I earned this cold. I earned it by burning the candle at both ends all semester long, staying up late to write or wind reeds even though I had to be up early to teach, forcing the second practice session instead of the nap, caffeinating instead of exercising to get through my afternoon lessons.
Finally, I earned it by giving in and teaching my final student last week, who was obviously ill and mucusy, instead of sending her right back out to her mom’s car with a Christmas cookie and a smile as I briefly considered doing.
As a performer I don’t think twice about going to work sick. I have played concerts with a bottle of cough syrup beside me that I drank like water. I have played with broken ribs and recently excavated wisdom teeth. It takes a pretty serious illness to keep me home, because that’s what it means to be professional. There isn’t a co-principal oboe waiting in the wings to slide into my seat and cover my job, and when I play freelance gigs it’s an article of faith that I will be there, early, come rain or shine or just about anything. If I’m not there I don’t get paid, and maybe I don’t even get hired back.
HOWEVER, if it’s about being one-on-one in a small room with students all day long, I am much more likely to cancel. If you as a student are thinking of coming and sharing your germs with the captive presence of your teacher, I would say think again. Your music study won’t suffer that much by missing a single week, and your teacher will appreciate it. A word to the wise!
Happy New Year Everyone!