Lessons Learned from Trying Something New

When you learn to speak a new language you must spend a good deal of work on deciphering the sounds and then concentrate on understanding how the grammar works, and then more time getting your muscles to cooperate producing those new sounds that you can now conceive of in your mind. It’s a ton of new information and quite a few steps to the finished product!

When you learn to play a new style of music, the process is almost identical. I know this first hand after performing such a variety of music this month. Lucky for me, I had violinist/fiddler Anna Wedlock (The Maudes) and multi-instrumentalist Brad Reid to help me along as we performed a series of folk, celtic and classical concerts. The performances included Hungarian folk tunes, Cape Breton slow airs, jigs, strathspeys, jazz-influenced compositions, pieces from living composers and others written in ink that has been dried for more than two hundred years.
(Pictured above: Luke Duignan and Brad Reid, with me in the middle, on the set of “The Sound of Music B’ye”)
I also donned a costume and some sturdy shoes for my work as a pit musician and restaurant server in The Sound of Music B’ye at Grafton Street Dinner Theatre. You know, just to mix it up (or did I just mix myself up?- lol) a little more. See the evidence in the ridiculous photos below 😉

Needless to say, it was a busy and varied month of music and new experiences. I will always have my favourite pieces and styles, but by the same token I learned there is so much to gain when a person stretches beyond her comfort zone, and abilities, for that matter. And when you come back to your principal craft, it is enriched that much more. I also came to understand better why it is said that slow and steady wins the race. Whether you are in a busy kitchen full of staff and hot soup, or you are learning something completely new, it takes patience (don’t panic and be nice to yourself!), a clear mind (focus on the task at hand), awareness of surroundings (notice what’s happening- it will teach you something) and tenacity (don’t give up, you almost have it!). 

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