MONDAY BYTES — June 27, 2016
It’s summer festival time and like seasonal allergies, there are a set of common symptoms you may experience.
I spoke last week at the fantastic Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival and worked with a terrific set of musicians (YAY!). Afterwards I found myself thinking about the way many of us experience festivals.
Full disclosure: as a cellist I attended my fair share (Tanglewood, Banff, etc.). And more recently, I’ve presented workshops at festivals such as Madeline Island, NRO, Music@Menlo, and more.
Along the way I’ve observed (and experienced) a wide range of symptoms of what I’m calling ‘Festival-itis.’
Festival experiences are often fabulous but there can also be challenges.
See which of these 12 ‘festival-itis’ symptoms you’ve experienced:
1. Getting inspired by new ideas, approaches, mentors, colleagues, or repertoire.
2. Experiencing nature. Many festivals take place in beautiful surroundings. This can increase energy, positive emotions, and the sense of being fully alive.
3. An increased willingness to take on challenges, make changes, and try out new ideas.
4. Being more at ease with performing. Many festivals require frequent performances and this can build resilience so that we’re less stressed about any one concert.
5. Extending ourself beyond our comfort zone to make connections with others. This is why chamber ensembles often get their start at festivals (and it also accounts for the high rate of festival romances and hookups!).
6. Bonding with the tribe: an awareness and appreciation of being part of a close-knit festival community.
And what about the possible festival experiences that aren’t so positive? Perhaps you’ve also experienced one or more of these . . .
7. Feeling disconcerted by the feedback from mentors or colleagues so that you start questioning your abilities, value, and judgment.
8. Comparing yourself to others is of course problematic and leads to the comparison trap.
9. Getting self-conscious about your behavior and habits as you interact with people beyond your usual circle.
10. Over-extending: saying yes to too much repertoire, practice, or food, drink, sun, and fun.
11. Comfort zone withdrawal: you find you’re getting annoyed by and being negative about anything from the housing, food, and weather, to the repertoire and colleagues, so that you miss out on what’s positive and create negative feelings in those around you.
12. Festival envy if you weren’t accepted (or hired) at the festival of your choice. This can lead to a sense of disappointment that clouds the summer experience you actually have.
Whatever your festival responses may be, there are ways to minimize the negative reactions. And there are tools to help leverage the positive so you can take the best of the summer with you for the next year and beyond.
Here’s the Summer Festival Prescription: Game Your Own Cure
A. Get outside. Get your daily dose of vitamin D; boost your positive energy. Take breaks and build walking, swimming, or biking, into your regular routine.
B. Take time to reflect. At the end of each day, review what you did and learned, and think about the impact you had on others and that they had on you. Write it down—journaling a few lines each night is a great way to record insights and track your development as a performer, educator, and person.
C. Take notes on the feedback you get: the positive as well as whatever else you receive that you want to work on. Don’t dismiss difficult feedback or beat yourself up with it: just make a note of it so you can return to it and sort it out objectively later.
D. Note what inspires you so you can build this into your weekly or monthly routine when you’re back home. Whether it’s particular repertoire or project ideas, possible collaborators, or a brainstorming partner, make sure you’re getting regular doses of inspiration.
E. Note any new habits you started at the festival that you want to continue. These might include practicing first thing in the morning, taking a daily walk, a new rehearsal technique, or eating healthy. New behaviors take 30 days of consistent repetition to become habits.
F. Notice how you feel when you’re operating at your best. Memorize the sensations: how your body feels, your breathing, how you move, and what your thought patterns are. Then practice remembering or “dialing back” into that feeling, so you can routinely reduce stress and increase positive feelings.
If you relate to the ‘Festival-itis’ symptoms and want to talk about how to overcome the negative and maximize the positive, let’s do it. Click here to schedule a complimentary mini coaching session where we’ll tackle your ‘festival-itis’ plus explore what working together might look like moving forward.
And as always, I welcome your feedback and would love to hear your ‘festival-itis’ experiences and remedies: Angela@BeyondTalentConsulting.com
Find info about coaching with me HERE.
Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well