The Season for P-L-A-Y

music miscellany Jul 31, 2016

To everything there is a season…

There’s an old saying, “Make hay while the sun shines.” Farmers know they must reap the hay in dry weather. If it is gathered when it is wet, it rots before it can be used.

The seasons of the calendar and of our lives flow so seamlessly that it is easy to miss the moments of transition.  Suddenly it seems the leaves are gone from the trees and we can’t remember if we really looked at the changing colors of autumn.

Today I am writing while sitting outdoors basking the glorious high summer in the Pennsylvania mountains. Right now the days are long and warm, and our forest is full of wildlife and rich foliage. But in only a few weeks, the pace of life will change again as the weather cools and teaching and concerts resume. This last full month of summer is my season to “make hay,” to use to the fullest before the hectic whirl begins.

Are you also looking to make use of these weeks, perhaps to make some strides in your music or try something new, but you’re not sure where to start? If so, my P-L-A-Y acronym may be helpful. Each letter refers to a different way you could choose to spend some time and effort to make sure your music gets off to a strong start next season.


This is a wonderful season to prepare for the musical tasks or performances you have coming up in the new season. You can do advance work now, purchasing music, marking parts, learning notes. All this preparation now will save you time and worry later on. And what better way to mark music than sitting by the pool with a refreshing drink?


Is there some aspect of your music that you keep meaning to work on, but never have the time? Maybe you want to strengthen some area of your technique or practice your sightreading. Maybe you want to learn harmony or work on your rhythm or note reading. If you don’t do it now, when will you?


All adventures don’t require sleeping bags and bug spray. Perhaps you have always wanted to try playing jazz or put your hand to composing or improvising. Maybe you want to learn new music or works by new (or new to you) composers. Break free. Explore. You never can tell what you might discover.


Make music to please yourself – not your teacher, your family, your school. Dive deep into your music and connect with what moves you. Then when life pulls you in too many directions, you will have that special place you can return, where you can find peace and joy.

The sun is shining. This is the season. Go make hay.


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