June Newsletter

What a month May was! It was a roller coaster ride of emotion and learning.

I have experienced burnout like never before (more on that later) and that was coupled with the joy of huge accomplishments for myself and my students. And the icing on the cake was being able to go to Chicago for the CS Music Competition and Convention. Let’s start there…

Every year, Classical Singer Magazine hosts this event. The last 2 years it’s been virtual because of the pandemic. So, having it be live this year was a treat! I love it because I get to network, make new friends, and totally be in my element. It’s 3 full days of singing talk and classes from industry professionals. It’s one of those things that makes my heart so happy. I have decided that this is one of those events I need to participate in every year and I will encourage my singer friends and students to participate also.

On another note, several of my students competed in the North Carolina Music Teachers Association competition. 2 of those students received Highest Honors and got the chance to compete at the state level. Those same 2 students received Highest Honors at state. I could not be prouder of Arya Kamath and Neer Jain for all of their hard work and dedication. These 2 intelligent and talented young ladies will have the opportunity to sing at the NCMTA convention in October. Congratulations to both of them and their families!

Finally, let’s talk about burnout. I thought I knew what it was but then May happened. By the time May rolled around, I had participated in 3 productions and 1 studio concert, filmed 4 videos (only 2 of which made it to air), and continued to teach a full studio of private students and 3 classes at The Homeschool Experience. That was on top of all of my regular duties and responsibilities at home. My husband and children were incredibly understanding, patient, and supportive, but I was exhausted. I was at the point where I didn’t have room in my heart and in my mind to care about my level of production or output. That, my friends, is burnout. I was no longer physically or mentally able to produce my best and I didn’t care. But still I kept pushing on.

Now, there is something to be said for holding on until the end and honoring one’s commitments. This is something very important for me. None of my tasks were particularly difficult, they were just very demanding. No one was mistreating me or belittling my work; the environment was not toxic by any means. In fact, there was always a lot of positivity and support and my students are awesome. I was just tired.

And, amidst all of this burnout was the light of hope that I was still making a difference in the lives of my students. One example: a kid in one of my classes who just would rather have been anywhere but my class. The day of his class performance his mom told me how he thought I was the coolest thing ever because I had a YouTube channel. My 30-minute Musical class inspired him to write scripts and a book (he’s 7). And he killed it on the day of his performance. It taught me an important lesson: you never know how far-reaching your influence is. Also, kids are always listening even if they don’t seem like it.

All in all, the past 5 months have been very trying. But you know what I know? If you want to grow, if you want to be better, if you want to be anything good, hard work is required. I feel like my voice has leveled up because of all of the singing; my capacity for time management has improved; the realization that I am capable of more than I give myself credit for is clearer; I am more confident; and the only thing holding me back are my perceived barriers and unrealistic expectations. That’s a lot!

Happy Summer!

Fran Bushman