where wildly different is perfectly normal
I’ve been Mahlered!
I’ve been Mahlered!

I’ve been Mahlered!

I’m playing in the Colorado Mahlerfest again this year. It’s the only gig I play a year, so I appreciate being able to play. I’ve been playing in the orchestra for nine years, minus a couple of years when I was politicked out. Oh, and I missed last year due to strep throat.

I’m really enjoying it this year. A lot. That surprised me. For the last several years, since 1999 at least, I haven’t enjoyed playing. Yeah, that’s a long dry spell. Lots of things happened that year. My mentor, Max, died. I got my master’s degree and finally finished school (almost completely burned out). I went back to teaching middle school band, which was probably a huge mistake. I pretty much closed my flute case and went on with my life. I still played and taught lessons, but the fire wasn’t there. Then A was born in 2001 and with an active kid, it went downhill from there. Add another kiddo in 2004 and my fate was sealed. I was a “former professional musician”, now a stay at home mom. Gave up the music to raise kids. Happens all the time, I just never thought it would happen to me. The burnout/losing Max really started me down that road, having kids finished it. I would go to rehearsals, or go teach, and not really want to be there. I didn’t particularly want to be back at home, I think I would have prefered to be somewhere where nothing was required of me, where I could go brain-numb, maybe sleep or read a book or just do nothing. I think (crossing my fingers, hoping I’m not jinxing myself) I may be past that. I’ve been looking forward to rehearsals. I’ve actually been enjoying rehearsals (granted, I don’t play a whole lot, being 3rd flute, so I get to read during the extreme rests and tacets {meaning to rest so long the publisher isn’t bothering to put in measures to count}). I’m having fun again. It’s been a long, long time.

I’ve been looking ahead in my life. And I think the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t an oncoming train. A is calmer with his ADHD meds (though it’s still a work in progress). J will start speech therapy soon and I’ll be able to understand him. Next fall I’ll have 3 mornings a week all.to.myself. That will be so nice. And I will pick up my flute more. I want to go to a flute masterclass next summer. A week of playing and listening and getting my groove back. I miss the me I was when I played a lot. I can see life getting a bit easier and allowing me to play more. Being a musician is so inherently selfish that I’ve decided it is damned near impossible to combine that with being a full-time mom. I have yet to find a woman who could do it and if/when I find her, I will throw myself at her feet and congratulate her heartily. It’ll probably be as she’s being dragged off to the nuthouse, but you never know.

And as an aside…OH MY GOD IT’S GOING TO SNOW AGAIN. Fourth storm in as many weeks. Subzero temperatures, snow amounts ranging from 1-12 inches, freezing rain…can this be over now, please? Or at the very least, can someone please book me on the next plane to Maine? I hear it’s warm there.


  1. theotherbear

    I’ve been lurking on your blog for a while. Consider myself now de-lurked 🙂

    This post I could relate to a little as I used to be a muso and got so burned out I put my trombone down, never to pick it up again. Now the most I do is plunk away on the piano or guitar. Sometimes I have regrets but not too often these days.

  2. Me

    Music is so deeply ingrained in your soul (since you were 4?), you will go back to it. And it will be just for YOU! (Although we do like hearing you play.) Danny Boy is a good example! It made your heart hurt, it was so beautiful.

    And, by the way, could I put in an request for NO SNOW next week? I’m enjoying winter in Chicago, although the temperature is heading south this weekend. I certainly don’t want to get snowed out of Chi-town.

  3. CursingMama

    Do not come to MN – whatever you do. Do not be tempted by my company & the pouring of tequila – it is -400 degrees here. I will take snow if you will take cold.

    I will even stay home with my children willingly as a gesture of good will.

    I think my brain froze – I need more tequila.

    PS – glad your tooting your flute again…it says a lot that you’re finding the enjoyment in it again…Change 😉

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