I'm just back in Philly after a week in Manchester, VT, where I was playing as part of the Manchester Music Festival's School Residency Week. The schools take part in a "Dare to Compose" initiative, where young composers write a piece for the instrumentation given (this year: string quartet plus flute). Then, we rehearse the pieces with the students and play them for their schools. Interspersed with the student pieces, we performed Mozart, Haydn, Bach, Verdi, Porter, and Villa-Lobos... and also talked about the instruments and composers.
Over the course of the week, we performed 11 concerts in 8 different schools for over 800 students, and then gave a final concert on Saturday. It was wonderful to get a feel for the different personalities of the little schools in Southern Vermont. Everywhere we went, the kids were eager to both share and learn.
As the week came to a close, I was left feeling alive again... re-inspired to teach, but also excited about the prospect of practicing much, much more. I sometimes end up scheduling myself to the brink of insanity, and then I'm not really giving anything the attention it deserves. I need to cut back so that I have time to do the things that matter. Practicing, teaching, performing... those things matter.
As a semi-freelance performer, I have lots of different types of musical experiences; some are good and some aren't so good. I meet many new people, some of whom I like, and some of whom I might rather forget. Then, once in a while (ie, last week), with the right combination of people and music, the experience is uniquely genuine... and that's when I start cheshire cat grinning/giggling with the knowledge that music still makes me happy.