January 2016 Newsletter

0116IconI’m very excited about the start of 2016! I’ve already started increasing my productivity and focusing more on my various passions. In this month’s newsletter: my winter teaching/lesson schedule, a new ensemble, and dealing with a glass back that I inherited from my father.

Performances and Teaching

Now that the holidays are over, I’m back to a lighter gig schedule (see Calendar for gigs that I pick up during the month). However, I’m also doing a lot more teaching this quarter.

  • As always, I’m playing with pianist Ann Reynolds at Serafina Restaurant – January 10th and 24th  (6:30pm – 9:00pm)
  • I’ve just posted my schedule for Lessons: I’ll be teaching Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons at Jazz Night School; I’ll also be offering lessons at my home Sunday late morning to early afternoon (Contact me for more information)
  • I’ve already started teaching combo at JNS, and am looking forward to starting up with teaching my continuing education courses (for more information, see my Courses page)


  • Tomorrow, I resume my role as music director for Northwest Jazz Big Band and am excited for not one, but two upcoming gigs! (I’ll post concert information in future newsletters)
  • Staring either February or March, I will be playing full-time with the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra (SWOJO); I’m very excited to be working with such a talented group of musicians playing fun and challenging music – I’ll post more soon!

Practice Notes

  • Last December, after two weeks of non-stop gigs/rehearsals, my shoulders and back gave out. Growing up, my dad was constantly throwing out his back (my mom lovingly referred to it as his “glass back”). After seeing how incapacitating it was for him (he’d often miss several days of work), I wanted to take this seriously. Long story short – what made the most difference was taking a day or two off from playing and (most importantly) allowing myself plenty of time to get ready for gigs/rehearsals so that I could load my gear in and out slowly – no more leaving the house with my bass, amp, and music stand all strapped to me. As is often the case, this solution seemed simple, but actually required a great deal of behavioral modification and rearranging of my schedule.
  • I’ll address this issue more in future posts, but I cannot describe what a difference it has made to have jazz and bass be my primary area of focus. It has allowed me to streamline my schedule and given me a greater sense of purpose and identity. While I still identify as a Renaissance Person with multiple passions/interests, I’ve had to acknowledge the power of having a primary focus.

Author: Leah Pogwizd

Bassist, Instructor, Writer

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