Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tiny Change #10: pick a hobby

It may seem ridiculous to suggest that you have time for anything other than upcoming finals, performances, juries, work, homework, and some semblance of a life, but you do.

Even if it's just 10 minutes a day, do something that gives you pleasure. Choose something that has nothing to do with your major, your work, your everyday life...just choose something you enjoy. Lose yourself in it. Notice how you feel afterward, and notice how your return to your work with a greater sense of purpose.

My hobby is calligraphy. I'm not as good as I used to be, but I've found coming back to it great fun. You could try painting, drawing, calligraphy, reading something not for school, or any number of things. Consider picking something you haven't done since you were a kid: you might find a special kind of joy in revisiting something that ignites your inner child. The point is to enjoy, not work at it.

Have fun!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


 UAB Opera and UAB Chamber Singers present a co-production of Donizetti's delightful opera, THE ELIXIR OF LOVE, sung in English. Performances are November 20-21 at 7:30pm in the Alys Stephens Center. For tickets, call 975-ARTS. Student and group rates available!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Tiny Change #9: give yourself a break

Many of us rest only when we think we're done for the day. But have you consider making rest a constructive part of your day? Jim Brody walked many of us through this during his visit last week. Here's a short description of it from the AT web site:

At least once or twice a day, take 2-5 minutes (but no more than 20 minutes) to practice “Constructive Rest.” It will help to restore balance and ease throughout your body and also help you to recognize and prevent interference with that ease throughout the day. Constructive Rest is especially helpful when practiced when waking up in the morning, before going to bed, and at some point during the day, particularly when you’re busy and stressed. 

Here's what it looks like:
Notice the book under his head. Depending on how you feel, you might need one or you might need three, and it may change from day to day. Bending the knees is crucial for taking stress off the low back. I like doing this midway through a practice session, or immediately proceeding one.

I've adopted this evaluative question during my constructive rest: "Is there anything I am doing, consciously or unconsciously, that is unneeded or unwanted?" Then listen for the answer.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Jim Brody returns for Alexander Technique classes

All at UAB--students, faculty, staff--are welcome to join this introduction to the Alexander Technique by Jim Brody, director of the Musicians' Wellness Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Professor Brody joins us as a Jemison Scholar and will be in residence November 4-5. His sessions are always lively and entertaining, as well as educational! Spread the word: while "AT" is especially useful for performing musicians, everyone can benefit. His Convocation in Hulsey Recital Hall on Wednesday at 12:20 is open to the public.

For more information on the Alexander Technique, visit this site.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Eric Agee returns to SNATS this Friday

Exercise for Singers again this week right after performance class! Come at 1:15 in the dance studio (3rd floor Hulsey) for protein bars, helpful tips, and an exercise session with my guru. Come dressed to sweat, and yes, it's okay if you dress for your upcoming exercise in performance class! Eric will be available until 3pm for a Q & A session.

Sponsored by SNATS and USGA.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tiny Change #8: commit

We all know how it feels when a friend or significant other can't commit. They make promises they don't keep, plan for lunch dates that are always canceled, don't follow through when they say they will. After a few (or a few dozen) times, most of us get tired of that and stop asking, stop trusting, stop believing. The friendship or love affair cools, and we move on.

But how about the promises you make to yourself? 

Most of us make promises to ourselves that we don't keep. It erodes our self-esteem, our very sense of self, our belief that we'll ever be trustworthy even to ourselves.

This week, make a promise to yourself that you will keep, no matter what. Even better, do something small each day. See how differently you feel about your own trustworthiness.

It can be tiny. It can be something as seemingly unimportant as deciding what time you're going to go to bed, and doing it. Or refraining from eating something naughty, just for today. Or (God forbid) practicing 10 minutes longer today than you did yesterday. Or not responding to that nasty roommate when normally you would. Or not speeding on the way to school. You get the idea.

See how you feel after a week of keeping your word to the most important person in your life: YOU.