The Balancing Act

This season of my life has been about balance: while faced with the extremely difficult task of raising 3 young children and studying to become a jazz musician, I have found this to be the answer. It is a challenge because I am an all-or-nothing person. I know what it is to fully devote myself to a worthy endeavor; at times during high school, I threw myself into my flute playing and loved it. Jazz can easily be an immersion. There is always more to learn; you can always be transcribing a solo, listening to jazz, reading more history, and, of course, practicing. And there's a certain high that comes with devoting oneself to that type of learning, and thus, high rewards to be reaped.

But I digress. It is not possible for me to devote myself fully to jazz study at this point; no one is paying me to do so and to provide full-time child care for my kids. :-) And neither would I want them in someone else's care all day. But, as I have been getting to know myself more these past few months, nor would I be happy as an exclusively SAH (stay-at-home) mom, as they say in mom lingo. And, in case you're wondering, home schooling is NOT for me. :) 

Thus, BALANCE is the key. I have had to learn how to be a mom and focus on time with my kids when I am with them, not distracted by what I could be doing or practicing. And, conversely, to have focused practice time where I am not distracted by the kids. We've been able to set a few practical things in place to make this happen: moving our oldest from 3 days a week of preschool to 5, and enrolling our middle child in 2 days a week. It's a huge relief for me to have 2 mornings a week with just our 1-year-old (yes, she turned 1 a few weeks ago! What a milestone!) Then, one day a week, I have almost 2 hours to practice at my friend's studio while our babysitter is with the kids. Now, this I love! I'd love to do it more, but patience is the key, because one day they will all be in school and I'll have that kind of consistent practice time, and it doesn't do to wish away the days now when they are young and precious.....and trying, LOL. 

 

 
To conclude these thoughts, a Bible verse I was reminded of the other day really spoke to me, and I felt it applied to jazz learning as well. Mark 4:26-29: "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain - first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come." 

So...what encourages me so much is that whether awake or asleep - for me, insert "whether playing with kids or changing diapers, listening to Oscar Peterson while doing dishes, or - yes! - even sleeping," that seed is growing, and at the right time, will produce a harvest. :) Someday I'll be that professional jazz musician I aspire to be.

So, on a practical note, what is happening? I am in the audition and contract process for Beach Street and Town Center Virginia Beach entertainment for the summer of 2014. Woo hoo! Both are looking very promising, and I'm collaborating with other top jazz musicians for my Town Center gigs. It's going to be exciting! 

I continue to study with Jae Sinnett. It's so challenging to make your rhythm solid and swing legitimate, but he assures me I'm doing well and to keep working at it. 

I can't wait to see you all at some gigs! Thanks for letting me wax philosophical on this post! I'm sure other moms can relate - in America, we have the tools to fulfill the American dream, but still are charged with the honor and challenge of raising children, should we be blessed with them. 

Thanks and God bless!
 

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