clarinet practicing teaching

When it rains, it pours.

I’ve noticed something in my musical life the past couple years.  Either I have nothing to practice, or too much to practice.  Right now, I have too much!  Between WWQ stuff at work, VWS, and the President’s Own audition in December (just about 5 weeks away), I’m feeling a little overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed mostly because I can’t seem to find enough time to practice, if at all on some days.  It can be very frustrating at times, because I find myself having to put in practice time on my days off when I really should be taking a break from everything, or spending the little time I have with my husband.

I needed to organize.  I’m all about practice efficiency…so I wrote everything down!  That really seems to help for me.  First I listed everything that I need to practice according to group or event (WWQ, VWS, audition, etc.)  Then I separated everything in to three groups: “need to learn”, “review”, and “maintain”.  Here’s a snapshot of my lists for WWQ and the audition:

photoIts pretty simple: the “need to learn” is first priority.  “Review” is second, and “maintain” is last.  That has seemed to help make things a little less daunting, and so that I don’t forget about stuff (which is easy to do for WWQ, since our book is starting to get very large!)  I’ve also prioritized my lists…as in audition stuff and WWQ stuff are first, other things come after.  I also have a list for VWS, ICA 2014 orchestral competition (which I haven’t even begun to practice), and I made a list of solos that I want to work on (I really want to give a recital at some point…obviously not until spring at the earliest).  Getting organized like this has really lessened my stress level!

This week was the last week of official teaching at Cox HS.  Wednesday was my last rehearsal of the season.  It ended up being harder than I thought…those kids have really gotten to me!  They have a special place in my heart, for sure.  I’ll miss seeing their crazy little faces every week.  I have a confession…I cried all the way home after that rehearsal.  I’m such a sap, but I’m so proud of what they’ve accomplished, and what they will do on Saturday at the national competition.  I was just overwhelmed with emotions…pride, happiness, and sadness that it was all over for me.  I feels like just yesterday was the start of band camp!  I wish I could go with them this weekend, but I’ve got Navy gigs galore (including the christening of the new aircraft carrier!) and plus my parents are here visiting.  I’ll post a video once the competition is over this weekend.

I’m looking forward to doing some volunteer work for their concert band season in the coming months, teaching lessons and running some sectionals, and then working a “band camp” in February with their wind ensemble and symphonic bands.  So my time at Cox is certainly not over, which makes me happy.  Now, I just need to pray to the Navy gods that they won’t send me anywhere before next November/December!  My projected rotation date is a year from now, so fingers crossed!!  I learned so much about teaching the last three months, I want another chance, now that I know more about competitive marching band.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I agreed to this back in May…there was definitely a lot of trial and error on my part.  I’m so thankful for the two student leaders (woodwind captain, and band captain…both clarinet players by the way!  And did I mention that the drum major is a clarinet player?  I’m noticing a nice trend here…) that helped me along the way.

One thing I’m thankful for now that marching band season is over is the time I’m getting back.  I’ve been so busy, it almost feels like it was when I was working at the hospital in NY.  But, it is much better because my hours are filled with rehearsals and teaching.  I’ve just had hardly any time to practice as I mentioned before.  Unfortunately, this weekend is definitely out for practicing…not only do I have a million gigs, but my parents are here!  Should be fun though, this is their first time visiting me in Virginia.  I’m hoping to do some touristy things, things that I haven’t even gotten to do yet here!  that’s one great thing about this place; Norfolk/VA Beach is full of things to do, unlike Rochester.  My parents are staying on the oceanfront, with an ocean view hotel room.  Yeah off season!

So starting Tuesday…practice practice practice!!  I want to do really well at this audition.  And I want to play well for our WWQ concert 3 days later, haha!

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