Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A Room of One’s Own

In our new apartment, I have an office. Techinically, it’s an alcove off the living room, but it’s big enough for the piano, my desk, and two bookcases. There is also a closet, which has a rod high enough to hold my gowns. (I had been storing them “off-site” at a friend’s house, because our tiny house didn’t have room to dedicate four feet of closet rod space to gowns. Now they’re back, and I can gaze at them any time I want!)

I’ve been amazed at how having this space has increased the efficiency of my practice. I used to have all my books in one room and the piano in another, so when I would leave the piano to get some music, I would inevitably get distracted and not make it back. Practice became a chore, so I did it less and less. Now, with music, dictionaries, reference books, piano, et al, in one space, I’m getting much more done. As I work through warm-ups and a specific song or aria comes to mind, I can find it and sing it. That piece may lead to another, also at the ready. Now, I have to force myself to stop and take breaks, or else I’ll spend all day at the piano!

Part of this new practice habit may stem from a big gig I’ve been hired for next season. (Details will be forthcoming…) It is being organized by a very large management company and has potential for some great exposure. So I’m starting to think about getting my “house” in order! I want to be ready for anything that may come out of it – other concert or even opera gigs, interest from other management firms, etc. – and that means being on top of my game. I have roles that I want to finish learning and have performance-ready to add to my rep list. (It is very lean in the standard repertoire department…) And I need to keep checking in with the technique, making sure every facet of it is ready to come to my aid when needed.

The room also has a window with a beautiful view of the Olympic Mountains, the brilliant sunsets, and the amazing cloud cover we have here in Seattle. Never a dull moment in this sky, and I am grateful to have such an inspiring scene in view everyday. Phyllis Curtin encouraged me to always “sing to the universe,” counsel easily heeded in this room of my own.

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