Why A New Blog?

Why a new blog? Well, this is actually a resurrection, a re-assignation of my blog previously found on my professional website www.free2create.com. I’ve moved for a very specific reason- I want to expand the areas I’m writing about.

Yes, I’m a professional musician, teacher and coach. I’m also, like you, much more than what I do. I’ve learned the hard way not to be over-identified with my career.

Twelve years ago, an injury which turned into a chronic health condition stopped me in my tracks as a professional concert pianist in London. Deprived of my livelihood, I also swiftly discovered that I felt deprived of my identity, my whole sense of self. Not wanting to face the classic question, “What do you do?” at parties, I stayed home. Well-meaning friends who suggested I use my fluent French and German to find another job couldn’t understand why I was in such a state of shock and grief, unable to take action.

I couldn’t remember not being able to play the piano. I couldn’t remember learning to read music. As far back as I could remember, I had been a pianist, developing discipline through daily practice,  entering competitions and winning cups and medals throughout my childhood, immersing my romantic teenage self in Debussy, Prokofiev and Granados, protecting my hands by avoiding dangerous sports.

Suddenly, from one day to the next (February 28th to March 1st, 1997), I was deprived of the priceless resources of musical expression and communication, the pleasure of using my many years of experience to coach and accompany opera singers at the piano, and the reputation I had assiduously built as a skilled, rock-solid performer.

And so began a journey: to discover who I am beyond what I do for a living or even as a vocation, and to value myself regardless of what I do or don’t do. To find new means of expressing myself creatively. To develop new ways of working with other professional musicians and with my students. To learn and grow beyond my preconceptions. To share what I’ve learned through many years of personal growth and evolution.

Today, I’m teaching piano, I’m a professional life coach for musicians (following a Masters degree in Psychology) and I’m working on a memoir of my experiences. I am particularly interested in working with musicians through the challenges of stress, injury, disillusionment and lack of direction that are so frequently encountered along the road. I’m also fascinated to encounter those who have experienced great challenges in their lives and to learn more about how they overcame them.

I miss the piano, but I don’t miss who I was back then. And I wouldn’t sacrifice what I’ve learned for anything.

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell

8 Responses to “ Why A New Blog?”

  1. This is so lovely, Val! I’m really glad you’ve opened yourself up to explore more areas than your previous incarnation of this blog allowed you. You’re doing the same unfolding and trusting of yourself in your writing for TWG. Onward with courage (which you possess in abundance)! The Joseph Campbell quote is delicious. xoxo,

  2. Valerie, thank you for this lovely reflection on the value of life’s challenges. I LOVED the quote you ended with. Just the thing for a twenty-something like me who is learning to give up my expectations about life! It seems to me you have a beacon of light stemming from your experiences to share with others.

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