Freelance Notebook: Positive Edition!

Amid all of the worry, panic, and ‘social distancing’ we find ourselves in, I thought it was perhaps a good idea to begin to focus on all of the positive things that can happen during the week or two (or three) we freelancers have off of work. I think I’ve wallowed in my own self-pity long enough. It’s time to turn this energy I’m putting into worrying about lost work into some actions and projects that will be beneficial when all of this is over.

In addition to all of the extra parenting with Stacy I’ll be doing (both my kids ages 5 and 3 are home for the next 3 weeks…), I’m going to break up my isolation by trying to better myself in four ways:

  • Practicing
  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Writing

I want to come out of this ‘Forced Vacation’ with some embers in the fire. I want to hit the ground running when the social distancing is lifted and gigs, rehearsals, heck just regular life is reinstated.

Here’s a brief rundown of what I’m putting together for myself to do in order to keep occupied these coming weeks:

  • IMG_3236
    I have all my horns ready to go at a moments notice!

    Practicing: Lot’s of practicing will be happening in the coming weeks. I have a bass trombone recital scheduled on December 8th at Butler University (please come on out!), so I plan on getting my tempos and phrases together so I can get the edited piano music to my pianist ASAP. I’ll also be learning/relearning some jazz standards. Of course I’ll be practicing all modes of my scales all over the range of each horn. Although I don’t plan on taking any orchestral auditions in the near future, I’ll mix in some of the top 20 bass trombone orchestral excerpts, because why not! It’s fun!

This app, TonalEnergy, is great! I try to use it at least 25-30 minutes each practice session each day. So far, I’ve only missed 2 days in 2020.
  • Reading: Each year I set goals in the app/website ‘Goodreads‘. This year I set a goal to read 40 books. So far I’m up to 12. This break will present a nice opportunity to sit and get some serious reading done. I’ve been going back and forth between some lighter/fun books and some heavier political or intense fictions. I try to mix it up, but maybe during this time, I’ll dig into the presidential biographies that have been piling up! Of course I’ll be keeping up with the daily news by reading portions of the NYTimes, The Guardian, Reuters and NPR.
Someday, I’ll get through all of these. Better get to it!
  • Listening: This category is two-fold.
    • First I’ll be listening to some great music I need to know. Some of the music will be new releases I receive as host of a weekly jazz radio show ‘Have You Heard‘, some of the music will be of artists I want to get to know better. I’ve created a ‘Forced Vacation’ playlist on Spotify and I invite you to add music to it! I plan on listening to a bit of everything!
    • Secondly, I’ll be listening to and catching up with some amazing podcasts! There is so much great material out there, it’s sometimes hard to choose where to start, but I can guarantee I’ll be keeping up with Pod Save America, Pod Save the World, Lovett Or Leave It, Stay Tunes with Preet, 1A, and Fresh Air. This is a lot to take on, but if there is some extra time, I’ll throw in an episode of 1619, The Wilderness, or Hardcore History.
  • Writing: This is also a two-fold plan!
    • First, writing with words. Big words. With this blog. I intend to write here about freelancing, trombone playing in general, parenting and perhaps other random thoughts that I just want to write about.
    • I’ll also be writing more music. I want to expand some of the tunes I’ve written and start building a ‘catalog’ of original music for the various ensembles I work with. I also have some ideas for new projects I’ll need to write for, and I’m quite excited about actually having the time to do that!


Although I’m losing work over the next 3 weeks (as of 3.14), I have plenty to keep my mind and curiosity busy so that when this COVID-19 isolation is over, I’ll come out of it a much improved musician and person!

Thanks scary virus for being a catalyst to better my life!

Photo on 3-14-20 at 2.38 PM #2


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