Chinese New Year and Fresh Starts

Really, it’s a double-new-year – a lot has happened with me in one month’s time.  Collin and I had some honest discussions about school and what we’d need to get ready to do this and what possible effects there would be.  Notably, my grandmother-in-law who lives in a granny suite in our house.

If life were a little simpler, there would some simple answers to going to school and keeping the house – rent it out.  Heck, not even keeping the house!  We love, truly.  But there are lots of properties out there that would interest us and that would have interesting growth potential (hobby farms, for one).  Anyhoo … a subject for another time.

Quitting my full-time job for school would be life-altering for both of us.  So how about this possibility:  taking a leave from work and doing an intensive two- or three-month study course.  And building to something bigger next year – maybe school, who knows.

So after this honest and thought-out discussion between the two of us, I dreamed up this:  take a two-to-three-month leave from work and do an intense study with a teacher to learn the RVW concerto and work on orchestra rep.  I think of this in a totally positive light.  Part of going pro is getting this concerto performance-ready and having all the major orchestral rep ready to go.  Taking this leave would give me time to practice just about every day.  And the timing of this could be good — get the concerto ready for the Fall to play it for people from Orchestra Toronto and propose I play it in our 2013-14 reason.  I’d also play it in Haliburton for either concerts in our 2012-13 season (or create a reason to play it in recital locally).

I also had some discussions with a few professionals about tuba careers.  I didn’t get a “don’t do it Dan – this won’t work for you” (who would say that, really?) and I didn’t get “this would be a fantastic move for you, Dan – go for it!”  I did get something in the middle ranging between “don’t you have a good job?”, “it’s a tough, competitive business” and “you’ve got a great passion for music and you’ve got a great thing setup now between your passion and your job – a career in music will introduce a grind that’ll take away some of that passion”.

Don’t get me wrong, I did get some great encouragement.  I’m a good tuba player for a guy who has a full-time non-musician job.  I spend a lot of my spare time practicing and I get lessons when I can – and I try to make the best out of both of those things.

Friends of mine generally have the message of “wow! going back to school – good for you!”.  Though, I’m sure they private ask themselves “yikes – a career switch with a mortgage” (my team lead at work said so).

[As I write this, I’m overhearing the new Oprah show with George Lucas saying “follow what you are most passionate about and that will make you the most successful. don’t listen to anyone – your parents, authority figures, or society.”  Did Steve Jobs not say that too in a commencement speech?  You see the conflict I’m living?  I’m a *VERY* logical guy (Virgo sign) who’s passionate to heck about music.  WTF, eh?]

It was also suggested to me to check out Domaine Forget or the Pokorny Low Brass Seminar.  Both Summer “camps” for musicians.  Domaine Forget is very appealing – two weeks of tuba playing with a resident teacher (Lance Nagels from the Quebec Symphony) with masterclasses from Oystein Baadsvik and Rex Martin.  Teaching, residence and food are included in a single price (which is how I would LOVE to run the Highlands Brass Academy).  How could I go wrong?

But also, I’m looking for how to do this two- or three-month intensive.  Nick is fine with periodic lessons, but he’s spending as much of his time in BC as possible.  Same with Sasha because he’s only in Toronto for short stints and spends most of his time in Montreal.  I’m going to talk with Sal Fratia as well and see what he thinks of this idea.

I don’t really want to split the concerto coaching between multiple teachers because I don’t want conflicting instruction as I’m learning it.  I would rather focus with a single teacher to get the concerto to the finish line.  After that, seeking some comparative coaching from others would be very useful.

Ok – that’s lots for now.  I’ve gotta get back to my day job.

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