New Dishes

We all get into ruts in our cooking – week after week, the same meals in tight rotation. The challenge is boredom with the food. The advantage is the recipes is familiar, so it takes less thought to prepare. You can make mac & cheese in your sleep, and even some tricky recipes can come together almost mindlessly with enough repetition.

When work commitments slacken, it’s time to be adventurous – pore through cookbooks and magazines, try new recipes, buy ingredients to force yourself to use them. Ultimately, you hope that some will make it into the rotation…maybe superseding a tired dish. Others will be failures that you never make again. That’s the price of the adventure.

The same is true of the music we select for our ensembles. We can lean heavily on a piece, a composer, even a period. Eventually, the patterns begin to get tired or repetitive.

For many of us, summer is the time to try out new things – read through literature, program adventurous new pieces for the fall, maybe grab a few friends to read music together.

You might program some duds. You might pick things too hard, too easy, too esoteric. Things that don’t engage your students or don’t teach the lessons you want to teach.

But you might also find that remarkable piece that does exactly what you need it to do – one that you’ll return to again and again during your career.

You might find a new favorite dish.