2017 Recap + Welcome 2018!

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Welcome to 2018!

And, congratulations, we made it through 2017! (Phew.)

I certainly am happy to turn the page on the calendar - 2017 was a difficult yet rewarding year of growth, in which I did lots of cool things but also dealt with burnout and a lot of anxiety. After trying everything holistic that I could think of to help, I finally decided to try going on meds, and after some extra rest and big lifestyle changes, by the end of summer, I was feeling a lot better - I had to actually listen to my body when it told me what it needed, again and again. I think this stuff is important to mention (#endthestigma), because we all struggle behind our highlight reels that we show to the world on social media - you’re not alone! And, every time we go through a big period of struggle, it brings us to the next, more evolved version of ourselves, which I’m always grateful for afterward.

Some firsts from this year:

  • Getting a studio to teach private lessons at MacPhail (a long time coming!)
  • Seeing Hermeto Pascoal and his band at SFJazz in April
  • Creating and facilitating a set of composition prompts for creative musicians, which is now a free 5 day-course (more about that below!)
  • Starting a regular networking happy hour for women musicians in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area with my friend Lauren Husting
  • Receiving my certification from MTNA and became a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music
  • Attending the Giant Steps conference here in Minneapolis - so inspiring!
  • Prioritizing rest and self-care for real (instead of just talking about it a lot and not giving myself what I need)
  • Trying breathwork as a way to turn my mind off (it works) and connect to myself
  • Going back to eating meat again after 14 years without it (with some excellent help from Lucia of Essential Omnivore!)
  • Getting really into drawing, so much that I decided to get one printed!
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Other highlights:

  • Performing 3 sambas that I arranged for solo piano at a MacPhail faculty recital (what I learned from that process: here and here)
  • Choro rodas with local and visiting friends
  • Playing more Brazilian gigs on piano, especially at the National Flute Association Convention with Jane Lenoir and Tim O’Keefe
  • Finishing 2 100 Day Projects of writing 8 measures of music per day
  • Performing my own music several times
  • My 6th time at California Brazil Camp - ensembles with Hermeto Pascoal, Jovino Santos Neto, Vitor Gonçalves, and Alessandro Penezzi!
  • Seeing Anat Cohen and Choro Aventuroso (including my teacher Vitor) at the Twin Cities Jazz Fest in June
  • My 11th anniversary with Tom (celebrated with sushi and sculptures)
  • Growing new friendships with a few awesome women musician/artists
  • To my surprise, I also somehow managed to read 54+ books this year (and I didn’t start tracking my reading until March, so it was probably more like 60!)
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Also, in 2017 I picked two words to focus on for the year, guided by Susannah Conway’s workbook Find Your Word: LISTEN and INTENT (see last year's recap post for explanation). Those words kind of worked for me last year, but they didn’t really stay at the forefront of my mind, although I think that I still made some changes in those areas.

New Year’s resolutions get a lot of flak, but as long as they’re specific and actionable (actual goals), I’m into it - I’ll take any fresh-start energy I can get. All of the reflection that I did in 2017 has enabled me to have more clarity about what I want from 2018, and to feel more ready to begin (or really, continue).

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Ways that I want to CONNECT this year:

  • To my own intuition and purpose
  • To the expansive feeling I get when I’m doing things that bring me joy (in work and in life)
  • To a sense of ease and lightness
  • Being mindful and present in my interactions with others
  • Forming meaningful connections with other musicians and composers (especially women)
  • Showing my work as fearlessly as possible
  • Letting go of things that don’t give me meaningful connection or help me get closer to how I want to feel (hello, mindless scrolling!)

I’m not the type to plan out my whole year at once, but here are some of my big goals for 2018:

  • Revamp my morning routine to always include meditation and journaling (probably 10 minutes of each) before I exercise
  • Record an album of my Brazilian arrangements and compositions (finally) and crowdfund it
  • Collaborate with more women musicians (already talking with a few people)
  • Launch a sheet music store of my compositions and arrangements (this one I’m committed to doing by the end of January!)
  • Publish 1 piece per month for the rest of the year
  • Start writing more pieces for instruments other than my own (and start writing a trio for my trio)
  • Start using my voice more (literally) - starting with Instagram Stories
  • Leave time for fun and hobbies (reading more fiction and graphic novels, drawing, crafting, etc.)

And one I already completed this week:

Launch my free 5-day course of bite-size composition prompts

If you're a musician who has thought about writing but didn't know where to start, if you're looking for some idea generation, or camaraderie with other creative musicians, this is for you. If you're interested, sign up below and join us!

I have a good feeling about this year - I’m wishing you an inspiring start to 2018! 

If you chose a word for the year or have music-related goals you're excited about, share them in the comments!

Rebecca Hass

Pianist and composer