Last fall, I was knee deep in booking concerts to promote my upcoming original solo piano album Central Star. I contacted venues all over the country, created a spreadsheet, got my pauladreyer.com website completely revamped, and started reaching for the stars. The first venue to accept was the prestigious Old First Concerts of San Francisco. This was an easier one to book, as I have played there multiple times in the past so I already had a relationship with them. This was an exciting time for me, as it was the first time that I was inquiring about solo performances featuring my own compositions. For the past 20 years, I have performed heavily as a musical band member, an accompanist, orchestral pianist, as a classical chamber musician, a flamenco/latin ensemble performer, and a member of a contemporary chamber jazz ensemble. After years and years of fulfilling musical collaborations, I suddenly found myself in the middle of Central Oregon, as our family decided to leave the city life and retreat to the mountain town of Bend. Without my ties to a musical community, I started creating on my own.
How tired are you of hearing about pivoting during times of Corona? But, we must do it. People all over the world had plans. They had plans, dreams, visions, and goals for 2020. So many of these plans cannot come to fruition, so we must pivot. We can sit and wait. Or, we can roll with it and create new opportunities for ourselves. Did you read my blog post about Resiliency? I was so excited for 2020 and then during the first week of the year, I had some disappointments. I didn’t know it at the time, but that week of disappointments that launched me into 2020 was merely the beginning in a string of events that no one could have possibly imagined. My children home with me 24/7 for months on end? People wearing masks everywhere I turn? My whole teaching world existing purely online? Yoga retreat in Hawaii- cancelled. Concerts in San Francisco and Portland- cancelled. Dance performance set to my music in Miami- cancelled (most likely).
I am not one to sit around and wait for things to happen for me. I believe we have to create opportunities for ourselves. Instead of focusing on the disappointments of what could have or should have been, I am focusing on what can be. I launched my highly successful online Piano Flow Summer Intensive where we learn about improvisation, composition, technique, yoga, and the power of a positive and focused mindset, and I will most likely offer something similar in the fall. I am putting the finishing touches on my album. I am working on a new Little Gems for Piano book and a children’s book about creativity. I am composing new material for internationally renowned pedagogue Tim Topham ‘s inner circle. I was particularly proud of a video I worked on of dancers from all around the world who danced in free form to no music. A dance photographer compiled the video and reached out and asked if I would like to set my music to the video. I thoroughly enjoyed timing my music to the dancers’ energies and movements. Be sure to watch the video below.
I am posting performances from my album and musical meditations regularly on social media. I even performed the whole album on a Facebook Live and invited the neighbors to set up chairs in our front yard. This weekend, I am live streaming the entire album and more from the comfort of my home. Am I disappointed that I don’t get to go down to the bay area, visit with friends and family, perform on a gorgeous Steinway in a beautiful church in front of some of my most treasured community? Absolutely! However, I am taking it with grace and putting forth my greatest effort to perform a beautiful show. I am focusing on how grateful I am to be able to perform it for people all over the world, not simply people in the bay area. If you’d like to “attend”, simply click here.
No one knows how long this pandemic will last and how long public gatherings will be limited, therefore highly impacting the arts. Now, more than ever, we must find a way to speak our voice, to express our creativity, and to touch souls through our gifts. The world from just a few months ago looks very different from today. How can you adjust to this new reality and still find a way to shine your light? It might not be in an ideal way, but it sure beats sitting in the dark and waiting for things to change. I have really enjoyed watching documentaries lately about musicians- John Coltrane, Quincy Jones, Linda Rondstadt, and currently Bob Dylan. This is my favorite line from Bob:
“Life isn’t about finding yourself or finding anything, life is about creating yourself.” ~Bob Dylan
I have to say, I fully agree with you, Bob.