Posted in Health and Fitness, Keeping your sanity, Parenting

Forgetting to Have Fun

Yesterday I felt miserable. I woke up feeling bad and had little energy. Having a recital coming up, however, I had to practice. My practice was unfocused and hardly goal-driven. I took several tiny breaks to pop online and view Facebook and the News, which didn’t help my lack of concentration. And while I scored nearly 4 hours of practice, it was practically unproductive (except for a few shining moments), and I ended up injuring my right hand in two places: my thumb and pinky. What a dumb thing. That night it was clear that I had succumbed to my children’s cold they so graciously shared with me and the rest of their school. Yuck.

After a great night’s sleep, surprisingly, I woke up with a sore throat, aching ears, and even less energy. Great. Well, at least I’ve been taking Zicam (zinc), so, I thought, maybe after I get the older two kids off to school and I get a nice, hot cup of coffee and another dose of Zicam, I’ll feel better. Thankfully, that was the case. I started practicing with my happy toddler watching Super Why (a fun learn-to-read 25-minute series [he’s known his alphabet for months] http://pbskids.org/video/ ), but everything felt, well, not right, like I was working too hard. I did get some productive time in, but knowing that I needed to take it easy on my right hand, I took a very long break after about 1 1/2 hours of practice. What a great decision! I had eaten a good snack, took my recital dress to get altered, had a filling, delicious lunch, and with some renewed energy (and even more Zicam), I sounded great and playing felt easy again. Then it suddenly dawned on me, I was forgetting to have fun and that practicing and the recital itself should be fun — musically satisfying, of course, but fun. With my newly enlightened mindset, practicing was once again enjoyable. I didn’t stress out about missed notes, and even though I had to stop and run an emergency second pair of eyeglasses to my husband, I could pick right up where I left off and happily continue my work. I had a great practice session. Gotta remember to have fun! What a difference!

“With every job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find that fun and, snap, the job’s a game!” — Mary Poppins

Author:

I have been active as a freelance performer since 1992 and as a teacher since 1996. I currently serve as Second Flute with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic orchestra and have performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Winds, Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, Danville (Illinois) Symphony Orchestra, Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, Bloomington Chamber Singers Orchestra, and the United States Collegiate Wind Bandโ€™s European Tour, among other ensembles. I have also enjoyed performing for various occasions such as formal and charitable recitals as well as giving master classes at Butler University in Indianapolis and at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. I am also Adjunct Professor of Flute at Indiana Wesleyan University. I earned a Master of Music in Performance with Distinction at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England studying with Peter Lloyd and Laura Jellicoe. While in England, I played in charitable concerts for St. Augustineโ€™s Catholic Church. I was featured as a soloist at the Pennine Spring Music Festival in Heptonstall, England in addition to performing in the music festivalโ€™s orchestral and solo events. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Performance with Distinction at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where I studied principally with Kathryn Lukas. While at Indiana University, I also had the incredible opportunity to study for several weeks with Barbara Kallaur on baroque flute, Donald Peck, Thomas Robertello, and Kate Hill. I am lucky to be the mother of three beautiful and talented children, and I play on a wonderful David Straubinger 10K gold flute with 14K head joint.

2 thoughts on “Forgetting to Have Fun

  1. Wonderful! I have also noticed that joy is so important for the learning process, and for optimal coordination of the body. When I am joyful and happy, I am naturally more poised; resulting in greater comfort and more beautiful playing. Of course, illness is a whole other ball game… Happy to hear that rest, tea, and Zicam (I’m also a big fan of zinc) helped get you back on tack. Reading your post reminded me of this old Peanuts cartoon. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚
    http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/09/if-youre-going-to-get-any-joy-out-of-being-depressed/

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Lynne! How perfect and true. It’s interesting how easy it is to stay in a gloomy or negative state. I’ve found that I, at times, need to be reminded why I love playing flute, and, like you said, my playing then becomes so much more beautiful when I’m relaxed and enjoying myself. I will definitely remember the Peanuts cartoon when I find myself stubbornly fixed in an anxiety-filled dark cloud either with my flute or with my children. I just need to stand up straight, feel both feet firmly on the ground, hold my head up high, and start to feel better. ๐Ÿ™‚ What a perfect cartoon you’ve run across!

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