Have you ever had trouble meeting a goal?
Near the end of the UofL spring semester this year, I got an email from a competition. I thought, why not? I spent a couple of days picking out repertoire and then once the semester was over, I launched into practicing. My teaching load was still fairly heavy, but I was able to work in 2-4 hours of practicing/day. I got a few more emails from other competitions for which I could use the same program. Excellent!
Then I got a gig. First musical back after the pandemic! I was thrilled to have this gig, and kept practicing through it. But something clicked off in my brain as soon as the show was over. I no longer had the desire or motivation to do any practicing. I was experiencing the dreaded burnout.
I’ve watched a few deadlines go by, but I’ve really needed the downtime. So I’ve decided to adjust my goals. I’m going to keep that program on the plate and see how I can work practice time when I’m back in the flow of working. There’s a December deadline that’s still out there and these competitions will probably still exist next year.
The good news is that I’ve already done the hard work of getting the program into my fingers and memorizing it. Now it’s time for the internalizing. The simmering. That just takes time anyway. So, here’s to acknowledging that I need that time not only for the maturity of the music, but for my mental health.
Sometimes you need to take a step back and analyze your progress towards your goals. Maybe you bit off too much. Maybe you didn’t break your process down into appropriately sized steps. Be willing to adjust your goals. It could just be they weren’t that reasonable in the first place!