This is definitely a busy time of the year as a teacher and performer. March seems like a great month to get large projects done. Soon there will be vacation plans and outdoor activities. Since the weather in New England tends to not be very nice this time of the year, it is easy to avoid outdoor distractions. The view outside lends itself well to icky, in-door chores that need to get done.

Icky is the operative word. Not fun but necessary tasks. However, it is also easy to take on extra responsibilities, thinking it will clear the way for more fun when the sun comes out again. I find myself saying yes to things I don’t really want to do and forget to schedule in relief time for myself. This lack of balance can lead to overwhelm.

I like the idea of tackling one issue at a time which is one of the tenets of the Suzuki method. As a new teacher, it was immensely helpful to both myself and my students to thread one concept throughout a lesson. During the lesson, the student experiences the concept through a variety of exercises and repertoire. Moreover, the student is presented with many opportunities to explore the topic and ask questions.

The teacher benefits from not having to pull so many games and brilliant ideas out of the proverbial Mary Poppins carpet bag. I actually had a student many years ago who said I was like Mary Poppins because I carried around such a bag. In the long run, more is accomplished by not trying to cram so much into the lesson. There are no lost opportunities. Both teacher and student come away from the lesson feeling fulfilled, creative and relaxed.

Ahhh… I already feel better. For myself, competition is another source of taking on too much responsibility. When I’m trying to keep up with the Jone’s, I put myself out there and try to be a superhero, better or at least as good as everyone else. I’m reminding myself that I’m just fine the way I am. No need to keep up with everyone else and participate in every conversation.

Watch out for extreme compliments, dramatic story telling, or overly animated behavior. I get easily pulled in by such things. Not playing “the game” leaves me temporarily lonely but lets me practice self care. I can ask myself what I really want and need in this moment.

Although this card refers mainly to musical issues, it is good practice for life. A great approach is what my yoga teacher says at the beginning of every class. “Create an intention for your practice today then release that intention.” Today I am chaperoning at an all day public school music festival. Although my main goal for this time is to write this blog post, what I really want and need is a self-care asana.

I had to miss yoga today. Later today after the festival, I will drive home in a snow storm and then check in on my 90 year mom. I am practicing self-care having asked for a comfortable place to sit where I can do my work. I had a nice conversation with a colleague and a very supportive parent. I also brought a nourishing lunch and a snack. I will try to remember to breathe today, then release that intention.

The Inspiration for Violinists card deck
This “one issue” card is part of a 50 card deck. Every card has a unique image and text inspiring musicianship, mindfulness and spirituality.

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