OMG ... what do you mean you haven't practised for ten days?
The dreaded judgement on how much you practise. Cos it's totally someone else's problem if you haven't even opened your case for a few days isn't it? *EYE ROLL*
Let's talk about coming back to practise after a break. There always seems to be a bit of an issue when you tell someone you haven't practised for a while, kinda like when the class brain says they haven't revised for their GCSE's and you all smile and nod and absolutely don't believe them. But what happens when you're not fibbing and you actually haven't done any work? Aside from sounding like I've never held a clarinet in my life and aimlessly flapping my fingers for the first five minutes, I'm a HUGE believer in practise breaks. Sometimes because there just isn't time, sometimes because i've got more interesting things to do, and sometimes because I want a bloomin' break. It's a divisive opinion- for some people it hinders them and for some it's hugely refreshing. Safe to say i'm the latter, I always sound tons better and generally have more freedom in my sound. I'm not getting in to how and why right now though, I'm here to chat about what happens post break and why i'm planning on staying in 'holiday mode' for as long as I can manage.
I just got back from ten days in Cuba. Ten whole days of exploring, snoozing, drinking rum and listening to people from all walks of life play and dance salsa and rumba. Dreamy.
I also have a big audition in 16 days and nearly a month without a single day off. Ha.
Did I think that going away for so long before such a busy period of playing was the best idea? Nope.
Now I'm home, do I think it was the best idea? YES.
Let me tell you why:
I am the worst culprit for worrying/getting stressed/feeling inadequate/over thinking. And so, naturally, when an audition for something serious comes up, I have to work harder to battle those demons. I'm ok with that, but it is tiring.
I arrived back at London Heathrow on last Monday, my suitcase was nowhere to be seen and I hadn't slept since Saturday night. Recipe for foul tempered and overtired Abi right there. I'd already had a mini meltdown about how much I had to do and how busy my week was within an hour of landing back in the UK, and remained grumpy for the rest of the evening. This wasn't how I was meant to feel post holiday! I should be relaxed and still living that #beachlife vibe. So I decided that i'd force myself into it, prove to everyone how relaxed I was after the holiday i'd been banging on about for months (sorry mates).
People in Cuba just aren't in a rush. There's zero power-walking or eye contact avoidance on the daily commute, and it made me realise just how long i've been in turbo mode. So, since I got back, I've decided to try slowing everything down. Walking, getting ready, eating breakfast, and the way I practise. Literally every part of my life. I KNOW this sounds wacko but it's been a game changer for me. Taking a fraction more time in everything I do has allowed my brain to process everything in way more detail and i'm finding day-to-day Abi, especially my practise, is way more productive. My days seem to last longer and I have lots more energy, so nothing seems as daunting as it used to. The overwhelming sense of pressure about the next month has disappeared, and I feel much more able to take everything as it comes now. I'm even kinda excited each time I get stuck into my excerpts because there's no sense of urgency to get it all learned ASAP. I'm really diggin it.
Who knows how long i'll be able to stay in 'holiday mode' but i'm going to try it for as long as I can. Maybe I can use it as an excuse to book my next adventure sooner than I thought?! But I know for sure i'm much more productive when everything is that fraction slower, if only the out of office could stay on for a while longer!
Book yourself a few days in a city you've always wanted to visit, or a few days off for a real spoil-yaself-staycation, and see how you feel when you come back to your day to day. Bet you feel fab!
Lots of love as always,