Month: October 2013

Balance

Balance

I am struggling with the concept of balance. As I get older, when I crouch down to my son’s level to talk or hang out with him, I stand up and feel the entire world spinning and I wonder if I might pass out. It has been happening now since my son was born. Not sure what it means but I guess that’s a question for my doctor. But that’s just one type of balance that I struggle with.

I am a pianist and a vocalist or am I a vocalist and a pianist? I am constantly wondering what should come first. Why should it matter? I grew up as a pianist because I took formal lessons and I got a BMus in music with piano as my main instrument. I took a long break from playing the piano and now have returned with wonderful new enthusiasm. I came to NYC as a vocalist (with another BMus with voice as my main instrument) and most of my colleagues know me as a vocalist and my closest friends and most trusted musical colleagues know I do both. This whole explanation seems long winded but it is to show you the daily internal struggle I have of how I identify with myself. These days I am more obsessed with practicing the piano than singing yet I have to remind myself that I have a recording session for my upcoming release in three weeks which requires me to practice my craft as a vocalist as well. I don’t know how some musicians do it. Some are just so talented that they can concentrate on both instruments and maintain a high caliber at all times. I envy those folks. I also truly admire the person who can find that balance of career and parenting. This is the one I find hardest to figure out. You would think I would have some notion after three years but quote honestly, I am as clueless as I was when my son was born.

Working on a career is hard, period. Working on a musician’s career…even harder (in my opinion). Not only do you need to maintain your craft, you want to get better at it and then on top of that you should perform and do PR, marketing, teach etc. I found all of that challenging when I was single, and I then had way more time on my hands. Now with a family I wonder how anyone can do it. I consider it a blessing when I can practice one instrument for 30 minutes every day. Where does all the other stuff come in? Maybe it’s because some folks work super hard while they are single or with no family and create enough of a name that when it comes time to have a family, it isn’t as hard to gear back up. I love being a mom and wife and I love being a musician. Trying to do all of it seems to be the big mystery to me. I know there are lots of people with different types of careers that go through the same challenges and anyone out there with some great advice on this subject, I am all ears.

I wish I could find that happy balance with my life. I know what I want but I am not quite sure how to achieve it. Most of the time I am feeling in the dark. People have advised things like, practice early in the morning if you can (who wants to bloody well sing at 7am and who wants to hear that? Not me!) This really sounds like complaining and maybe it is a little but more than anything it is me admitting that I really have no idea what I’m doing and it’s ok to admit that. Wish I knew better though.

Me and Pilates

Me and Pilates

On Monday, I had my first private Pilates lesson. I never thought I would see myself spending the money on a private lesson and especially Pilates. I am a boot camp kind of girl. I like to sweat and work hard. After I got carpel tunnel and sprained my ankle last year, all the boot camp classes were history. I can no longer do push ups without suffering for days and of course there’s always the time factor. My main motivation for these private sessions is that after having a baby three years ago, I always look like I’m in my second trimester of pregnancy. Yes, I have the permanent mummy tummy or the scientific word is diastasis recti. Diastasis Recti is when your abdominal muscles are split in half and your internal organs are staying in with a thin layer of tissue (sounds gross and frightening, I know). Anyways, I thought I could just live with it but have now realized that it is starting to affect my singing. That’s where Pilates comes in.

Without going into real detail, my instructor gave me a variety of exercises with and without the Pilates machines. I had to focus on breathing and pulling my navel to the back of my spine and feel my hips being pulled in together. I also had to visualize working my pelvic floor. all of these things are essential for me to get my strength back for singing and chasing after my kid.

My first assessment on Pilates is that you definitely work your core. I feel satisfied by the fatigue and tightness I feel around my abdominal muscles. My instructor was not as sensitive to my carpel tunnel as I hoped but I promised myself to be more vocal about any stain or discomfort in the future. I go for my second class next week and I hope to have an even better experience. So far I give Pilates a B+.

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