On a completely related note…

As I get into the meat of my career exploration, it becomes readily apparent that I cannot truly delve into what it is I really want to do with one hand behind my back. I have to throw my entire heart, my entire self and everything I am into the creative fire to become the “Career Phoenix.” I have to put everything onto the metaphorical table, the foibles, the weaknesses, the not-so-picturesque moments of my life. Including the awkward, painful, unflattering moments of my life which have much to teach me about who I am and what I’d prefer to be.

And then, there are the boring and seemingly mundane passages of time where I seem to be spinning my wheels but am really, in the big picture, accomplishing important things. Like living in the plateau just before water boils. Like the “ahas” in the 11th hour practicing before the concert.

Which brings me into the other part of my life. The one that is currently feeding me with a sense of purpose and direction during this career exploration. The more interesting one that people would rather talk about. The one that my mentors in my last role said I can pursue now post-layoff. The one that has just always been there whether I wanted it or not. The one that has had the highest pinnacles and the lowest depths of raw emotion for me. My career as a professional violinist.

I haven’t posted a blog post in nearly a month because I have been grappling with a monster from my past. We have been wrestling for weeks. It has been an anguished fight, but one that has given me courage I didn’t know I had to face the orchestral past I have been running from for 15 years.

As my life coach led me to find what I am moving toward, he helped me realize that respect was a core value for me. A job coach also observed from my blog that honesty is an important value for me. Another job coach commented on my leadership style that inspiration is another value for me. A catalyst person opened the door and said “Why don’t you?” I froze, stammered and bared my “plain as day” terror in front of a hundred people at a networking event. I closed my eyes, and bravely took that first step.

I found myself face to face across the dinner table with the conductor and her partner. She worked on me, overcoming objections as she has in recruiting so many reluctant women before me.  Orchestras need violinists, a lot of violinists (dozens). It is the bane of any conductor to constantly be recruiting violinists. Even more, a junior orchestra is being formed to help as a feeder orchestra to train musicians for this orchestra and they watched 3 mentors slip through their fingers. The conductor had me within her sights, and wasn’t going to let me go escape.

Over dinner, we bonded as music geeks loudly carrying on about electronic music composition. The conductor invited me to mentor the junior orchestra and BAM! It was the nexus of those three values combined with the force of an atom bomb.

Now that I have had a chance to recover a bit from the shock of the blast, I have been looking back at the assessments I have completed. I really enjoy so many aspects of being a Retail District Manager. It has the advantage of being a clean slate for me.

I really enjoy being a professional violinist, too. But that path is fraught with emotional land mines carefully laid over the course of 30 years I have played the instrument. The violin has been as intimate to me as a cell phone is to most people. Except that the cell phone has not existed for 30 years. Childhood, high school, college, 1st job out of college and so many weddings, violin students, and performances since. Violin is so intensely personal as the only constant in my life from age 8 to today. I don’t own the same actual instrument, but the experience is so organic to who I am. As I look at my Facebook photos, only about 5 of 243 show me doing non-musical, non-theater, non-radio work and another 5 were from a camping trip I was invited fiddle at.

As I continue to mull over these insights and let them percolate into my overall career strategy, I will share the accomplishments I have overlooked. I will take this moment to be proud of my hard work and to own what is mine. And I will deliver at the request of so many I have met in my networking. I will be spending the coming weeks thinking of the aspects of both careers in which I thrive to decide my new direction.

3 recordings which feature me
1. Dogs in Doublets, “Dark Cutesy” http://kunaki.com/msales.asp?PublisherId=116418 (all but 3 songs)

2. Mark Abdilla, “Celtic Island” http://www.markabdilla.com/samples.htm
(Banished Misfortune, Foggy Dew, The Butterfly samples)
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/markabdilla6 (about half the CD)

3. Sea Dogs, “Everyone Loves Singing Pirates”  http://www.savageresearch.com/jester/elsp.html (on Dark Lady)

Upcoming Shows: (best chance to hear me is the 3rd event in Hollister)

September 9: Leading a jam at the Berkeley Old Time Music Convention at the Freight & Salvage  http://www.berkeleyoldtimemusic.org/

September 11-12: Performing with the Merrie Pryanksters English Renaissance Country Dance Troupe at the Ardenwood Renaissance Faire in Fremont  http://www.ardenwoodfaire.com/

September 18-19 thru October 16-17: Strolling fiddler with the Northern California Renaissance Faire at Casa de Fruta in Hollister  http://www.norcalrenfaire.org/stage.html

October 30-31: Strolling fiddler at the 99 Renaissance Festival at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton http://www.99renaissancefestival.com/Index.html

November 14: Performing with the Community Women’s Orchestra in Oakland at a special Children’s Concert featuring music from “Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire”  http://communitywomensorchestra.org/wordpress/next-concert/

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About Shelly Crouse-Monarez

Violin Performer and Mentor
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One Response to On a completely related note…

  1. Chrisfs says:

    Go For It Shelly!

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