My passion is to help others in the community, young, old, and everyone in between, find relevance and joy in learning, performing or listening to classical music.

Monday, June 29, 2020

At a fork in the road

I find myself at a fork in the road yet again, as are so many others. But in all honesty, I'm actually excited about the possibilities, especially with what I'm announcing today, because in doing this I am pushing myself way past my comfort zone, which is not something I tend to do.

In the past few weeks, as I've been grappling with what comes next for me as a musician, or maybe as someone returning to the non-artist workforce, I've had several quotes visit me that are all pointing me towards one path.
"Do one thing every day that scares you"  - Mary Schmich
I'm doing that.

For quite a while now I've toyed around with the idea of creating a Patreon site for myself. What is Patreon? Patreon is a web platform that enables creative people to ask their fans for help and support so that they can continue doing what they do. People interested in supporting an artist can sign up to donate an amount every month and in return, based on which tier is signed up for, patrons get access to various perks.

So why is this so scary? To answer that, let me share the second quote that has graciously visited me this week by way of the beautiful, poignant story, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, written by Charlie Mackesy. (I highly, highly recommend everyone have a copy on their coffee table, especially right now during this crazy time.)
"What is the bravest thing you've ever said?" asked the boy.
"Help." said the horse.
"Asking for help isn't giving up," said the horse. "It's refusing to give up."
Most people who know me already know that I am incredibly passionate about music, and more specifically about the art of learning music in a way that fosters success, pride, joy, and the desire to share music with others. About 7 or 8 years ago I started my practice coaching business, Beyond the Notes, because of this passion. I've had some clients and have presented many workshops to both teachers and students, and each time has been received with a lot of positive feedback but honestly it's been difficult - I simply haven't had enough work come my way. I've spent many a sleepless night trying to figure out what's standing in my way. I've made some changes, I've consulted with a lot of people, and I continue to try new things but one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome has to do, I believe, with people being embarrassed to ask for help - and that's challenging. I also think a lot of teachers also don't know quite what to make of me - to some I seem to be a threat. I am not planning on abandoning my business - I will continue to work on making it a success, but in the meantime, Patreon is, I'm hoping, a solution to keep me from having to ditch it all to get another "regular" job.

So why Patreon?

People come to me all the time on social media for help. It it crystal clear to me that for whatever reason, that is a safer place for them to ask me questions about practicing, performance anxiety, sightreading, and anything else that I regularly talk about. And social media is, for me, an excellent place to teach in way that impacts a lot of people all at once. I regularly livestream my daily practice to hundreds of people every day in addition to also livestreaming sightreading sessions. In both I discuss a lot of why I do what I do so that it's a learning experience for anyone watching. Often times questions arise from viewers that lead to discussions that end up pulling in many others. It's a dynamic, exciting, informative, and more importantly, a safe place to learn, which is why I love it. I also regularly post motivational quotes and tips on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I'd love to also return to writing more blog posts and to post shorter instructional videos but all of this takes a lot of time - time that I'm not currently getting paid for.

During all this time at home I've been continuing to do all this same work but because of the current situation I'm not making any money through freelancing; that all came to a halt several months ago and gigs are regularly getting wiped off my calendar. We are thankfully doing fine, but I'm feeling more and more like something needs to change. I feel guilty putting so much time into what I consider my "mission-oriented" work when I'm not bringing home a paycheck. That's why I'm asking for help. I'm asking for support and for cheerleaders who understand what it is I do to stand up and to say, "Yes! Keep doing what you're doing! We see the value in it!"

So if you're at all interested, please head on over to my Patreon site:

Take a look around and let me know if you have any questions.

And thanks for reading if you made it this far. Stay safe, everyone!