Keys - Lost and found

Image by Stewart Leiwakabessy via Flickr

I rarely repeat posts from one site to another. This post resonated so much with me, I wanted to share a version of it here. You may visit the Musical Gems site to read the other version directed towards musicians. Thank you to the Fort Hays State University chapter of CMENC for asking me to present. You are the inspiration for this post. I am grateful to Stephanie McWilliams of The Unstoppables for providing me a base upon which to build.

Life can be complicated for many people. It sometimes seems especially so for those whose livelihood is in the arts, education, or healthcare. Being a parent or a caregiver to an older adult presents many challenges on a daily basis. Here are what I consider the keys to surviving and even thriving based upon my life as a music therapist and my husband’s as a music educator.

Consider  a 2-5 year plan. Where do you want to be living? What do you want to be doing? Describe a day in the life. What kind of music do you want to be creating? This information will inform the rest of the keys. It should serve as the basis of how you live your life.

Care for your body. There is an expanding body of evidence to support the importance of proper nutrition and exercise. Yet, there are other aspects to consider. If talking is a part of your work, it is important you  care for your voice. Be sure you warm-up your voice and cool it down each day. Click here is one source for vocal warm-up and cool downs. Many more can be found on the web.

Care for your environment. As much as possible, the space around you should support & encourage your work. Find a system to organize paperwork, supplies and equipment that works for you. Be sure you have a space for creating and enjoying music. Be sure and include your sense of smell and touch in making decisions. Who wants to do thinks in a foul-smelling room or in an uncomfortable chair?

Control your finances. Be aware of both your income and your expenses.  There are great resources out there to help  you learn about finances, budgeting, and saving. Use your 2-5 year plan to help guide your financial plan. Live within your means. Budget money for enjoying the now.

Consider your relationships. First ask who inspires you personally, professionally, musically. Realize some relationships are required – familial & work included. But, you can decide how to handle these relationships. Be aware of the people who surround you. Do you have friends? Do they have goals and interests similar or complementary to yours?  Are you setting aside time to maintain and develop these relationships? It is easy to get so “busy” with work we don’t invest quality time into relationships.  Care for your persona/brand both off and on-line. Remember, what is posted online lives on for family, employers, students/clients to see.

Care for your thoughts/mind.  Continue to learn throughout life. Find ways to “unclutter” your mind so you can focus on a thought at a time. Find ways to release the constant mental monitoring especially those of negativity. Continue to make music for yourself. Find for yourself how to balance the need to perfect your craft as a musician with your need to enjoy being in the moment with music.

Are there any keys I have missed? Please share them in the comments below.

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