Monday, April 23, 2012


The job I'm most qualified for is that of an educator, specifically music.  As part of my education courses, I studied the different types of learners.  After all, if a teacher's job is to get her students to understand something, it's essential that she understand how they might be best able to process the information.

I've known all my life that I'm a visual person, and if I can add a physical action to the learning, all the better.  If I don't write it down, I'll never remember it.  And it's not so much that I need to go back to my notes to remind myself - it's the act of writing something down, of seeing the words on the page.  More times than not, I can remember what I need to just because for the seconds that it took me to write down the information, my focus was on that action, and the information is now something I know. 

It's a little funny then, that I chose music education as my (first) career.  Don't get me wrong - I love music.  I love kids (well, most of them.)  I love being able to teach kids something they didn't know, to be able to watch them grow and develop their skills and to surprise themselves by doing something they never thought they could.  That part of being a music teacher is fantastic.

But I'm really not an aural person.  I love to perform music, and I think I'm pretty good at it.  But the funny thing is, when I'm playing the piano or singing, I "see" the music as much as I hear it.  My voice students know that all the metaphors I use to coax them into proper vocal technique are visual ones.  "Your consonants are clothespins on a clothesline of vowels!"  "You have to breathe like you're a tree sucking water out of the ground through the roots in your toes!"  "You have to sing that phrase like it's flying out that window in front of you!"  Those are the kinds of things I say.  It's rare that I'll throw out something like, "You need to 'warm up' that tone."  Certainly, it's something we vocalists talk about, but what exactly does that mean?  I find 'throwing my voice out the window' way easier to understand than 'warm tone'.  But I know that has a lot to do with how my brain is wired.

Teaching music has worked out really well for me.  I enjoyed the three years I spent as a first- eighth grade general music & chorus teacher, and I'm incredibly grateful for the private music studio I've had for the past 12 years.  It allowed me to keep a toe in my career and contribute to the support of our family while also being able to stay home with my kids.  I know what a rare gift it is to be able to find that kind of balance between having a job and being the mom you want to be.

A couple years ago I fell into designing.  I'll save that story for another day.  But it's not something I ever intended to do, nor is it something I realized I was able to do until I started doing it.  And now I can't believe it took me until my mid-30s to find this creative outlet.  All the pieces are there - it's completely visual, but there is a big physical component to it (the actual making of whatever it is).  It blends together shape, color, texture, form....allows me to draw from whatever attracts my interest.  I get plenty of use out of my math skills and my problem-solving skills.  And at the end of each pattern, I get to play photographer (which I love) or model (which I don't love, but will pretend I do so I can get to the final step - pattern release!)  And I love the interaction I get to have with knitters who contact me about the patterns, and the people who write about their projects on their blogs or Ravelry project pages.  I've found that 99% of knitters are generous, enjoyable, friendly people.  And I'd say that's a larger percentage than you'd find in the general population. :)

Slowly but surely, my designing work is drawing me in.  I try not to get too obsessed most of the time because I still want to be a good mom and take care of my family.  But I understand now what people mean about "finding their passion".  Music is great - I love performing, I love my students, but teaching music has always been a job to me.  My design work is different.  Much of it doesn't feel like a job at all.  I would be knitting and coming up with my own designs even if no one was looking.  I love every single project that I create, and I can't wait to share them with you.  I've been thinking about starting a blog for about six months now and have put it off wondering if I would have enough to say.  (I already have a family blog that I am forever falling behind on posting to!)  But as my knitting and work life keeps steadily taking over more and more real estate on my family blog, I decided it's time to make the split.  Here, it'll be all things crafty & creative, and I'll keep the talk of the kiddos on my family blog.  Hopefully there will be plenty of stories to go around!

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