This is my first summer home since 2020. When I saw no performing projects on the horizon, I decided to use the summer to practice having a laid back mindset. Have I been successful? I say yes, though not without challenges.
I LOVE the summer. I am a child of the summer, coming alive as I spend as much time as possible outside in nature, with a particular affinity for water. Hence, this summer I signed up for a membership at the local pool. I've only made it five times...like I said above, challenges.
I have also returned to my love of biking. My neighborhood is not conducive to easy bike rides, so I have to fold my bike (I have a very cool, FULL SIZE folding bike), throw it in the car and drive to a trail. The time and effort needed has become a barrier. This summer, I've been working through those barriers. When I go, I am rewarded with the wind blowing on my face, my body working, sweat pouring out of my pores and a freedom that I find only when on a bike. Every minute I am out there reminds me expending the effort and finding the time is worth it. There's no drug in the world that can replace the feeling I get when biking.
I've also had a delightful uptick in the number of people coming in for voice lessons. What a great challenge to have! Between the pandemic and my performing schedule, I thought my studio was never going to recover. I'm so pleased to be wrong about that, particularly with all the enthusiasm and commitment I am seeing in the singers that come through my door.
The past few weeks, I've also found the resources to have a weekly yoga session with Dan'yelle Williamson Brown of Zen Flow Fitness. Dan'yelle and I met doing Sister Act (her Doloris remains one of the most incredible performances I have ever seen), and her fierce grace and love have inspired me both in my yoga practice and as a performer ("Ground yourself", the mantra that inspired my Fraulein Schneider during Hangar Theatre's Cabaret last summer was a gift from Dan'yelle and her equally fierce husband, Will). My body, mind and spirit thrive when I have Zen Flow Fitness in my life.
Also, lots of adulting. I will not bore you with those details.
And finally, I conquered one of my Guiding Star goals - Memorize an entire piano piece. Let me explain:
I have no trouble memorizing lyrics and a melody (aka a song). My brain is grooved for that task. I have no trouble memorizing lines for a role. My brain is likewise grooved for that task. But play a song on the piano? Ay yay yay. I trace this challenge to my second piano teacher back in Ripon, Wisconsin (who shall remain nameless). She was a nice woman, an okay teacher, let me rip through lots of music (hence my fantastic sightreading abilities) but...after about two years of study, SHE NEVER REQUIRED MEMORIZATION. In fact, the piece I memorized this summer is, I believe, the last piece she made me memorize. When I was 10 years old. Other teachers after her required memorization, so I did work on the skill, but I believe if I had worked on it earlier, it would have been easier.
Anyway, take a listen to Coasting by Cecil Burleigh, published by Theodore H. Presser, which was located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, the town I now live in. Isn't that weird?
I've been particularly fascinated by the mental meanderings of my brain while playing this piece. My brain is all over the place! I'll write more on that in the future.