2020: A Reflection
Happy Holidays everyone! I can’t believe we are officially nearing the end of the year. With that being said I want to do a bit of a reflection. Obviously, this was a year like no other. We celebrated the coming of a new decade just nearly a year ago and then we were dealt cards that we couldn’t have imagined. This year was a journey. It was full of laughter, joy, heartache, uncertainty, and frankly, it was downright scary. However, this was the year that if anything, we should have learned from. Now I’m not talking about how we all learned to bake bread or knit socks over the lock down. I’m talking about how we needed to learn respect. We needed to learn how to survive. The truth of the matter is this year was the worst and the best for many of us, and I believe that it was a true turning point in society.
In the beginning of March I was living my life like any other college student. The last thing I really remember was going out and celebrating my birthday with my closest friends at school. I was a masters student in New York City living out my dreams. I was independent, I was happy, and then, I wasn’t. I like many others lost a lot. I lost my city home, I lost my school, I lost my friends, and I was sent home with just my confused thoughts of, “how did we get here?”
How DID we get here? How did we let this go so far?
When I initially came home I was unhappy. I was unmotivated to get up, practice, put in the work and continue on with my life. There seemed like no point. The music industry completely collapsed, and it only got worse over time. For the first few weeks, I tried to do things to get me out of my funk. I baked, I knitted, I binge watched tv, and then I decided I couldn’t just do the same thing over and over again every day. My mom always says I do better with structure. That I do. So I took it upon myself to create a schedule. I made sure I had a visual of what I was doing every day. When did I practice? When were my classes? When could I have some down time to hang out and bake those cookies? I found things to do and with that I found a little bit more will to go on everyday.
As time went on I decided to use my time to grow as a performer. As I’ve talked about before, I struggled for so long with a lack of confidence and I decided that I had all the time in the world at this point to change that. With that being said I studied the ins and outs of performance anxiety. I took a course on performing arts medicine and received a certificate. I started Mind Over Practice and have shared my journey with not only those who have been willing to listen, but those who have also been willing to learn. I have found a voice through Mind Over Practice and this has given me the ability to give back to the community. This has given me the ability to be the one who talks about musicians with chronic illnesses so someone out there feels a little less alone.
Mind Over Practice has opened the door to many new opportunities. I couldn’t have done it without the continuous support of my friends, family, teachers, and colleagues. Ultimately, I’ve grown as a performer, as an artist, and as an entrepreneur. During this time I overcame many of the hardest obstacles. I surely went through my phases of NEVER wanting to touch my horn. I went through phases of anger and sadness and missing the world we once used to live in.
Let me tell you, one of the hardest things for me is not being in a real school setting. I’ve personally felt like I’ve missed a lot. I also miss the social aspect of school. I miss playing mock auditions with my friends, I miss people kicking me out of practice rooms, I miss our 7th floor “lunch bench” where myself and a bunch of other graduate music students would each lunch daily. It was a ritual. It was a routine. I haven’t seen the majority of my friends in person in nearly a year. I must say that I am truly grateful for staying in touch with everyone, but I miss in person interactions. I miss orchestra and small ensemble playing.
My saving grace in terms of school? My teacher David Jolley. He has not once missed a beat in this online learning. When everything went virtual, my transition to online lessons was seamless. We didn’t change anything. We continued on as if we were still in person. We talk about auditions, continuing my education, different types of performing and artistry, and of course everything I play in my lessons! While our lesson transition was seamless, I knew I could do a better job at taking notes on my lessons and making sure I was improving. This is part of the reason I started my practice journal. This has helped my development immensely, and if you’re ever interested in my routine, message me and let’s talk! Recently I’ve prided myself in my use of a practice journal and how I structure my lessons and practice sessions. This has been a huge transition, and improvement for me in my musical life.
The biggest change has been my mindset towards pretty much anything. I’ve become a big believer in manifesting what you want. I had heard somewhere a few months ago that the universe always says yes to you. If you believe you will not get into a certain school, you won’t. If you believe that people should lie to you, they will. If you believe that you’ll get the job promotion, the universe will say yes because that’s what it does. I found this extremely interesting and I really took it to heart. As I’m applying for DMA’s, I have not once found myself doubting my ability to get into schools. While others may have their doubts, I’ve been extremely optimistic and have been looking at everything I need to do to be successful. Sometimes, it’s not about knowing the “right” answers, or telling people what they want to hear. It’s about being confident in what you offer and the knowledge you have. This switch in perception and the idea that the universe gives you what you think you deserve has blown my mind, and it’s also made me realize that nothing is ever that far out of reach.
While some of this sounds crazy, 2020 had been a huge blessing for me. Take a minute to reflect on your 2020. Even if you’re sitting here saying it’s been a huge disappointment and you’ve had a really hard time, congratulate yourself, because you made it to the end. We will get out of this Pandemic. We will continue to survive and thrive and even if the best thing you did today was get out of bed, congratulations you did it and I am proud of you. Be proud of any step you took this year. Be proud of the big things, the little things and everything in between. We’ve all experienced different challenges, and obstacles. Take a minute to embrace the fact that you have overcome everything thrown your way. Keep going. You can do it.
Next week will be a semi continuation of this topic. It’ll surely help wrap up this year and open a new door. For now, have an awesome holiday season. Eat the cookies, drink the eggnog and take time to appreciate the little things in life. Oh, and of course, have a productive week of positive practicing!