summer lineup

My fourth thought from the last post [staying on track] was: plan enrichment opportunities. Along those lines, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek into my plans for the next three months.

In deciding what my summer should look like, I wanted to find ways to both enrich other peoples’ lives, as well as learn and grow myself.

What does that look like for me?

June: visiting my family in Alaska.
Alongside taking in the salty sea breezes and rugged coastline I call home, I will perform a recital for my former teachers, family, and a few dear friends. I haven’t performed at home since my senior year of high school, and I wanted the chance to share music with those who have shaped my musical journey from day one. I am also excited to share the work of a music nonprofit organization that I have been connecting with, and raise awareness for the many projects this nonprofit is launching worldwide!

Boesendorfer Recital Hall
Mozarthaus Vienna

July: a big month!
– Traveling to Austria for Mélange Vienna, a summer music course blending culture, language, and piano! I’m especially excited to introduce Europe to my mom, who will be able to participate in this festival as well! Looking forward to a meaningful time of new experiences in the center of classical music.
– Attending the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy in Chicago, where I will take in both presentations and workshops, spend time with dear piano friends, and present my own research on teaching young students counterpoint!

August: this month will be about planning ways to enrich my own students for the fall semester, and connecting with the local music community more before I leave to teach at Samford again.

What are your plans this summer? I’d love to hear about ways you have found to grow and learn during the upcoming months!

staying on track

Summer is an in-limbo season for me. Feelings of freedom, spontaneity, and “the world is my oyster” jump to mind, but alongside the thrill comes a simultaneous urgency – the weight of everything I need to do before another school semester begins.

It’s easy to sink into relaxation after the last piano lessons of the school year are completed in May or June – whether that means becoming a regular at local coffee shops, sleeping in every day for a week, or taking long walks to appreciate the natural beauty that fills your corner of the planet. This time to rest and recharge is invaluable.

For me, the hard part is getting back out of that happy-go-lucky-ness and back into a pattern of highly-energized motivation and productivity. Different priorities take over: a laundry list of every day life [including…well, laundry]. Packing and unpacking as we move into a new home, cooking three meals a day instead of grabbing a granola bar on my way out the door, setting up summer lessons, purging my closet [spring cleaning hit me late]…welcome to the mundane.

So how do you navigate the balance of “everyday life” with planning, organizing, and gearing up for whatever August/September brings?

Here are a few things that have helped me adjust to the different-ness of summer:

  1. get up early: make a cup of coffee, go for a walk or run, read a book, or plan your day. but don’t let 10 am roll around and still be scrolling through Instagram in bed! choose one or two days [hello weekend] to sleep in, but don’t let every day begin late.
  2. write a list: sometimes the list of seemingly insignificant “to-do”s is overwhelming. where to start?! write down a “master list” each week [which can be added to], and then each day, pick 5-8 things you WILL accomplish in that day. you can even put a few things “on deck” for the next day. prioritizing is everything!
  3. find a routine: it can be a weekly schedule, or even three things you want to do every single day. be consistent, whatever you choose. my three things every day are: practice piano, write in my journal, and get outside/enjoy nature. I’ve found that these are simple “tasks” I can rely on to engage my creative side, and replenish from the school months of pouring into my students.
  4. plan enrichment opportunities: whether it’s a conference, festival, or performance, I want to continue to grow as an artist, teacher, and person through the summer months. this extra “free” time allows for intentional moments away from the daily grind, while connecting with other musicians, writers, teachers, and entrepreneurs from around the world.
  5. schedule my fall: one of the things that helps me settle into summer is looking forward to September, and the teaching, traveling, and regular work routine that comes with a school semester.

What do you do to “stay on track” in the summer? Tell me in the comments!