So much to do, so little time…

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So much to do, so little time…

Monday, 09 June 2014

The year has flown! A week ago, I saw pictures galore of friends and colleagues donning their gowns and hats and carefully chosen outfits for that (hopefully) steady walk across the stage to collect their degrees. Then I thought, hang on, that was me a whole year ago!

Like a lot of people I know, I always amaze at how time seems to both fly and drag simultaneously. I truly can’t believe that a whole year has passed since my incredible visit to Niagara Falls, yet I feel so different to how I was just after graduating, so much more than a year older. I remember hating that ever-present question, “So what will you do next?” – do?! I don’t even know which country I’m going to live in!

When I was offered the job at the Royal Academy of Music in the Registry office, I was so excited. I finally had a plan, a plan that had been entirely of my own creation and one that would enable me to answer that dreaded question I know is still imposed on those poor final year students (including by yours truly). I would have a job that I enjoy (most of the time!), and time in the evenings and weekends to practise, teach and figure out a goal or path for my harp playing. Some weeks would probably be better than others. Last week was a bit of a bust, but I still think it’s pretty impressive that I managed to teach 5 lessons and re-learn half of Ballade Fantastique in a week where (on top of my normal 35 hours week) I also moved house and worked 11 hours straight one day. My biggest struggle throughout the year though has been the horrified reaction of those who know me as a harpist, who don’t seem to appreciate the reality I’m faced with: bills and rent.

Having been away from the UK for two years and never lived in London, it was never realistic for me to just move here to be a freelance musician, even if that’s what I really wanted to do (which I’m not entirely convinced it is). Since moving to London, I’ve only done one solo concert here. Yet, it was one of my most successful performances ever. After a long day at work, getting lost at Moorgate (what is it with that area?!) and trying to compose myself to perform a 50 minute recital to the harshest critics of all (harp students), I’d like to think that I passed the test with flying colours. I relished in sharing my musical ideas and having the confidence in my understanding of the music to perform having had no lessons or coachings. I was glad to be able to play the pieces I wanted to play, to give my silly anecdotes and to prove myself through my performance.

And there I think I get to the crux of the matter: proving myself. I think there is a common mentality that if you are in an administrative position, you’ve given up on your performing career. Courtney Blackwell, the Director of Career Services at Juilliard, had mentioned in one way or another the same mentality about New York – that people often felt they weren’t successful if they didn’t ‘make it’ in New York. Maybe that was the reason I found it so difficult to leave. Well, I’m telling you, I’m not giving up. I may not be in the spotlight right now, but that was never what it was about for me. Performing isn’t my thing. Music making is. I’m still playing, appreciating my music and looking for the next project that’s going to whisk me into another of my workaholic frenzies. So watch this space!

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