I’ve been waylaid in the last 2 weeks on writing a new post because I have been busy dreaming. I’ve been having a lot of conversations with people about what their next steps in life are going to be. I am personally at a point in my professional life where I’m no longer an extreme newbie. I’m a bit more settled into who I am as a career-person, but still fresh enough to want to keep climbing, often searching for what is next. My husband is in the same place, and we are continually discussing how we identify our next professional step. We are also often assessing the areas in our career that need nurturing and growth to move on to those next steps. A simpler way to put it is that we feel content in what we do, but not quite satisfied.
When you move to a new city where a music therapy job is not immediately available, it takes a long time to cultivate relationships and connections to create MT jobs or find appropriate private clients. I’ve been lucky to have some part-time work made available to me within 6 months of moving here. It has kept me connected to MT and allowed my skills to stay fresh. But it certainly hasn’t kept me quite busy enough. I’ve been supplementing my time with other related jobs to fill my schedule but they really haven’t been working towards any big dreams. They’ve been helping me, little by little, to continue making new connections and creating relationships with people in order to put myself out in the community and become a new member of that community.
It’s always difficult though to simply wait for those connections and community membership to produce results. I’ve spent many days in the last year feeling like I had no purpose except to feed the cat. And maybe, do the dishes. But, if you are patient enough to wait and to settle yourself in the discomfort of waiting, you might become more aware of the movement that is working to produce those results.
Last week I had the privilege of presenting an in-service on Music Therapy to the Professional and Business Women of St. Petersburg. This had been scheduled about 5 months prior to the presentation and I had almost forgotten about it, until I had flipped through my planner a few weeks ago. This was a perfect example of something that was gradually moving underneath my waiting, and revealed itself to be a great result. I presented to many important women in the St. Petersburg area, but more importantly, to women who wanted to know more about music therapy. I was told after my presentation that not all of the women attend every meeting, but instead choose to attend the meetings that have programs of interest to them. This was a great compliment to me knowing that the women who were present were women who wanted to learn about music therapy! Although there were no direct results from this presentation, I do believe that it connected me more to the community and created advocacy for the profession that otherwise would have been missing.
Although I absolutely love giving presentations on MT and advocating for the profession, it does not usually transfer into a full-time position. (And if it does, who can I talk to about applying?!). Even though this presentation last week was a nice treat for me, I still had to return to figuring out my next steps in my professional life. The reason why I’ve been busy dreaming over the last 2 weeks is because I really want to open a piano studio. I have loved teaching lessons in the past and it was something I really felt was missing after moving. The only problems I immediately encountered were that: I didn’t have a piano, and my house isn’t really big enough to teach lessons out of.
So then, I really started dreaming. I would get lost in what I wanted to do, and the details of executing those thoughts. I then began to ask myself, how do I know that this is a dream worth pursuing and makes the most sense for a next professional step? I considered my answer to be yes, when I simply couldn’t stop thinking about it. Every day I would think, how can this help me get closer to opening my piano studio? You know when someone makes a joke more than a few times, you realize that they aren’t really joking, but are instead revealing a truth? This was the same here. My husband and I have always joked about my music therapy sessions being called “music therapy time”. He has always asked, “How was music therapy time today”? We thought that would be an excellent MT private practice name.
Do you see where I’m going with this? We are dreaming big over here; considering how we can start a small business, such as teaching piano lessons to a reasonable amount of students, and learning how to run it in preparation for something even bigger in the future. So far, the learning curve hasn’t been easy. Each day I have to dream a bit more in order to keep up the optimism and energy for an idea that will constantly be challenged (mainly by my husband who is super pragmatic, logical, and excellent with all things numbers) but has worth. We are content, but are really just beginning.