As the school year comes to an end here in the US and summer plans are now underway, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past two years It has been a momentous, stressful and exhilarating experience for me both professionally and personally and I wanted to share with you, my dear readers, about my journey. The Year in Review: 2021-2022
What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been
To say that the last two years have been a trip would be a massive understatement. I know we’re not alone in that our lives have dramatically changed thanks in part to the global pandemic and the political unrest in so many parts of the world. Being in NYC during the eye of the storm in the first wave of Covid, while also dealing with a lot of social unrest during the summer of 2020 was incredibly stressful. Windows all over our area wre boarded up, there were police patrolling everywhere and we heard ambulances day and night. It was an absolutely terrifying time.
Probably the biggest shift for me was transitioning to being a full-time stay at home caregiver to our then 8-year-old. We were in a great groove with me juggling my work with his public school day and suddenly he was home. Distance learning proved a disaster for him and for us, so I made the bold move to take him out of public school and homeschool him.
Homeschooling was one of the most exciting experiences of my life. As homeschoolers we are able to choose our subjects and resources depending on our interests, as long as we cover the main subjects as indicated by the state. I taught him every subject (including math!) and cobbled together a wide range of curriculum and resources to make it happen.
We studied Ancient history, the Middle Ages, the Cold War, the history of the Russian/Ukraine conflict and did deep dives into the instruments of the orchestra and a cross section of classical composers. We read hundreds of books together and did daily writing and language arts projects.
I gave my son daily piano lessons and we played and sang duets together. We did field trips to 20 different museums, went to every zoo and botanical garden and had daily hikes through Central Park.
My son heads back to public school this fall and I am ecstatic that I was able to have this time with him. While it was an adventure, with all honesty I dont know how I did it some days.
The Versatile Musician
The summer of 2021 began the realization of a dream that I thought was several years in the distance: to have a full-service home for my entire suite of online courses. After creating seven online courses, it was time to turn my little side hustle into a full-fledged company, The Versatile Musician.
My first online course Piano Skills for Singers was launched in spring of 2018 (happy anniversary PS4S!) and I had no idea that it would take off as much as it did. Somehow in these few years, I have had nearly 500 people move through these courses.
Last summer, I buckled down and between camp drop offs and pick ups, I managed to re-edit all 500+ pages of my course materials and 70 of the 350 videos. The Versatile Musician opened its doors to her first members in September and has consistently expanded this entire year. Join now!
Journey to Business Owner
The journey from being a freelance performer and educator to an LLC company has been a bumpy one, full of the most learning of my entire life. I joined a business mastermind, had private business coachings, took social media workshops and read every business book out there. With a few fits and starts, I have finally narrowed down what I want my company to be and how to keep my own authentic voice while marketing.
There is a lot of sketchy marketing crap out there and the ick factor was far too high to do a lot of what people recommended. My TikTok career lasted about two weeks before I was like HARD PASS). I am uncomfortable with a lot of what is out there in social media, so I have focused on sharing information that is useful and engaging for people.
My YouTube channel continues to grow and I have managed to post 1-2 videos per week all year. We just passed 1000 subscribers and it has been a blast to hear from my viewers how much my work is helping them!
This was a LOT!
If all of this sounds like a lot that’s because it truly was. I kept a pretty frenetic pace during this entire time. Truthfully, this has always been my coping mechanism when times are tough.
The hardest part for was the constant flip flopping between tasks. I was constantly multitasking, jumping between helping my son with math while trying to get my email newsletter done and answering questions from members. I let a lot of my music work go and have hardly practiced the piano during this entire time.
This week marks the end of the year for me and I have to tell you, I am fricking ready for it. My son passed fourth grade with flying colors and while we’re still going to chug away at some school stuff this summer, we are both getting a nice long break.
We head to Canada for three weeks this summer to spend some quality time with my dad. We haven’t seen him since October 2019 (thanks Covid!) so we are both ecstatic to get some time with him to reconnect and relax in the motherland.
I am doing something I have never done in my entire life: I am taking a non-working vacation. Yep – deleting all of the social media apps and even email off my phone so I can be OFF for a few weeks. I will do a couple of quick email checks just in case, but almost everything is going to have to wait until I return.
I have been reading a lot of books about the damage that social media does to our brains and productivity (not to mention the havoc is it wreaking on our social structures and democracy), so I am excited to unplug and see what it feels like.
We have stacks of novels to read, loads of family and friends to see, frogs to catch, sandcastles to make, birds to watch and hamburgers to eat.
The Rest of the Summer
Once we return, we head out to our beloved bungalow in Brezy Point where I will dole out popsicles and reapply sunscreen as my son runs around with his friends. I have some awesome projects that I canT wait to work on – new content for this membership, a few YouTube videos to film, while I teach a reduced schedule on Zoom.
I have already gotten back to daily practice again and my husband and I have started a cover band called Community Property. He is an avocational bass guitarist, who took lessons and practiced two hours a day all winter. He, along with his buddy Anthony and my drummer buddy Brian will be rocking Rockaway ina. Big way! We are doing mostly 80s covers, plus a bit of 70s and the odd bit of Motown.
These past two years have taught me a lot. I was reminded of the power and resiliance of my family. My husband and I managed to face all of this together and have come out stronger. I was able to connect more deeply with friends and family, moving away from social media interactions to actual phone calls.
I was reminded of my own resiliance and work ethic, and willingness to do whatever it takes to support my family. I will never take for granted my health or the simple things of life again.
I am grateful for all of the lessons learned and honestly, very grateful to take a break.
What are you plans this summer?