Hello, it’s your neighborhood workaholic here… to provide some updates.

First and foremost, I’VE GRADUATED WITH MY MASTERS!!!

That is supposed to feel exciting, but I am finding that I have more stressed out with what that means for the future. A lot of major life changes have been snowballing since April 2021 so let’s recap.


April 2021

In the month of April, I started by preparing for my final Masters’ recital which was a major undertaking and thankfully all went to plan 🙂

However, shortly after that performance my childhood cat’s health was rapidly declining. She had just entered the Senior cat life state, and already had some pre-existing issues from earlier in the year. So with the high of the final Masters’ recital came the low of having to say goodbye to my best friend.

Then, only several days after that began the treacherous journey I am now with housing.

May 2021

Halfway through my undergrad, my family moved into the house I have been staying in up to present. When the pandemic hit in early 2020, there tensions prompted some drastic life changes that bring us to present day.

I’ll be the only family member remaining in state – obviously I have new and old friends, colleagues, and support systems here – but it means that I have been navigating finding housing alone.

Which may not seem like a huge deal to most people – understandably so – in my case however, I have had to face what weakness I am bringing into rental applications as a recent graduate student, with minimal job experience, pending job, and I’m under 25. I think it is important to share this experience because I hear a lot of people say to me “just ask your parents” or “get a financial advisor” but this is with the assumption that I was in the privileged financial spot to begin with. Thus being the one that has to advocate for myself is a tough transition that I am currently navigating as I continue to search for a new home.

So basically…

I have been working really hard to advocate for myself. I’ve been teaching, securing summer work, applying to job positions for the new school year, practicing when the stress isn’t debilitating, and if I’m lucky remembering to have fun or engage in self-care.

I hope to hear positive news in regards to housing and getting a full-time job for next school year would also be fantastic.

For now, I am just continuing the grind. For weeks I have been hearing people say “oh once you’re an adult things never settle, there will never be a good time so just keep… blah blah blah”. I am tired. They say that moving is the most stressful thing in a person’s adult life; however, the type of person I am is excited, but the hard part is just securing a place with the unfortunate position I am in. Things will settle, the work isn’t the challenge for me it is the instability of not knowing where I will be in 2 weeks or a month’s time.

Once I have gotten that stability as I know (or at least hope) they will I will be back to regular posting.

After your first year of undergrad, there is an abundance of time to practice (not). However, there is more allocated time to practice, and efficiently using this time to practice is a skill that is most useful post-grad.

In this week’s entry I will set a baseline for general practicing habits as a college student (from both the perspective of undergraduate and graduate) and then the transition to full time teaching whether that be private lessons or public school.


Collegiate Practice Time

Undergraduate:

As an undergraduate student, there is a fairly inflexible block schedule that your practice time has to fit into. Gen Eds, Core Requirements, Lessons, Ensembles, Electives….

As far as practice time goes, it is more or less built into your schedule as “free time”.

This time gets spent on lesson material (scales, etudes, repertoire), ensemble repertoire and chamber music. There isn’t much time for exploration and playing things outside of school music aside from part-time gigs.

Graduate:

Towards the last year of undergrad, but more so during graduate studies, there is A LOT more “free time”. Classes run into the night – if you are working part or full time that may vary how much time you have allotted to practice. However, this variability leaves a few open ended questions:

  1. How much time do you need to practice? School material? Outside school?
  2. What do you practice? What are you working towards?

Grad school is where you have the freedom to hone whatever skills you prioritize.

One of the secrets of adulting 101 that most graduate students and full-time workers will tell you is that you have to schedule a social life. The same becomes true for practicing. If you don’t make time for it, it can slip through the cracks and before you know it you have missed a week a practicing.

There is not set # of practice hours. Everyone is different: work/school schedules, physical and mental health, upcoming projects, etc. However, being consistent and seeing through that you practice when you tell yourself you are going to practice. As well as having a plan for what you want to get better at each time you play – or if you are playing for fun (set time aside for that as well!) – but those times that you are practicing to journal it and reflect every week or so on the small achievements you’ve made.


Post-Grad – Working Full Time:

When you are teaching, the freedom that you had in graduate school is altered. Life changes, workload, etc. However, the key differences is now you are in the driver’s seat. Without regular lessons, you have the freedom to decide how you practice and maintain your skills.

Preparing and planning lessons – ideally you would be working on the repertoire your students are doing, so any personal projects are put on hold to review and refresh for teaching.

Finding balance between maintaining personal goals versus teach goals can vary; and it is important to model a viable career that blends both teaching and personal growth.


How do you practice? Let me know in the comments below!