I really love the end of the year. Looking back over past events and thinking about the future always makes me feel hopeful. This year, however, I feel more optimistic than usual.
This could be for several reasons, but my take is that this will be a year of milestones for me:
- I turn 40 in October
- I've completed my Master's coursework and will "walk" this Spring
- One of my best gurus, David Liebman, will be conducting his 25th Saxophone Masterclass (I attended his 10th). This will be a "reunion" class and I WILL attend this.
But, I am tempering my optimism with a sense of deficiency. Looking at others in my peer group, I still feel like I am "behind". My playing and my writing all seem like they are behind where they could be. In that spirit, I am using some of the milestones above to focus some of my artistic work and projects for the upcoming year.
Speaking first about Lieb's Masterclass. When I left his class, I was very focused on what I needed to work on. Over the last several years, that focus has really widened - I think prematurely - beyond the principles that he gave me. In preparation for going back to him this Summer, I am focusing my practicing back to the principles that I got from him. Mastery of sound and technique as well as the assimilation of primary sources through transcription. I'm putting everything else on hold and dealing with my instrument and transcribing for the next several months. Eventually, I'll work some writing back into my routine, but I need to really narrow my focus to prepare for the masterclass.
With regard to my MM being completed, I have some decisions to make academically. DMA? If so, do I start right away or take some time. I am inclined to take some time, both to focus on the work detailed above and because the balance of academic work with my responsibilities to Navy Music was an incredible challenge during my Master's work. I'm not sure I can split my brain into that many horcurxes again. Also, having had a look "behind the curtain" of academia as a teaching fellow I have some thinking to do about my future in that world.
As far as turning 40 goes, I do feel the need to mark this event somehow. I wonder if the time is right to make a serious recording towards the end of this year.
Looking back over the past year leaves me a little disappointed with my artistic growth. I am most optimistic about the potential for more growth this year.
Happy New Year to all!