Well, it finally happened. After almost two years of professional wandering, Claire and I have settled down. And when I say finally, I mean that it happened around six months ago. Given my awesome track record of updating this blog, that feels like the appropriate length of time to wait before posting about it.
Seattle, Washington will be our home for the foreseeable future, and I gotta say, it feels great to have a long term address again. Moving every three to five months is a great way to experience living in a lot of different places, but just the act of filling out the staggering list of past residences every time I applied for a new job or short term lease has caused more than one panic attack.
Speaking of jobs, I wasted no time getting back in the ol’ teaching saddle, and the results have been a mixture of positives and negatives. One positive is that Seattle, like just about anywhere else in the world, contains plenty of people who want to learn to play piano and sing. In a world where automation will soon threaten jobs in just about every field, I feel pretty confident about people continuing to pay their fellow humans to teach them music.
The negative side of that is that Seattle is already overrun with music teachers who have lived here all their lives and established themselves long before I even set foot here. In and of itself, it’s not really that big of a problem. Like I said, there’s plenty of potential students here. I don’t need thousands of them, just a couple dozen or so. But it does present a fresh challenge: I have no community presence here, no one who can vouch for me. Sure, I’ve got a few good Yelp reviews, but those are years old and from the opposite coast. And in the meantime, there’s bills to pay.
So I did what many have done before me: I sold out. I hired on with two different established companies here to get introduced to the musical community. It has felt a little disorienting going from a free-wheeling independent to a mysterious new guy. Starting over is never easy, it seems. I should know, having had lots of practice over the past two years. But what’s the alternative? Unemployment? Hit the lottery? Time-travel? A bare minimum of one of those things is absolutely never going to happen for me.
This brings me to the greatest positive of this whole experience. A wise man once told me that learning what you don’t want is just as important–if not more important–as finding out what you do want. Teaching f’s or companies again has reminded me of why I struck out on my own in the first place: being an employee sucks.
I don’t mean to disparage anyone caught in the proverbial rat race or throw shade at these companies themselves. I just dislike submitting to someone else’s way of doing things, especially considering that I have already tasted the freedom of doing it for myself. It’s kind of like switching from decaf coffee to regular before circumstances force you to switch back to decaf. I assume. I don’t know that I’ve ever willingly consumed decaf coffee.
For now, I’m alright teaching for someone else while I get my own studio up and running. (Fun fact: that’s exactly how I got the first studio off the ground). And it looks like it might happen sooner than expected. I recently found a place near my neighborhood that rents a room with a piano for a very reasonable cost. It has some less than ideal qualities (more on that in a different post) but at the end of the day, it still has everything I really need.
So yeah, as demoralizing as starting from scratch once again feels sometimes, I’m gonna continue soldiering on. After all, I was the best boss I ever had and I can’t wait to work for me again.