unless they can’t imagine doing anything else.
Because I am so many things. I am a performer. A teacher. A business person. A dreamer. An editor. A researcher. It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed.
(As I write this, I imagine your response. Please know, I’m not asking for your sympathy. I’m just being truthful. I’m writing this the day after a concert. I always feel pretty raw on those days. It leads to honesty.)
Is it worth it? Sometimes. When I play a fabulous concert and feel like I’m almost flying, yes. When I see a kid in a music class having a wonderful time, absolutely. When a cello student blossoms, it’s wonderful. When things all fall into place to create a really good program, yep. But it’s relentless. And often lonely. It’s sometimes self-destructive. It’s often disheartening.
But could I do anything else? No. It’s a like a drug. I couldn’t give it up.