Post-Show Thoughts

Its’ been a bit since I posted. Part of that excuse is the busy schedule of a show, plus a full time job. But now that Seven Brides for Seven Brothers has closed, I have time to reflect.

Looking Back

It’s been a fairly crazy (for me) summer. I had an ill-fated trip to the Grand Canyon, a micro-vacation to Austin, and an eventful, extensive rehearsal process for a musical.

The last one was of course the biggest part of my schedule. Rehearsals 4 days per week left little time for anything else in the evenings. The show was a massive success, selling out more than half of our 10 performances. I’ll update the show page soon with pictures and more info.

Toward the end of the summer, I made it a goal to have one new artistic experience every week. Previous sights included trips to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Island ETC in Galveston, and my first show at The MATCH.

Of course I also inaugurated this blog. Now that the show has closed, I have time to stop and think and reevaluate.

Looking Forward

For the first time in nearly three years, I don’t have a show coming up. It’s still taking a time to settle in.

I’ve been music director and/or pianist for 12 shows since fall of 2015. In that time, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge and experience on how to work with singers, directors, musicians, and the challenges of a musical theatre score.

I still have a lot of room to grow, and I’m looking forward to trying that now that I have a little time to focus myself. I want to do more score study, more piano practice, and more observing of other musicians.

I’m back in piano lessons, and after a recent exciting day as an organ substitute, I’m thinking of getting back in to organ lessons as well. I also recently came into possession of an accordion, so that may be in my future too.

I’m looking at attending graduate school if I find a program that I like and that will let me in. Doing some campus visits this fall, and applying. I will know by March or April of next year.

In the meantime, I have a choir to direct and I’m seeing another show this week. I made recordings of my playing piano so I can do some self assessment. I just bought a new score. The Woodlands Chamber Music Project is going to pick up. I’m reading more and exploring more.

So look forward to seeing new posts here!

I'm Back! (To School)

It's been a bit since I posted on here. Frankly, I've been distracted and there haven't been many developments in most of my projects. 

What's happened this week?

  • Professional development and classroom planning at the school. School starts tomorrow!
  • Continued rehearsals and set building on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which opens August 31 (Click here for tickets)
  • I had a piano lesson and spent time at the gym.
  • I spent Friday in downtown Houston, having a really enjoyable conversation with a friend from college. In fact, there have been several really interesting conversations that I hope to reflect on here, when I can get my thoughts into writing.
  • I saw The Mousetrap at The Alley Theatre in Houston. Fabulous play, exciting twist. If you get a chance, you should go see it, though my performance was virtually sold out.
  • Some time to relax and to reflect today before school starts.

On that last note...

What's coming up this week?

  • More rehearsals! Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is going into the final stages of the show, and it's time for things to come together. This week I hope to add microphones and see the sets come together.
  • The first week of school! I'm excited to see the students come back and begin the new work this year.
  • I'm going to see another show this week. I need to decide what to see. I want to write more about the shows that I see and reflect on the work I want to be doing with my life.
  • More piano practice and time at the gym.

The year in advance

During this first week, I'm going to ask my students to reflect on two topics: what are they looking forward to this year and what are they the most worried about this year. In the spirit, I want to go through the same exercise for myself.

This year, I'm most excited for the chance to push the men's choir. We are instituting evening rehearsals for the first time this year, and that will give me a chance to really dig deep. This is also the first year I will have a group made up entirely of students that I taught. I'm interested to see how this will be different from previous years.

I'm also excited for the chance to expand my piano courses. Last year I offered a second year course in piano; this year that course will have its own class period. It will be more structured and hands on. I'm excited to see what happens.

I am most worried about my personal growth this year. On the one hand, I feel more confident in some things than I ever have. Especially where my teaching is concerned. On the other hand, the long talks that I have been having with friends and colleagues in recent months have left me doubtful of where I stand as a musician.

What I do know is that I need to be practicing piano a lot more, and watching TV a lot less. I'm still figuring out what my path will be, but those are both things I know.

Work helps ease my worry. So back to work it is!

Back to School!

I almost missed the deadline to post today. I was distracted by making plans for the fall.

Tomorrow is the first day of my work inservice. From here on out, I will have less time to write posts. I still want to get at least a little bit out every day, and I still want it to be substantial and interesting.

In the meantime, I'll tease that I'm working on a big project for the fall that will come to fruition in December. It's got a lot of moving parts, and I'm not sure I will get it worked out entirely as planned, but I'm hoping something comes of it!

Plus of course, I'm continuing to practice piano.

On a quick side note, Squarespace changed its settings so that I can no longer directly post these to my Facebook account automatically. For the time being, I'm going to continue to post them intermittently to that site. 

Filler Post

It's late and I don't have time to put together a lengthy post, but here's my daily. It's been an eventful day!

I had a meeting with Reese Burgan and John Paddie about our plans for The Woodlands Chamber Music Project. So look for further developments on that.

Tonight I'm in Galveston. I saw a show earlier tonight (9 to 5 at Island East-End Theatre Company) and I'll post more of my thoughts on the show tomorrow. I really enjoyed it!

In the meantime, I'm going to rest and relax. I'm back to school on Monday, and I have a church service to play on Sunday, so tonight is my last free night for awhile!

A Quick Note

I don't really have anything new to say today, so this post is here to keep my streak going as much as anything else.

But I've been doing some thinking about what's being posted here, and I have determined that as long as I have this blog posted on a site connected to my professional work, I need to keep the topics relevant to that.

So look for more posts on the subject of shows I'm working on, piano progress, teaching, or organ gigs.

This should be the last meta post for awhile.

Paying My Dues

One thing that regularly gnaws at me is envy. I'm sure this is not unusual, but it's the topic of what I want to write today.

I know I'm not the only person who sees other people's lives or accomplishments or celebrations on Facebook (weddings, awards, graduations, etc.) and feels a little inadequate. "Why don't I have anything like that going on?"

It's all well and good to be reminded that social media isn't real life but it is a kind of real life. Most people don't completely make stuff up on social media. What we do on social media is selectively reveal what we want to. For example, I've had a policy for years of only posting when I had something positive to say.

But I wanted to take a moment to complain to remind myself of common sense.

The thing that all of my successful friends have in common is that they put in work. When someone builds a successful business, it's because she put in hours behind the scenes. Someone who receives a great professional honor has worked hard to achieve that. We don't see the time and hours behind the scenes, unless we're looking carefully. But I know enough about these people to know that they deserve their success.

Me? Well, I'm sitting on my couch typing this up instead. I spent more time playing with Google Drawings yesterday morning than I did practicing piano all last week.

No lasting success comes without work. I realize this in some parts of my life. I get that if my choir is going to be successful in April, we have to start working toward it in August. I get that if The Woodlands Chamber Music Project is going to grow, it will take work to reach out to the audience and to maintain correct records, etc. I know the singing on a musical I'm working on will take teaching and reteaching to be solid.

Where I can't seem to get it through my head is in the realm of personal development. I have lots of things I'd like to improve about myself, whether it's developing positive habits, learning new skills, or improving existing ones. I'd love to be a highly accomplished pianist, a master conductor, in shape, and with a consistent social life and professional reputation.

But when the time comes to work on those things, I balk. Rather than stepping forward into the challenge, I back off. Not from fear, but from lack of discipline. I want to be good, but I don't want to put in the work to get there. I'd rather skim Facebook for the dozenth time today than read a real book. I'd rather watch TV than go to the gym. I'd rather wander into my bedroom and read until I pass out at night than prepare myself for the next day. I'd rather sit on my couch and text friends than go out and try to meet new people.

If I want success, it's a matter of actually doing the thing. Regardless of whether I pick the best place to start, something is better than nothing, and that's where I am right now.

So now that I've talked myself into this, it's time to get some work done. I don't want to go to bed tonight with nothing to show for the day. And that should be true of every day.