Student Blog: Navigating the November Concert Season


Growing up, the vacation months were always exciting for me. November begins the Christmas performance season and preparation for the end-of-semester holiday concerts. I am shocked to find that I am already approaching the end of the semester and that these performances are coming much faster than I expected.

When you reach halfway through the college semester, most individuals seem exhausted and everyone suffers from some strange illness. I’m recovering from bronchitis and struggling to meet my theatrical production demands. This week will be full of grand openings for our main productions, recital preparation and working in the costume shop.

As an inter-enrolled student, I am fortunate enough to spend time studying jazz vocals at Carnegie Mellon University. Yesterday I had three classes at PItt, found out I forgot my bus pass, then drove to CMU where I spent four hours looking at sheet music. Our manager has informed us that our first concert is in barely ten days. I felt more than a little exhausted.

When I start to feel stressed, I try to take a step back and do something I love. For me, I love to cook. I’ll put on my favorite music or TV show and listen while I create something.

I know that food will give me more energy to complete my tasks and I am proud of myself for creating something new. I put my phone away so I don’t check my e-mails and I ignore text messages. It’s me, my oven and my yorkshire terrier barking when the air fryer rings.

When I feel like things are getting too busy or out of control, I find it necessary to do what everyone thinks you shouldn’t: I take a break. I go home, cook myself a big meal, watch a little TV, work a little, then go to bed early. I make sure that I always enjoy the things that will benefit my personal health: rest and food.

I love anything performance related and the holiday concert series is one of my favorite times of the year. Acknowledging my love for them, I can also recognize that these performances can quickly become stressful when combined with classes, responsibilities and other obligations.

When I start to feel tired or exhausted, I remember why concerts are important to me. Concerts are an opportunity to perform and share your hard work with friends and family. In my heart I know I know the music, I know how to play, I will enjoy it.

When school gets too tough, I think about how I can improve my grades and get things done. My friend and I have a buddy system where we force each other to study. There is a research study that calls this splitting the body. One of us will clean, study, etc. while the other will accomplish its own goals. Having a personal motivator can help each of us achieve our goals and take breaks when needed, making missions less daunting.

Instead of focusing on what hasn’t happened yet and what could go wrong, I’m starting to focus more on why I perform at holiday gigs every year. I look forward to the concerts. They are an opportunity to grow and learn as a performer and to enjoy the holiday season. So I keep taking breaks between the chaos to reflect on how far I’ve come and how exciting it will be to share music with my loved ones.

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