Monday, January 20, 2014

Raising the Game

I had one of those weekends that felt more like work, so that I feel like I need a weekend to recover. The workshop I went to was incredible, but a little draining. It was a workshop for church musicians of all sorts. The nice thing was that they repeated the entire program from Friday on Saturday, so you got a chance to do other things that were scheduled opposite each other. Friday I went to the sessions on preschool music, and I got a ton of ideas of games to play and some classroom management techniques. I'd planned to try some of the elementary sessions on Saturday, although I wanted to go to the main adult choir stuff out of pure selfishness because they were presented by the director of the choir at St. Olaf's College (known for their PBS Christmas specials) and I thought they'd benefit me as a singer. Then the children's music director for my church (the one who signed me up for the workshop) said his sessions were phenomenal and encouraged me to go, so that's what I did Saturday. While I did learn a lot I can use as a singer, he also addressed a lot of stuff that applies to children's choirs, and I learned some things I might be able to use with my kids, so it worked out.

The one problem was that I managed to get sick at a very bad time. The sniffles and sneezes from earlier in the week had migrated so that I had a sore throat. I completely lost my voice on Friday, which was frustrating because between class sessions, they had what they called reading sessions, where they passed out a booklet of music to everyone, and then we all sang it while various directors conducted. Most of the people in the group were professionals with music degrees, so the sound was amazing, and I wanted to participate so much, but I couldn't sing at all without pain. I was better on Saturday, and by sheer willpower I managed to sing in the demonstration rehearsal conducted by the St. Olaf's director. I learned so much there as a singer, and it was fun to sing in that kind of choir, doing that kind of music. I was a little outclassed, as a moderately gifted and slightly trained amateur surrounded by highly trained professionals, but that's the sort of thing that raises your game. It's like the way I dance better when adults who used to dance professionally attend my ballet class.

And then I lost my voice again as the cough moved lower still. Since there's so much worry about flu right now, I kept mentally running through the checklist, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't the flu. It came on gradually, unlike the flu, which hits hard and fast. I didn't feel all that bad, and if I'd had the flu, I wouldn't have been able to drive across town in rush hour and sit through a whole day of workshops. When I've had the flu, I've sometimes had to stop in the bedroom and rest when going from the living room to the bathroom. I also never ran fever. So either it was a head cold that migrated or it's all just allergies. Now I've still got the cough, but strangely, only at night and first thing in the morning. As long as I'm mostly vertical, I'm fine. The coughing at night was making me tired, so last night I resorted to the good cough syrup (prescription, from my last bout with bronchitis), which meant I slept all night, but I woke up groggy. I wouldn't try singing or talking today, and I'm going to try to take it easy, but I don't feel too bad.

Today is technically a federal holiday, and I'm wavering on whether to allow myself to take the day off to fully rest. Most of today's tiredness has to do with forcing myself to stay awake to finish the book I was reading because I had to know how it ended, even after I'd taken the good cough syrup and was barely awake.  I may just deal with some other business stuff, as focusing isn't my strong suit at the moment. It may be a thinky day to mull on some decisions about the book I'm revising.

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