Summertime is for Teachers! Taking Breaks Actually Creates Maximum Growth

Just look to nature, our great teacher. There's a time to reach hard and a time to repose, a time to breath in and a time to exhale.  Summertime is that time for teachers . One week down, on my official summer break and I am indeed taking it easy. And I'm enjoying it very much. I've been taking more time and care in my meals, getting more sun and exercise, and working on music - all good things!

I also love to use this time to think back on the year, pondering on what went right and what could be improved on, not just with teaching but with gigs and composing - and managing my schedule.  Having space from the hustle gives me perspective and clarity.

This is one of the many reasons that taking breaks is an important part of being a successful contributor to society. Many of us are truly motivated to give all we can right now. But going 110% all the time, doesn't actually bring the best results. The right balance of work and play is needed to create maximum productivity.

I see this all the time with my students. Often we work all year on certain concepts that are just out of reach. Then after a nice summer break, they come back on top of that skill. Easy peasy now. No, they weren't working on it - as many confess, some not even playing much piano during summer at all. But it must have been marinating in their brains somehow.  All the work we did just needed a bit of space to culminate and settle. This is my interpretation at least. I call it a quantum leap and I've seen it time and time again. I often liken it to the quantum leaps we find in nature everywhere, in how things grow and form.  Suddenly, that 8th electron fills the sub atomic ring and it's a new element....  I might be a bit rusty on this quantum stuff:)  But who has time to brush up on particle physics these days?

Instead, I'm filling my free time with studying jazz again, hard core.  I'm work on standards for Pianogroove's video tutorial website, creating great arrangements to accompany vocalist.  I'm also doing a loads of composing, and excited  to collaborating with a fantastic producer, Colin Hua. I'm aiming to be as prolific as possible this summer, in song generation and production, since I have tons of them just floating around in my head and heart. 

This might sound like lots to do, and not a break at all, but trust me, it's all on a different pace than the way I work thru the school year, when I try balance all this + teaching:) That's the NYC hustle for ya!

I also plan to use the summer for professional improvement.

Later in the month, I'll be taking Voice level 1 at the Linklater Institute.... something I've dreamed up since before I even moved to NYC over 6 years ago. I was awarded the Knutsen Grant by the Brooklyn Conservatory to pursue this continuing education and I expect to have my world blow open by entirely new approaches to the voice. This institute is legendary for training not only musicians but many actors to empower their true voice.

As for this weekend - I'm headed to the Catskills for an absolute heavenly weekend, learning of a topic that FASCINATES me ... Sound Healing Techniques. This immersive workshop is taught by Katie Down and Jessica Caplan, absolute pioneers in this field! We'll be in the great teacher - Nature herself  - to learn more about the natural healing properties of music. And since we'll be doing 2 sound baths (meditations centered in sound), I'm certain that I'll experience some profound healing myself; in addition to learning how to make my own music more powerful in this right.

You know I want to help the earth, the people I see in need everyday! I want to live my purpose full on... but I also know I need to chill out a bit - in order to do my absolute best! 

So cheers to summertime y'all!  This is for my students too... Hope you are getting some rest and doing more of what you love. It's better for us all in the long run, as we restore our natural rhythm.

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