Start of Summer Reflection

2017 is not quite at its halfway point yet, but since I’m a teacher, I think in school years, and the beginning of the summer is a big transition point, so I’m now reflecting on the goals I set at beginning of 2017, how my approach to work and life has changed. I don’t always focus so heavily on making yearly goals, because a lot can change in a year, so I’ve been trying out Kathleen Shannon’s chalkboard method for goal setting, in which you make a chalkboard (mine’s really a piece of thick paper board with Post-Its on it) that lists your goals for the quarter, and also leaves spaces open for things you want to bring into your life. See my chalkboard for Q1 of 2017 here, and I'll have to post about Q2 sometime soon, too. 

During most of April and May, however, my schedule got so crammed with work that I really was only surviving, not thriving, and was most focused on getting through it than on my biggest goals (with the exception of my 100 Day Project, 100 Days of Writing Music, which continues to feel great and in alignment with my goal to do more creative projects).

This was also right after I spent my spring “break” running around Minneapolis and San Francisco at a whirlwind pace, rather than resting and recovering from a really busy March (when I had already felt burned out).

My summer schedule has been a breath of fresh air for sure (real weekends instead of just 1 day off per week!), but I am still feeling the fallout from 6 weeks with hardly any rest. I’ve known for a while that I had been working on too many projects at once, but it’s finally come to the point where my body is telling me to stop, via exhaustion and anxiety. I’m also working out some health issues related to digestion, so during June, a lot of my brainpower has been devoted to planning, cooking, and eating food. Slowing way down feels like the right thing to do, as I recalibrate my life and re-focus my goals, but there’s still a lot going on this summer in the work realm, such as:

  • teaching 3 days a week for 8 weeks of the summer
  • watching some great Brazilian music this month: Seu Jorge’s Life Aquatic this Saturday, and Anat Cohen w/Choro Aventuroso the next weekend (including my teacher Vitor!)  
  • playing Brazilian music: Festa de São João with Batucada do Norte in July (yeah, we’re celebrating it a month late), and a flute-piano-percussion set at the National Flute Convention in August
  • playing a series of MacPhail Hour concerts at senior/assisted living facilities around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area with a cellist friend
  • NCKP conference in Chicago in late July
  • completing my projects to become an NCTM (Nationally Certified Teacher of Music)
  • going to visit family in the Bay Area and attend California Brazil Camp for the 6th time in August (and study with Hermeto Pascoal!)
  • continuing my 100 Day Project through July 13 (and maybe longer if I feel like it)

Now that I listed all of that, it’s making me feel like I’m actually going to be pretty busy this summer (especially according to my new standards) - I’m glad to be taking some time to ruminate on my intentions moving forward, so that priorities (and time to actually enjoy my life) don’t get squeezed out by busy-ness!

What's on your must-do list for summer? 

Rebecca Hass

Pianist and composer