We’ve gotten slammed here in Chicago with the first really big snowfall of the season. This kind of thing used to strike terror into my very core as I envisioned the slipping and sliding that I would be doing on rural Wisconsin back roads, commuting hundreds of miles between disparate locations in the frozen and forbidding tundra.
Nowadays, I have a different outlook on the snowy season. I’m sitting nice and cozy at home in front of my computer, the cats hanging out and Courtney working in the other room. I worked out of the house today, teaching some students and playing a gig, but I worked in my neighborhood, not 100 miles away.
Quitting many of my out-of-town commitments has turned out to be something of a blessing in disguise. Other work has replaced this jettisoned work, and this new work is inevitably closer to where I live, of higher artistic quality, and pays at a much better scale. Ironically, I now find myself enjoying the business much more after trying so hard to quit this life and not really wanting to quit at all. My gigs keep getting better, my teaching studio keeps increasing in quality, and the contacts I’ve made spending less time on the road have created new opportunities tat I could never have anticipated 18 months ago. Trying to quit this business may in fact have been the best move I’ve ever made!
I do have some long schleps coming up on the horizon, though. I’ll be playing the Nutcracker with the Milwaukee Ballet (I’m fast approaching my tenth season with this ensemble). Thinking of this upcoming engagement can’t help but remind me of last year’s story titled Massive Musical Disaster in the Nutcracker Pit. I’ve since learned to disguise the particular ensemble that I’m writing about a little better, but the cat’s long out of the bag on this one, so check it out for a lighthearted little tale about a classic embarrassing moment for a particular harpist!
Thoughts of upcoming wintry drives also make me think of my older post Freelancing + Snow = Pain. My first December freelancing remains my single worst month in the business. Click here to find out why.
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