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I’m not sure why I suddenly feel the need to post on the 27th of the month, but that has been my habit for the past three months so why stop now? Much like Jess G’s end of the month wrap-ups, it’s always good to look back each month and assess where I’m at.

I went up to Melbourne (still got to get used to saying “up to Melbourne” instead of down) with Jessie last weekend to play flute for more than 11 hours and learn about teaching and conducting with the Yamaha Wind Orchestra. It’s run as part of the Off to a Great Start program, and although it’s aimed more at music educators or ensemble leaders rather than just players, I found it useful in terms of thinking about how I lead music at church and how people learn generally, and it also gave me an insight into the work of a conductor. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about teaching, so it was good to have that curiosity further fed. I still miss the band I used to mentor and lead back at Wild Street in Sydney; it’s such a wonderful thing to know that I left that group of young musicians in a great place and that they were able to just keep moving forward and go from strength to strength (that’s what I’ve heard, anyway!). I would love to start encouraging the young musicians at our church to step up, and I might start doing that more intentionally.

I am not a good sight reader though.

I’m on second flute, and the first flute next to me was a very confident sight reader, so that was helpful. We’re playing some fantastic repertoire, and I especially love Vientos y Tangos by Michael Gandolfi, but oh boy, if I will be able to play the bit in the video below at 6:41 in time by the concert, it will be a miracle. Doing lots of work with the ole metronome, and can play it slowly, but it frustrates me because I just want my fingers to fly and they…don’t. Yet.

It’s good to have a challenge though! We go back on 10 August for another day and a half of rehearsal and then the concert at 3pm. The venue is supposed to be wonderful (at PLC Burwood), and I can’t wait.

The following weekend Symphonic Band are playing at another great venue – St John’s! It’ll be fun to play wind band music in my own church. If you’re in Launceston, please come along!

Playing music is still the bright point in life over the past month. Ooh, and glass beadmaking; I’m definitely still in the clumsy stages of that but it’s been fun learning a new skill.

Everything else has been really hard. I’ve felt like I’m drowning a lot, which is an unpleasant feeling. It was good to have a few days off over the school holidays while my brother was in town, and to go to Melbourne for the wind orchestra. But getting up and keeping on going with the day to day stuff has been a challenge.

Still, I’m doing it. I’m proud of myself. But I kind of feel like the poor little kid in that meme who’s dressed as a sheep and dancing onstage in some sort of school concert but crying the whole time (I won’t repost it here because my heart breaks for her a little bit every time I see it!). Why is daily life so hard? I either want to run away (where to?) or just stay under the covers in bed. Or maybe run away and find a bed to hide in.

I’ve found it interesting that almost every snippet of Bible reading I’ve had over the last while – whether the odd verse here or there, or Bible study, or the WordLive podcast I listen to each morning as I get dressed – has seemed to be telling me to stand firm. Just to stand. Just to trust God. Just to be still. It’s harder to do than it sounds. But I keep hearing that message: Be still. Don’t run. You’re here for a reason.

When I’m still I realise there are kind people around who give me encouragement and who see me and know what I’m going through. There are plenty who don’t, but I am trying to be grateful every day for those who do. It’s that Brené Brown trick from Daring Greatly/Dare to Lead, where you get a 1 inch by 1 inch bit of paper and write the names of people whose opinions really matter on that piece of paper. They’re the ones who count, and you don’t worry about the rest. That is also harder to do than it sounds, but it’s worthwhile.

When I’m still I can look back at the last few months and see that there has been an improvement. My new psychologist is helping. My GP is helping. Getting more rest and scaling back on my commitments helped. Going and getting a haircut and feeling less like a total frump helped.

Hopefully when I write next month things will be brighter again. Even if only a little bit. And I’ll still be playing music.