How I spend the off-season

Being a professional musician can be a 7-day-a-week, 365-days-a-year job. Schedules are unpredictable and can range from rehearsals in the mornings and afternoons to performances in the evenings, with practicing in between. My orchestral season is September-May, and my summer festival job is late June-late July, so by the time August rolls around I am ready for a break.

This time of year is typically the slowest for musicians, as there is not a lot of work available. Most of us use that time to rest and recuperate, visit friends and family, travel, do home improvement projects, or any number of other things we don’t have time for once the orchestral season gets into full swing.

I plan to take two weeks off from playing the harp, as I usually do each summer. I need the mental and physical break from the instrument. Once I start playing again it will take me a little while to get back into shape. It’s amazing how, even though I have been playing this instrument on a near-daily basis for four decades, coming back from a 2-week vacation can feel like I’m starting the instrument from scratch. I’ll spend some time playing exercises and etudes slowly, and then I’ll start putting together all the orchestral and chamber music I will need to get in my fingers over the next few months.

My husband and I just spent some time visiting our families in North Carolina, and now that we are back home we will embark on some home improvement projects. Some projects are larger (painting the inside and outside of the house) than others (re-caulking the bathtub). I have spent countless hours researching and watching youtube videos to learn how to do some of these projects and am feeling cautiously optimistic about my level of handiness. Luckily, our contractor and handyman lives just a few blocks away, so if I really get into trouble he can come over and fix whatever I’ve messed up, lol. I am also training to run my fourth marathon in January, so I get up super early to get my training runs in before it gets too hot out. I’m also making sure to spend time reading and relaxing, which is not difficult for me.


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