Go Practice.. Your Self-Care

I consider myself to be a “recovering perfectionist.”

I don’t know why, but I always had a STRAIGHT A’s OR DIE mentality all throughout my academic career.

I can tell you every disappointing instance of making anything less than an A for a final grade.

Like the B I got in 5th grade English.

Or the A- I got in American Music during my masters (still bitter about that one).

Or the B I got in Schenkerian Analysis – also during my masters (I still don’t understand why Schenkerian Analysis is a thing – it has been of ZERO use to me in my career #sorrynotsorry).

Oh, and that one time one professor gave me a C (!) on my jury!!! (My overall grade was still an A, but woah.. that was a shock to my system).

I ALWAYS prioritized school over everything. It came before friends and family, and it most certainly came before my own health and well-being.

In hindsight, that was dumb.

You can’t perform your best if all you’ve consumed is coffee, granola bars, and pizza for three days.

You can’t focus during your finals if you haven’t slept.

And for me, I am the most musical when I’m in a relaxed, flow state – not riddled with tension and anxiety.


And I don’t mean a picture-perfect marathon runner version of healthy. I’m talking BASIC needs.

You’ve slept. You’re hydrated and eating proper meals. You’re moving your body, even if it’s just a walk across campus or some chair yoga in the practice room. You’ve taken some time to chat with a friend or family member. You’ve done at least 5 minutes of something that brings you joy!

Recently, I’ve been speaking with college music majors about the importance self-care at the end of the semester. Juries, papers, finals, recitals, practicing, studying, rehearsal.. it’s a lot!

I know it feels impossible to find time to take care of yourself, but it’s not impossible, it’s just not a priority.

And it’s not your fault that it’s not a priority. We’ve been brought up in a culture that favors “busy-ness” and hard work.

At this point of my life, I’m all about the “less is more” approach.  Less “work,” more intention. Less “work,” more FLOW.

Speaking of flow - you know that “Should You Be Practicing Right Now?” flowchart?

This has ALWAYS bugged me, and I’m so thankful that trombonist Jon Gauer created a more healthy, revised version of the chart as seen below. I also encourage you to check out the corresponding post to his chart here.

Created by Jon Gauer

Created by Jon Gauer

I’ve found that when I’m taking care of myself, “work” doesn’t really feel like work because I am in a more relaxed, creative state. When I’m not worried about making an A, I make more music, and I am more likely to take risks and think outside the box when I’m not forcing or muscling through things.

It’s time to start prioritizing self-care because we are better humans and of better service to other humans when we do.

That being said, what is ONE thing you can do today that will support your wellbeing?

With peace & compassion,