Wednesday, March 13, 2013


I'm sick again this week. It's the fourth time this academic year. Has to be a personal record.

Lots of people I work with have gotten sick in the last week so the bug's origins aren't all that mysterious. Still, it stinks to be sick. On Monday, just as I was about to record musical examples for the first of a six part  blog series, during the 2 1/2 hour rehearsal that preceded my chance, I started to feel really weak. I don't think I haven't gotten much practicing in this week, and I'm not planning to record anything. But I am going to post the blogs in their respective spots (hey, this thing's time stamped) and update them when I get the opportunity.

The first thing I do when I get sick is to strategize. How long 'till Sunday service? Or the concert? What should I cut back on? Can I drag myself to this rehearsal or that one? How badly do they need me? If I'm practically dying then all of that doesn't matter. But usually I can get through an illness by doing the most critical things and leaving the rest, which, unfortunately, means practice.

On top of which, at church I scheduled not one but two epic organ Chorals by Cesar Franck for consecutive weeks. These pieces are almost 15 minutes long, and, while they're not as technically difficult as I thought they'd be, they aren't easy.

The good news is that I started working on them both in January. I gave one two solid weeks, got it in pretty fine shape, and put it away. I'm confident that I can get it out with a week to go before performance and it will be fine. I've done that a lot. The other one came together late last week. It's not as polished as I'd like, but I think I'll be able to do a somewhat decent job. The main thing is to have the energy, preferably with a couple of days to go (like Friday) so I can give it a last push. Normally I don't like to do much practicing toward the end but I'll make an exception.

Although it isn't likely I'll be able to post recordings of at least the first one for at least a few days (I may even have to wait until after Easter; I don't have a lot of extra time with a piece because it is quickly time for the next one) I am not that worried about it being ready to play live. That's because of advance preparation. I knew how much it was likely to take, I made sure that all of the pieces that led up to it were on a schedule that gave me some extra cushion for the tough pieces at the end, and I got things done a little ahead of time, and then I got sick.

In other words, I took care of the only thing you can really control--your preparation. Since Wednesday's blog is for my fellow musicians, that is my wise counsel for the evening. Even while feverish, with my head spinning a little (actually I'm feeling better at the moment) I know I am pretty well prepared. I dragged myself to the organ bench for an hour this morning just to touch up a few things and then let it go. Hopefully I'll be well enough to give it a go on Sunday; so far I haven't missed a rehearsal this week. I stay far away from everybody, though! And being prepared gives me some peace of mind.

Because if you leave things to the last minute, you never know what may happen.

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