Oh no, the dreaded “B” word! Who doesn’t hate the idea of budgeting anything? I mean budgets involve discipline, and sacrifice and deprivation, what a downer! But if we don’t learn this skill of budgeting at some point in our lives we will always be in lack – financially, physically, emotionally, mentally….. it’s just a fact of life and something that all of our students need to learn in order to succeed as musicians.
I started working on a graphic for my students this morning that divided their lives into three segments: Regular Life, Work Life, and Weekends. In their regular life I put things like sleeping, eating and personal care. Who knew that you had to budget time for those things? Obviously some of my students don’t know that! They think they can sleep 3-4 hours a night, forget to eat and remain healthy. Wrong!
The amount of times I had students cancel last semester because they were sick was astounding. Now I know that there are still residuals of the pandemic around, but a lot of what my students were dealing with was self-imposed. No sleep, eating candy as a meal and taking no time for themselves…..yep that’s a wreck waiting to happen right there!
Convincing them that these things are essential is going to be a hard sell I have a feeling. I mean, this is a total of 12 hours a day – 8 for sleeping, 1 for exercise or down time, 1 for personal care – like showering and not showing up to class in their pajamas, and 2 hours for eating throughout the day. What? I have to spend half of my budget on taking care of myself? Uh yeah. That’s how you survive!
In the segment of their work life, I included everything that had to do with school. This one surprised even me, mostly because we have kids who are commuting a couple of hours a day, and working 4-6 hours a day. This leaves them a total of 6 hours to go to all of their classes and do homework and practice. It’s possible, but man it’s going to be tight! This would explain the students who would come to coaching and literally have panic attacks while we were working. The stress is unbelievable!
This is where the weekend segment comes in. I know when I was in school, I used to sleep until noon on Saturday. Then I’d get up, have lunch with friends or family, clean up my room, organize things for the next week, do laundry, work on backed up homework, etc., etc., etc. Sunday was a “free day”. I went to church in the mornings, but the rest of the time I could do whatever I wanted. This cannot be overstated. A week without a day of rest/recreation just turns us all into robots. I mean I know that we all do this at the end of the semester and forget to take a day to rejuvenate because there is just so much music to learn and so many performances to give. But I also know, if I do this too many weeks in a row, I am a wreck!
I haven’t tried this with my students yet. It might be a miserable failure. But my theory is that we can actually figure this out with them and let them see how they are spending their time. Some of the ones who say they have no time also sit in the student lounge area and talk and talk and talk instead of practicing! Some oversleep and can’t get going in the morning, oh yeah, because they went to bed at 2 am! This is going to take some work, but I think it will be worth it.
I’ll get back to you on the outcome after we get going with the semester and see how it plays out. Only “time” will tell.