As I reflect on this past week, the one thing that stands out is my piano lesson with my teacher, Sofia Rosoff. I have spoken about Sofia in other posts but I can’t mention her enough. She has been my saving grace when it comes to the piano and finding the love of playing it again. Even with all my issues with my wrists, arms and thumbs, Sofia always finds a way to help me, to show me that I am on the right path to better playing. Even when I have barely practiced and I think that I am wasting both of our time together, I always leave the lesson learning a lot and of course feeling unbelievably inspired. Sofia’s optimism and encouragement really keep me going when I think things are going badly and with all the students old and new constantly coming through her door she still finds the time to give me a phone call when she is thinking about what would help with my health. I am grateful to have such a wonderful teacher in my life and my only regret is not meeting her twenty years ago!
Saw my family doctor (primary care doctor) and now it’s time for me to get into the best physical shape that I can be. Basically I have a weak back and my spine is having issues. I have very weak abdominal muscles due to pregnancy and a diastasis. On top of all the muscle issues, I have to lose as much abdominal fat as possible in order to prevent diabetes (hurray for me!) Apparently my Asian genes make me prone to getting it. Whenever I gain weight it goes straight to the stomach and that’s where the diabetes problem lies, in the belly fat. My doc recommends lots of low impact aerobic activity, strength training and pilates. When the hell am I gonna find the time to do that and try to practice, be a mom to a toddler and do other daily life things. Holy crap!!
Yesterday I saw a sports medicine doctor about my issues with my arms. His diagnosis was that I had repetitive strain injury. That seem to make a lot of sense but not sure from what other than picking up my son and just using my body badly. Anyways, the doc suggested that I start eating more omega 3 fatty acid and try to cut out sugar, dairy and gluten. This is kind of a tall order so I will see how it goes. I did like the approach this doc was taking by not going straight for the steroid shot. The diet change won’t show any results for a least a few weeks so we shall see.
The search for healing continues.
On a happier note, I started practicing the Chopin Etude 25 no. 12 again. It was awesome.
So I have been diagnosed with carpel tunnel, radial tunnel and tendonitis in both my arms, wrists and thumbs. This post will be brief since typing on a computer keyboard is not recommended for someone with my condition. Over the next little while, I will try to document my journey to heal myself and hopefully be in a better physical, mental and emotional state with this. Being a pianist and having this condition is incredibly upsetting especially since I have rediscovered the love of playing the piano again (thanks Sofia!)
I found this picture of myself and started to think about how my son will turn three next week. It’s hard for me to believe that I am a parent to a toddler and how this little person is constantly blowing my mind with his daily accomplishments.
Life as I know it now is so different from when I first moved to NYC. I am usually a night owl and love to hang late at night. I would go out and see music at least three or four nights a week plus play gigs and do a lot of hangin’ with my friends. I would play a session at least twice a week and I would practice voice and compose for hours. When I wasn’t music obsessed, I would spend hours in the kitchen making lots of food and trying out labour intensive recipes just for one meal. Ahhh, those were the days.
Now, if I stay up past midnight I need to recuperate for two days or so. I consider it a blessing when I can practice 45 minutes three days a week. I have a session about once every two or three months and I go out to see music about that much also. If a meal takes more than 30 minutes to make, I scratch it and thank goodness I did all that hanging with my friends in the past cause now I hardly get to see them. You would think that with this comparison why would anyone want to have kids or maybe you would think that having a family costs way too much of your time and money.
As I look back at these past three years, I can honestly say that yes, I miss hanging out, I really miss sleeping in, I would love to practice more and it would be nice to get out of my apartment for motives other than taking my son to preschool etc. But when my son starts talking, laughing, asking questions and getting excited about the adventures we will have together (imagined or real) and when he sighs with contentment when I sing him “In The Wee Small Hours” before bed and says “Mama, I love you,” I realize that there is pretty much nothing better for me. This doesn’t mean that I don’t want time for myself to do what I’d like but as I see my son growing older (and way too fast may I add), I don’t want to miss a second of it. Sounds so cliche and there is no other way to describe how I feel. I love being his mom and I can’t believe I waited so long to have this experience. I’m excited to see how my son grows up and of course all my virtues will be tested during that time. It is the best adventure I have ever been on and I am so happy to be a mother, it is the role of a lifetime.
Over the past year and a half, I have been studying piano with the amazing Sofia Rosoff. Sofia has rekindled the love that I had for playing the piano the way I did when I was a child. I never thought that the feeling would return.
All throughout my undergrad degree I was miserable and loathed playing the next piano class or lesson. I loved and still love music but performing on the piano was more a form of torture than joy. Today, I long for more time to practice (mostly because I’m a mom to a toddler and as you get older, life just seems to grab you by the short and curlies and yanks hard!) I am eager to try new pieces and face old ones but the best part is that I feel happy and excited when I sit at the piano. I feel inspired when I go to Sofia’s piano class every two weeks and I am always amazed that I never get nervous when I perform at class (a complete 180 from my undergrad days). Now, I do feel like a kid again when I sit down and play my Mozart, Schoenberg or Ellington. I’m just happy to be there. I’m so happy I’ve made up with my piano. I have missed it for a long, long time.
I am doing my first jazz gig where I can bring my son and not worry how late its going to go. I am doing a gig with my good friends Khabu (ukulele) and Mike McGinnis (bass clarinet) at Lark Cafe (1007 Church Ave, Brooklyn, NY), 4:00pm.
Lark is very child friendly with a little hang out room for the family (that’s where we’ll be playing). Toys for the kids and donuts and beer for the grown ups! This is also one of the only shows that I will exclusively sing jazz standards (something I haven’t done in years).
This is going to be fun.
Since last August, I have been studying with the incredible piano teacher, Sofia Rosoff. She is a remarkable woman. At 91 years old, she is sharp, wise, generous and awe inspiring. I haven’t been playing the piano seriously for more than 15 years, during which time I was working on my vocal skills. Now I feel ready to really start studying the piano and improving my skills as a pianist and musician from a hopefully better place than when I was a teenager and university student.
I like to call myself a recovering classical pianist. The constant psychological and emotional beatings I would give myself for never being good enough for the art form made me miserable. I loved to sing and enjoyed the lack of pressure I felt because I was an untrained vocalist and that I thought it wasn’t my first instrument. Now here I am, an improvising vocalist, working and living in NYC as a musician and I felt the call of the piano coming back to me. I use the piano for writing and practicing but I felt a yearning to really play the piano again.
Working with Sofia has given me new inspiration and longing to play the piano the way I’ve always wanted.
After two years of raising my beautiful little boy, I feel that now I can come back to performing with my own groups with more direction and excitement. And I hope that I will gain some new listeners along the way.
I am playing a show at the intimate music series Seeds in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn on Wednesday, April 25th at 8:30pm. I will be performing with a young Swiss bassist, Fabien Iannone and great ukulele/guitarist, Khabu Doug Young. Should be awesome. Hope to see some folks there. The Seeds series is located at 617 Vanderbilt Ave in Brooklyn.
Here it is, 2012. Wow! Already ten days in and it’s hard to believe that I have a toddler and I’m trying to get my music life back in gear. I think I said this last year but this year I’ve actually done something about it. My first show is happening on Friday, January 20th at Ibeam.
Yay for me!
I was delayed in my 100 push ups, 200 squats and 200 sit ups this past week due to the “stomach flu”. There is no such thing as the stomach flu but I did have a viral infection that effected my stomach and put me in bed for about two days. To top off the illness, I also got a migraine for three days. Getting a migraine was the most disappointing of the two illnesses because since my pregnancy and after the birth of my son, I haven’t had a migraine for 18 months. I had forgotten how brutal my migraines get and I was completely useless for more than two days.
Now I’m back (90% back) and will be getting on top of my new exercise goals.
It’s been four days into the new year and I’m trying to start it off right. It’s been tough getting to the gym. The snow cleaning in Brooklyn has been pretty sad and it makes traveling really difficult, especially with a baby. My doc says I need to bump up my exercise to get rid of the pre-diabetic status and to lower my cholesterol. I promised myself that I would return to the gym whenever the weather gets better (don’t care if it’s cold, just not snowy). To get me started on my new exercise regime, there are exercises that I can do at home that don’t require weights or machines.
Before I got pregnant I started doing the one hundred push ups. I was pretty good before the pregnancy (46 push ups in a five minute sitting). Now I am returning to the 100 push ups plus attempting the 200 squats and 200 sit ups. There are times when I think this is crazy but I am generally curious about what I am capable of achieving.
Today I did the initial test for the sit ups and yesterday I did the initial tests for the push ups and squats. Overall, I’m at an average ranking (thank goodness). Over the next several weeks I will increase my exercises and according to the plan, I should be able to do 100 push ups, 200 squats and 200 sit ups in six weeks. I think realistically it will be about twelve weeks. We’ll see if I have the will power to do this. I figure, if I can deal with hours of screaming from my son multiple nights in a row, a few push ups, squats and sit ups are a mere walk in the park. LOL
I thought I had it together when it came to sleep training my baby. When he was four months old, he was sleeping six to seven hours in a row. Everyone was saying, “wow that’s great”. About two months ago, he was sleeping eight to ten hours which is awesome right? Well as he got older, the sleeping had changed and when he got sick, it all went to hell.
At this current time, my son is ten months old and will only fall asleep if you put your hand on his chest and whisper to him. I thought that this was easy but now realize that he can’t soothe himself and at 2:30am it can be brutal to try and soothe him every 10 minutes for over an hour period. So now, my husband and I are trying fresh and seeing if we can train our little boy to self soothe and fall asleep on his own. We have tried to let him “cry it out” for the past two nights. It is devastating to hear your little one cry so hard. He’s pissed off, sad and confused and all I want to do is hold him and comfort him with my touch. Last night he cried for almost 90 minutes before he fell asleep and then at 11:30pm he cried for 20 minutes and then at 2:30am he screamed for almost an hour. The one thing I think I should have done last night was to see if he had a soiled diaper. Maybe he was just letting me know that he needed to be changed before he could settled down again (my son is a pretty good eater and he always eats a big dinner before bed). I think tonight I’m gonna check his diaper if he wakes up at 2:00am again.
I feel like I have been sleep training my boy for the past six months. Every couple of months he changes and things have to be modified and we need to adapt to his change.
Isn’t parenting grand!
Happy New Year!!
It’s now 2011 and I am astounded at how much has happened to me in the past year. Both happy and sad events have affected my life. I lost a friend and colleague very unexpectedly in a tragic cycling accident, my husband changed careers and started all over again from scratch (so proud of him) and the most life changing event for myself and Chris was having our first beautiful, baby boy!
It has been challenging becoming a mother and I have loved being one but I miss parts of my old life especially my musical life and I am trying to make my return to it. This year will be the journey to return to some creative life outside of motherhood. I hope that writing about it will help me keep focused on my goals.
Another goal for this year is to get my health back into shape. When I was pregnant, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I was shocked and upset but hoped that the condition would go away after my son was born. Well, ten months later, I am still pre-diabetic and now have high cholesterol from eating too much meat and cheese (Atkins you suck!) So now, I am working my way back to the healthy life I had or maybe improve it even more.
Hope you will follow along and help me on my journey to a better me.
I just bought the macrobiotic cookbook, Mayumi’s Kitchen. Going to try and detox myself. Joined my friends for a macrobiotic Thanksgiving and felt great. I was totally burnt out from turkey and I didn’t want to feel gross after gorging on Thanksgiving dinner. Will keep you posted on my progress. I hope to not only have more energy but lose a few pounds too!
This is a notice telling anyone who reads my blog that I am starting to return to my blogging life. I was never a regular writer but I feel like its time to get back to it. A lot has happen since the last post and I feel like it would be good for me to write about. Hope you check it out.
This is day three for my residency at Array Music with pianist Jacob Sacks. Jacob just completed two nights of solo piano performing all Thelonious Monk tunes. We complete Monk’s repertoire tonight. The audiences have been wonderful and Toronto has been great. Anyone in Toronto, come on down to Array!
Wednesday, October 21
The Music of Monk
Jacob Sacks – piano
Yoon Sun Choi – voice
60 Atlantic Ave
$15 adults, $10 students/seniors/artists
So I am finally in Toronto and totally psyched to be here. My friend and duo partner, Jacob Sacks and I are doing a residency at Array Music from Monday, October 19th to Friday, October 23rd.
Tonight Jacob Sacks will perform works by Thelonious Monk. Should be pretty awesome. He starts at 8:00pm. So anyone in the Toronto area, I hope to see you there.
Monday, October 19th, 2009
60 Atlantic Ave
Jacob Sacks solo piano
The works of Thelonious Monk
$15 adults, $10 students, seniors, artists
My friends, drummer Dan Weiss, pianist Jacob Sacks and bassist Thomas Morgan are in Toronto today doing an open master class at the University of Toronto today. If any of you have heard this trio and their compositions you should definitely take the opportunity to hear and see them. They are some of the best young musicians in New York. So you Torontonians get out there and check them out!
What: music clinic
Where: Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto
How much: free
Tonight I will be playing with my quartet at Local 269 in the east village/lower east side as part of the Evolving Voices Series. I’m really excited about this gig since it’s the first show since I got my green card (hurray!) I hope to see some friendly faces over there.
Here’s the skinny:
Tuesday, September 29th (tonight!)
Jacob Sacks – keyboard
Thomas Morgan – bass
Vinnie Sperrazza – drums
269 East Houston
at the corner of Suffolk Street
F train to Second Avenue