Out of the ashes the phoenix shall rise...

Remember last Sunday when I talked about out of a failure can, in fact, come success? Well I wasn't just talking "crafting".  One of the reasons I started the #52wonderfilledweeks challenge was to force myself into action.  We're all guilty of talking big talk, I have X, Y and Z plans...blah blah blah but how often do we actually take action? Not as often as we should I think.  I love thinking up ideas, and when it isn't music related for some reason I am really good at putting those ideas into action.  In fact the farther the idea is from me personally (i.e., I won't personally gain - or lose- from it) I am THE girl to put things into action.  For example I joined the local Park Advisory Council (PAC) last fall...let's keep in mind I have two small children and a full time job as a free lance hornist...and yet at the first, FIRST, meeting I ever attended I suggested and then volunteered to organize a giant holiday craft fair.  What was I thinking? Well I will tell you I really wasn't, except I saw a need that could be met (bring in money to the non profit) and a vision that could get us there and just went with it.  Most recently I joined forces with some fellow community organizers to form a Public Safety Survey for the Northwest Side of  Chicago.  We built a survey from scratch and solicited thousands of people to take it.  And while I was a little shy to hit the send/post button when we published it, it was soooo much easier than when I recently emailed my colleagues and friends about my upcoming recital.  Isn't that funny? I mean it isn't actually but I am noticing a pattern.  Anything not related to my "career" and I am a serious risk taker and usual WINNER...but mention horn in it and I start to back away.  So...I am trying to break that habit which is why I started the challenge...because I figured if I could get over the idea of putting myself out there creatively I might be able to get over putting myself out there MUSICALLY.  One of those ways I am stepping out of my comfort zone is by performing a recital.  Now I will admit it's a little easier because I am collaborating with a long time friend and former work colleague, but I still feel like I am laying a lot out there.  I haven't played a solo recital since 2004 when I was working toward my Performers Certificate at DePaul University.  That's 15 year ago! I know this is a good step though because I have been so excited about this program.  When Joe and I had our first read thru at his place in January it was amazing to just make music with another person and I just honestly love that feeling.  I've wanted to do a Horn and Organ recital since the late 90's (yes you read that right) and here I am finally doing it and super stoked...until last week...when I let doubt and small failures start to creep into my mind. With a 9 month old and a 4 year old in the house there's a lot going on and without going into detail I will just tell you I am tired and exhausted.  I have only gotten 4.5 consecutive hours of sleep for about 8 months and I am barely functioning. By the time I did get to my horn each day last week it was almost 9 pm and I was cranky and tired from the day. It didn't matter what I played -- it all sounded like crap, all felt like crap...you know the drill.  It just spiraled and my mind went with it. Everything I had wood shed the week before didn't work anymore, I realized I had to change a major fingering for two movements of one of the works to play it at the tempo I want, I tested out Facebook's live video feed to see if I could stream it for my family and friends not in the area and that took an hour due to equipment settings, and in the end it seems that it isn't a viable option.  Even though the previous week I was sounding great and feeling great nothing this week was working and I was over it and quite frankly second guessing my decision to put this concert together. I decided to take a step back and "get my mind straight".  I turned off the TV, even for my warm up *gasp* and turned on my metronome. Now I practice religiously with a metronome but I hardly use it while warming up and I knew that what I needed to right my ship was to play something memorized and that allowed me to focus on the air I was sending thru my horn.  Finding that ideal timing of a breath in, putting my mouthpiece on my face, followed by an easy, slurred exercise, taking the mouthpiece off and exhaling any air left felt almost like musical yoga.  After I re-calibrated my air I took a break from my recital rep and played thru some upcoming orchestral music, Mahler 1 was a particular favorite! Then after I felt a little better I began to work on various technical sections from my recital program and just started working thru the music.  I made a plan and executed it. I scanned in my music finally, something that had been on my to do list for several weeks.  I started to record my practice sessions and I listened back to those recordings! And what do you know,  several days later (like a week) and I got my groove and positivity back. This week I am back to feeling great and I am glad that I pushed thru what normally might have derailed me for much longer and taken me away from my goal.  We got to rehearse in the space this week and I was listening to parts of our rehearsal tonight as I worked  and I caught myself smiling...I'll take that as a good sign... so sometimes we crash and burn in what feels like a fiery fiery mess...but it's our decision to rise from those ashes, stronger and wiser that sets us up for eventual success. 


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