Getting Back in the Groove

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Well, it’s been a while! I’m finally getting back in the groove of my fall schedule, since I just started teaching last week. I didn’t mean to be so sporadic with blogging over the summer, but I was dealing with the aftereffects from some burnout (mainly mega anxiety issues), and didn’t have a whole lot of space left in my head for much more than already planned work and basic life activities. This really deserves its own post, but I wanted to at least casually mention it for two reasons: 1) I value keeping it real and being honest, 2) The more people I talk to about my issues with anxiety, the more I find out that so many people I know have similar issues (and most of them are highly functional people who you wouldn’t guess are struggling). Mental health issues are so common, and more needs to be done to de-stigmatize them. So, if you’re reading this, and you’ve had similar struggles, you’re not alone, I’m definitely here with you. I have a lot more to say on the topic, but more about that another day. I am feeling much better now, thanks to SSRIs, taking a month off from teaching, and my 6th trip to California Brazil Camp, which was very rejuvenating and soul-fulfilling.

Speaking of Brazil Camp, this year was particularly incredible. It’s always incredible, but this was the 20th year, so they had the most stellar lineup yet, including Hermeto Pascoal, a total genius (I don't throw that word around) and legend of Brazilian jazz. If you’ve been reading my earlier posts, it’s no secret that I am a huge fan of his - I even flew out to San Francisco in April to see him perform! I had a blast at camp, as usual, playing piano and melodica in lots of ensemble classes, with Hermeto, Vitor Gonçalves (who I also study piano with), and choro with Alessandro Penezzi. If you want to know more of what camp is all about, check out my 2016 recap posts here and here.

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I usually dread fall and the return to a packed schedule, but instead this year, it feels more like an exciting new beginning, since I’m not working (outside my home...a musician is always working in some way) 6 days a week. I had to say goodbye to a handful of longtime students who I will really miss, but I started with a few new little guys who are really excited, and it’s contagious. This year I’m only teaching 3 days a week so that I’ll be able to shift the balance of my work more toward playing and composing. Exactly what that looks like remains to be seen, but I’m trying to get more comfortable with dwelling in uncertainty during this transition phase, and stay open to all of the possibilities!

Also, I started another 100 Days of Writing Music on Sunday, which will be finished by the end of 2017 (what? I thought 2017 just started?) I wanted to start it sooner, but I got bogged down trying to come up with themes (hi, I like to overcomplicate things), and really it was time to JUST START. So I did. I might still add some weekly prompts to mix it up, we’ll see. I’m planning on keeping my goal from the first 100 Days, which was to write at least 8 measures of music a day, and post it on Instagram. You can read about my experience with the 100 Day Project earlier this year here: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4, and listen to recordings of my compositions on SoundCloud

Follow along on Instagram here, with the same hashtag #100daysofwritingmusic!

I have a few other exciting things in the works, too, so stay tuned. I’ll be back to posting here weekly again, and I’ll definitely keep you updated!

Rebecca Hass

Pianist and composer