The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that there is a rather large gap between my last blog and my most recent one this year. I wasn’t being lazy. I was being busy working towards fulfilling a dream. I was also battling with some mental health issues, but more on that in another blog.
Music has been a massive part of my life since forever. I had music playing all around me from birth. Dad would play lots of music around my crib, and whilst it wasn’t deafening or too loud he didn’t play it quietly if I was sleeping. I found music infectious and loved singing and dancing to it. When I was about four or five years old my grandad, and later dad, would help me learn tunes on a keyboard instrument. I was self taught on piano and didn’t have my first piano lessons until I was 13. I had guitar lessons at the age of eight but I didn’t like being forced to practise, so didn’t and as a result the lessons stopped.
As I became more proficient I enjoyed writing and arranging music, purely for my own entertainment and enjoyment. I’m no Mozart, but my earliest piece was probably thrown together at about the age of 6. As I grew older my involvement in music got deeper and eventually, at college, I started a choir and played for ensembles. From about the age of 16 I wanted to conduct an orchestra and choir. From about the age of 18 I wanted my own choir and orchestra. However, I kept being asked to conduct or play for other groups; which is great fun, but was slowly pushing my dream further and further away.
COVID - A Blessing In Disguise
The global pandemic knocked us all sideways. Many businesses (mine included) struggled. As I lost more and more students and I couldn’t bring myself to do Life Coaching online (part of me regrets that now) I found myself with more time on my hands. I took up walking challenges to get me out of the house (I walked just under 1000 miles in 2020). By the time we reached Lockdown number 2 my brain was looking for things to occupy itself; after all there was only so much banana bread I could make (and eat). Ideas started formulating. Discussions started happening. Could this really happen?
I tried to get more work but very few people were prepared to give online lessons a try (even though I’d invested in a top-notch system) and I wasn’t prepared to see people face to face even though the country was trying to reopen. This gave me a lot of free time so I started thinking about the possibility of actually starting my orchestra and choir. It wasn’t going to happen overnight but I knew that I needed to get planning for it to be a success. I was confident that the Lockdown’s would be a thing of the past eventually and the country would soon get back to some form of adjusted familiarity.
Everything Else On Hold
After nearly a year of trying to be creative writing blogs, and trying my hand at Vlogs, I just found that I didn’t have the energy any more. It is perhaps a little ironic that my last post was about despondency. I started to feel like a fraud. How could I possibly help people and coach people in life if mine was such a mess?! I realised (eventually (months later)) that BECAUSE I had gone through it all I could help from a first hand experience. Besides, I’m only human so I’m going to go through rough patches. Throwing myself into planning for the launch of the orchestra kind of kept me going…even though I didn’t know whether it was actually going to take off.
My teaching, with the exception of five people, had all but stopped. I had no other clients so it just made sense that my energy be put into trying to fulfil a dream. I knew what my first concert was going to as it had been on my bucket list since I was 18. All I needed now was a place to rehearse, a venue to perform in…and some players and singers! I was able to think back over all the experiences I’d had playing for and conducting other groups and I recalled all the things that didn’t sit comfortably with me during the rehearsals or performances. This gave me an impetus of what NOT to do - which is just as important I believe.
Finding A Balance
I am a very passionate person. Everything I turn my hand to I commit to 100%. I did feel a little bad for leaving my Life Coaching business hanging, but the truth was I wasn’t sure how I could develop it properly…something with which I still struggle if I’m honest. However, I know I’m being called to do it, so I’ll keep plodding on in the hope the inspiration will suddenly hit me. As we left the world of Lockdown and the country started opening up again I was met with another obstacle to my working life…the cost of living crisis. Everything I offer could be classed as a luxury and so it stands to reason that given the choice of eating or having a music lesson - the food comes first.
The end of 2022 gave me what could be considered as more obstacles the biggest of them being an enforced house move. However, I’m trying to be philosophical about it all and rather than treating them as obstacles, they are stepping stones to something better. I may end up in a new location and I look forward to the challenge of getting new students, new clients, and rebooting my orchestra and choir. In the meantime I’m going to work very hard to make sure I can achieve all I need and want to achieve without running myself into the ground, or spreading myself too thinly, which is always a danger.
Whilst a part of me felt guilty for dropping my startup ball with the Life Coaching the majority of me felt proud for using the time to fulfil a dream. It’s all about seizing opportunities and making the most of things that come your way. It would have been too easy to just eat cake, go for walks and wait for the world to open up again; but that’s not me. I knew that I’d loathe myself if I did that. I’m proud that I made the most of the time available to me and started my orchestra. I’m equally proud that things have been successful with this new venture and I’m confident that they will get better and better. I stopped calling it a dream and turned it into a plan….and you can too!