Scales and Stretches

The past few weeks have the first few weeks in years when I haven't had any lessons, taken any auditions, or had anything that I had to practice for. I thought it would be stressful- that I'd feel unmotivated, get out of shape, or feel like I was losing steam professionally. Instead, it's been remarkable. I finally have time to practice all of the things I was assigned in undergrad!

Being in charge of my own musical life has been liberating and motivating in the most unexpected ways. Whereas I never seemed to have the time or willpower for etudes in school, I suddenly find that they are the most stabilizing force in my musical life. Seattle's grey days are perfect for heating up a pot of tea, putting on your slippers, and spending as much time as you need on scales, or vibrato, or sound, or whatever it happens to be that day. 

Instead of thinking, "Crap I need to keep up with all of this stuff," I've come to appreciate my warmups like the first good stretch of the day. Not just when you open your eyes or step out of bed, or even your first yawn. Warmups are when you stand up on your tippy-toes, reach out your arms, extend your fingertips waaaayyy up into the air, and inhale so deeply that it nearly cracks your back. Just like that stretch prepares us for the day's activities, scales and etudes make me feel prepared to play anything.