- moments of struggle can actually be pretty amusing
- we can sightread musically if we approach it with skill and the right mindset
- there's a lot we can learn about ourselves as musicians from doing it on a regular basis
- that there are things we can do as musicians to help ourselves be set up for more success prior to jumping in
- oftentimes what we think was a disaster in the moment really wasn't so bad
Saturday, May 8, 2021
Sunday, May 2, 2021
A few weeks ago on Twitter I shared a story about an interesting conversation I had with a colleague where I teach. The conversation that ensued after I posted that story was a brief but important one that led to the wonderful composer, piano pedagogue, and writer Melanie Spanswick asking if I'd write up a post based on the topic. How could I say no?
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
The next morning I work up with my head and heart still in a state. I couldn't endure another day like the previous one so I knew I had to do something different. As I was getting breakfast around I was struck with inspiration in the form of a bag of chocolate chips. Yep, chocolate chips. Not fancy ones. Semi-sweet chocolate chips. (Thank goodness I have a family that feels they are a must-have pantry item!)
"Erica, no to-do list today. What you need is a possibility list."
"Maybe the problem with being a busy body and having tons of ideas is that your to-do list will never, ever end. And if you judge the success of your day by whether or not you got through your to-do list you'll only feel like you failed. So write a possibilities list instead and see each one you accomplish as something to celebrate."
"Put blinders on."
Usually I'm pretty good about focusing on the task at hand. I also tend to be a multi-tasker even though I realize that's not the ideal way to be. But in my previous day's state, the danger of having too many things on my to-do list and of relying on multi-tasking became painfully obvious. So I decided that during this experiment I was going to go through my day one "possibility" at a time. I would pick one and then put blinders on and focus on that one thing until it was done or until I had done a good amount of work on it and felt comfortable setting it aside. When I had successfully worked on a possibility I celebrated with a chocolate chip. One...chocolate...chip. I was quite amazed at how well this worked! By the end of the day I felt that I was back on track and that maybe I could even go back to my to-doist self. Or maybe I should just stick with the possibilities method/chocolate chip/blinders method?
It is rather tasty.
Thursday, December 31, 2020
Thursday, December 10, 2020
It all started several years ago, in the summer of 2017. I had been asked by a flute player, Sarah Wardle Jones, if I would play piano for a recital she had put together of music composed by women, a particular interest of hers. I of course said yes, not because of the program itself, but simply because I rarely turn down an opportunity to perform. I very quickly realized after saying yes, much to my puzzlement and embarrassment, that I had never, in my entire schooling and career covering 39 years (!) performed anything written by a woman. I couldn't even name on one hand the names of female composers. Fanny Hensel, Clara Schumann, and Cécile Chaminade. That was it.