2021 Year in Review

photo of a watercolor sketch of the word cultivate

For my final blog post of 2021—the year in review. It was a wild year, deeply creative, with a lot of output. This time last year, I’d just finished writing a book (first round writing, not editing and such), quit my job due to COVID concerns, and was going to see what I could do … Read more

Good-quality materials for beginners

As a beginning band teacher, I often heard people say that my students didn’t need instruments of good quality because the kids didn’t know how to play anyway. That’s exactly why they need good quality. Because they don’t know what they’re doing, they have no skills to compensate for deficiencies in the instrument. They don’t … Read more

Christmas, shipping delays, and a different solution

Prices of seemingly everything are going up. Delays in arrival of products and materials/components have been going on for over a year now but also seem to be increasing. The shipping delays are in part due to a shortage of workers (which is largely due to losing people—temporarily, long-term, or permanently—to COVID) but also because … Read more

Fading accomplishments and staying happy

During college, I ended up changing my primary instrument from flute to trombone, taking two extra years to complete my degree because I needed to be proficient enough on the trombone to pass a jury or a recital. With all of the metaphorical sweat equity that went into becoming competent, there was no way I … Read more

Sweets for your sweetheart

Valentine’s Day is coming up (if January ever ends)… A gift that provokes anxiety or guilt (or both!) is not a good gift. If your partner is reducing or eliminating junk food, buying chocolate, cookies, candies, etc. is not a thoughtful thing to do. Likewise, if you’re reducing or eliminating junk food, don’t ask for … Read more

Be happy

I was at physical therapy. There was an older woman finishing up her appointment. She had one of the standard old white lady perms. Her hair was dyed purple, fading. She had on a grey long-sleeved T-shirt with an emerald green short-sleeved T-shirt over it which read BE HAPPY in white letters. And shiny silver … Read more

Giving, generosity, and the humanity of recipients

Thanksgiving. Natural disasters. Christmas. Man-made disasters. Toys. Food. Clothes. Household items. Socks. Diapers. Toiletries. There are always people in need. There are times when, as an outsider, it seems more dire. And so, we have stuff drives. My request to you—and it’s definitely not an original to me—is to be mindful with your donations. The … Read more