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New York, New York


A New York harpist trying to figure things out - and the mishaps and adventures that inevitably ensue.

No More First Days of School

Kathryn Sloat

For the first time in my life, September does not mean the start of another school year, but the start of my life as a full-time musician. It's a strange feeling, especially because as a freelancer I don't always know when, or even if, I'll have work. Halfway through July I started to panic because I didn't have any gigs lined up for the fall yet. What if September hit and I had nothing to play, nothing to do? I confided this fear in my teacher and she told me not to worry, that things would come up. 

So far, she has been right. I recently applied for, and accepted, a job playing at a theater in Pennsylvania. For a month I get to live in the countryside, playing one of my favorite musicals (The Fantasticks), employed full-time as a performing musician. The fact that I am going off somewhere with a job to start the fall has alleviated some of the weirdness about not going back to school, but it still feels strange to not be going over my class schedule in my head, wondering who my professors will be, and how much homework I'll have. 

Weirdness aside, it feels really great to be done with school. I love feeling now I have the freedom to do what I want, and play what I want. It sounds corny, but the feeling of possibility is a little overwhelming. I'm sure that will die down a little once the student loan bills start rolling in, but for now, I'm enjoying it. 

I don't really know what I will do once this job is over at the beginning of October and I head back to New York City - if I'll be able to support myself through playing and teaching, or if I'll have to get an unrelated "day job." I've always been a little of wary of anything that might make me miss a gig - I've said yes to every performance opportunity I've had in the past two years, and I wouldn't want a job that would get in the way. I would also rather have less money and be able to practice and work on my own projects, than to have more money by putting those things on the back burner. I hope that what my teacher told me will continue to prove true, that things will come up. I know she would tell me not to worry.


So, to everyone starting school next week, happy first day of school! I am glad to be finished - it's been a long time coming.