Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summer Doldrums

Sailors and pirates feared that area near the equator of the earth call the Doldrums where there was no wind for the ship's sails to capture and move forward on the journey. Freelance musicians have a time of the year where the gigs, students, and therefore money dries up. That time is called the Summer Doldrums. Little or no money comes in, but you still must press forward and pay your bills. Most times, you can limp by with teaching summer camps, playing weddings, or a trickle of dedicated students that will continue lessons over the summer. I've been lucky with most students sticking through the summer, and usually I have a big composition project that will help us stumble along until we reach the glorious horse latitudes of September.

This summer has been different for me. A majority of my students have been able to go to various away camps, go onto college, or visit the grandparents. My effort to find a commission for the summer has been unsuccessful. I expect this June's paycheck from students will be the lowest of the year. Luckily, we anticipated a hard month, and we made sure we had no credit card debt...until the cat got sick and the hubs was in a car wreck (he's fine!) all in the same week, last week.

It happens. Life decides to see what you can take. So we're taking it. It's helped make a lot of decisions for
us. For example, I won't go to the National Flute Association Convention this year, we won't take a vacation, and we had to sell some stock options to cover the bills. This should get us through the next two months if I can maintain my student load, and hopefully the kiddies come back soon - and if ASCAP could dump a nice performance royalty check in my bank account this month, that would be great.

At least things are stable and I don't have to get another job, for now. I'll just keep writing and hope to sell some music. Maybe I'll get a gig. Maybe I'll get new students. It's all part of living on the edge in a freelance world. I'll keep waiting, and maybe some air will fill the sails of our tiny ship. In the meantime, I'll be on a hardtack diet made of peanut butter sandwiches and tap water for the summer, but it's still worth it! Avast ye, mateys!

If you enjoy my nautical writing, you might enjoy my nautical composing. Listen to "Nautica" for solo piano.

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