End-of-Summer Update + Navigating Transition

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Hey everyone! I know, long time no blog (except for sheet music releases and Kickstarter stuff) - all summer, in fact!

If you’ve missed the style of writing from my usual blog posts, you can still hear from me every week in my newsletter that’s chock-full of supportive real talk about staying well while doing creative work. Sign up at the bottom of the page!

Now that we’re past the ceremonial beginning of fall, I thought I’d pop in to let you know what I’ve been up to.

If you follow me on social media, I know you couldn’t have missed the Kickstarter for my upcoming album Florescer.

(Spoiler: we did it! The project was funded, which I am SO grateful for - thanks very much to everyone who contributed!) I also did a really fun online concert to celebrate the last hour, which you can watch here:

If you did miss the Kickstarter, don’t worry, because the official album release date is coming up soon on October 24, and you’ll be able to buy and stream it through all of the usual places - stay tuned for more details on that.

And, if you’re in Minneapolis/St. Paul, you’re invited to my album release show on October 18, featuring all of the guest musicians on the album (Tim O’Keefe, percussion, Jenny Klukken, marimba, and Laura Harada, violin). I’m also planning on live-streaming it. More details here.

If you want to stay in the loop on the album and upcoming gigs, be sure to hop on my gig mailing list here!

So, what else did I do all summer?

A lot, it turns out! No wonder this summer seemed to go faster than ever. Workwise, I:

(NON-WORK) FUN STUFF

  • traveled to Denver to celebrate a good friend’s 40th birthday

  • traveled to New York to see Dream the Combine’s installation at MoMA PS1, which Tom spent most of June helping install, saw some college friends, and got to have a lesson with my teacher Vitor Gonçalves.

  • visited Tom’s family cabin in Hackensack, MN

  • drove to Iowa for a friend’s wedding

  • spent as much time with family and friends as possible

  • saw some great music: Ivan Lins, Bobby McFerrin, Matra, Hamilton de Holanda + Roberta Sá, and the Twin Cities Jazz Composers Workshop premiere concert

September is always a pretty crazy month, with the beginning of the school year, but this year promises to be even more so, as I wrap up Kickstarter rewards and prepare for my album release. I’m also going to New Orleans to attend the Being Boss Vacation at the end of the month, which is coming up fast! I’m really excited to connect with more fellow creative entrepreneurs, and keep living out my word of the year (CONNECT!)

NAVIGATING TRANSITION

All in all, it feels like a really big transition time right now:

  • I’m adjusting to a new school year, in a new teaching space

  • The seasons are changing (yet teasing us with warm weather, right when I was ready to be cool and cozy)

  • Tom is a few weeks into a new job

  • Etc.

I’m reminding myself:

  • That transitions of various sizes are constantly happening and take mental energy

  • That bigger and/or simultaneous transitions take even more energy

  • Even “good” transitions can be hard, and that’s fine

  • I need to cut myself some slack, generally, and especially during these times

  • I don’t need to start anything else new during a transition time, unless it’s something I really need

  • I can (and should!) do extra nice things for myself when I’m feeling out of sorts

  • I don’t need anyone’s permission for that...and neither do you!

If you need permission to go a little easier on yourself, here it is!

Are you going through any challenging transitions right now, school year, seasonal, or otherwise? How do you deal with it? Let me know in the comments. (You got this.)

Album Title Reveal!

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I am so excited that my album finally has a title: 

Florescer (Bloom)

A few nights ago, I was really tired, had just gone to bed, and of course, that moment was when my overactive brain chose to prevent me from sleeping! (Don’t you love that?) Unlike most times this has happened, however, it was actually productive! I couldn’t get the word “bloom” out of my head, and images of hand-drawn flower art kept popping in.

The next morning, it still sounded like a good idea, and also sounded cool when translated to Portuguese, which feels appropriate for an album of Brazilian music. Then, I read that May 29 (this Kickstarter’s launch day) was the Full Flower Moon, the usual name for a full moon in May. The deal was sealed.

Though I might be a little biased because I was born in May, it’s my favorite month, because of the arrival of greenery and beautiful blooming trees. The Hasses also tend to be botanically gifted people (which I strive to be) - my dad has even co-authored a book about roses - so flowers seem baked into my DNA.

I also find myself using metaphors about planting seeds and growing things all of the time, and, of course, this quote is one of my favorites, which regularly inspires me to get moving on my goals:

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If you haven’t already, please back this Kickstarter to help it grow and bloom, and make the album a reality!

Thanks in advance for your support - if you can't support financially, sharing on social media is great, too!

If you want to stay in the loop on the album and upcoming gigs, be sure to hop on my mailing list here!

My Kickstarter is Live!!

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The Kickstarter for my upcoming album of Brazilian original compositions and piano arrangements is live! Less than 12 hours in, I'm SO excited to say that I'm just over 15% funded, surpassing my expectations, for sure. Much gratitude to my 24 backers so far!

Besides the album itself, I have lots of cool rewards, like an enamel pin and art print that I designed, custom ringtones, and more.

Thanks for following along with my work all this time - I invite you to check it out! 


I'm also excited to share this fun video that features Gingando, one of the songs from the album. This is a solo piano version, but it will eventually have percussion and marimba, too! 

Thanks in advance for your support!

If you want to stay in the loop on the album and upcoming gigs, be sure to hop on my mailing list here!

Video: 3 Original Brazilian Tunes - Piano/Marimba Duo

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Last Friday I was delighted to be able to perform 3 of my original Brazilian tunes at a faculty recital at MacPhail Center for Music (where I teach), joined by my friend Jenny Klukken on marimba. We had a blast putting these arrangements together - it was fascinating to figure out how to layer our parts, considering that both piano and marimba have so many possibilities for combining notes.  

The first one, Gingando (which I posted a solo piano version of back in December), is an uptempo Brazilian choro, and Gingando is one of those words that doesn't directly translate, but means "grooving" or "swinging. 

In case you're wondering, "What's a choro?", there are different types - many have a very fast tempo like this one. See here and here for more background on Brazilian choro, and watch the amazing documentary: The Sound of Rio: Brasileirinho.

Anelante (Wishful/Wistful) is a different, slower type of Brazilian choro: choro serenata. This piece has traditional choro form (AABACA), but not traditional choro harmonic progressions - it has a healthy dose of Debussy influence in there, too!

Brincalhão (Playful) has sections of both maxixe and samba. What's a maxixe, you ask? It's a dance from the mid-1800s that was sometimes also called Brazilian tango (and developed alongside the Argentinean tango) - check out the composer Ernesto Nazareth, who wrote many of them. 

Thanks for checking out these videos - wishing you a peaceful weekend with hints of spring (but if not, the Brazilian music always helps)!

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!