Director and Mother

With Mother’s Day this past Sunday, I am reminded how being a Mom has influenced how I run my choirs.

When my boys were babies and young children, I had to make every second count I had free to do my job properly. When they were tiny, I taught privately and had a studio of beginning piano students and several voice students. I usually had about 15 students and scheduled three a day, five days a week, while it was afternoon nap time. Often, toward the end of the last lesson of the day, I would hear tiny voices singing along to my students. I knew they knew when I was finished, it was time to get up and were singing to just pass the time until it was. When I had church jobs, I would do my planning and practicing when they were in school or in bed. With my children’s choirs, I also planned and practiced when they weren’t around as well because the one thing I craved was SILENCE.

Rehearsals and teaching didn’t count as much as prep time when the boys were young–getting away, with good child care, was the easy part. I can run rehearsals in my sleep as long as I have adequate preparation time. And enough time to really plan and practice was tricky with young children around.

And having young children, I didn’t know the one thing that would be the most important to me was quiet. I planned and manipulated and schemed to have a certain amount of non-noise so I could think and “hear” in my mind’s ear what I needed to do. And I made every second count. Before children, I,–like many–wasted so much time fiddling around before I got down to business. Often, I would plan in my mind what I needed to do while doing house work or laundry–lots of laundry with little kids around–so I could hit the ground running when it was my scheduled work and study time. And I learned to tune things out–unless there was blood–so even if they were playing or listening to their own music or practicing themselves, I could do what I needed.

I went to grad school when the youngest was in second grade and here, again, my time was planned to get the most bang from my buck. I had one day a week with no classes so I did house work, grocery shopping and practiced when they were in school. When I had classes, I did score study on the train with head phones and practiced after they went to bed. It was a question of planning, planning, planning.

With the MMS , I plan like crazy eventho my “children” are in their 20s with several graduate degrees themselves. This skill or discipline is one I attribute to being a Mom because in order to do what I wanted and at the level I want, I had to. I am not sure I would be that organized and lazer focused when I have to be if I wasn’t a mother. Thank you, my dear Boys!

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