Finding Balance

I began this year with the knowledge that the balance between my instrumental teaching and my ‘creative work’ (composing, improvising etc.) had to be addressed. 2018 was a fantastic year for me, creativity-wise, but during 2019 the financial realities of life forced me to prioritise a steady income over project-based work. But also, I enjoy my teaching. I believe that passing on a joy of music is incredibly important and encouraging others to explore there own creativity brings me great satisfaction. However, during 2019 I felt unsatisfied with the amount of time I found for creative work.

In my search for a solution, I discovered Sarra Cannon’s Heart Breathings YouTube channel. Her content is mostly directed at authors, but much of the advice can be applied to other creative pursuits, such as her 90 Day Plans. Her videos will explain it much better than I do here, but in a nutshell you plan for each quarter of the year. This means that, unlike a plan for a whole year, you check in with yourself regularly and make adjustments as needed. There is also a lot of focus on being realistic and honest with yourself about the time you have available to you.

In the spirit of this, I blocked out the days in the first quarter of this year that I will be able to work on creative projects. The answer: fifteen days…

At first, this was disheartening. I couldn’t imagine what I could get done in only fifteen days. However, as I began to think realistically about what I can achieve in this time, I started to feel better. Looking forward to the next couple of months, I feel much less frustrated than in the past when I set myself grand goals that I had no hope of achieving. And here’s the important thing…it seems to be working. I have done more creative work in the last two months than I would have done in the same time-span last year. While you’re here, you can have a listen to some of those things:

Sweet – Safe – Houses
Music by Rachel Graff. Poem by Emily Dickinson
Performed by Rachel Graff and Christine Adams
Improvisation performed by Rachel Graff and Christine Adams

Featured photo by nicollazzi xiong from Pexels

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