Renaissance BITCH

renaissance-bitchOr, “The Mother of All Goal-Setting Acronyms”: Bass, Interdependence, Teaching, Creativity, and Health. 

I kinda have a thing for acronyms – they make it easier to stay focused on key goals (always a good thing for Renaissance People). Since I made my list of five projects, I’ve had to ask myself, “What’s your end-game here?”  Well ladies and gentlemen, here is something resembling an end-game for each of the five areas (with a bonus, easy-to-remember obscene acronym):


  • Current goal: memorize 50 tunes
  • Big goal: be a respected jazz bassist

It’s no secret that I can be rather insecure about my bass playing. While I’m only reliant on it as my primary source of income during teaching off-seasons, I’d still like to do more to increase my visibility as a competent jazz bassist in the area.


  • Current goal: create and stick to budget
  • Big goal: help friends, family, and society be happy

Yeah, right now I’m just struggling to keep my head above water with finances and adulthood in general, but I’m working towards a very hippy-dippy goal of being able to be of service to others – which requires I get my sh*t together first…


  • Current goal: finish drafting e-book
  • Big goal: create a self-directed “professorship”

At some point during my PhD work, it occurred to me that I could – with the right skills – build a career doing all the things that I would do as a professor – teach, write, mentor, etc. – outside of conventional academia. My ultimate goal is to build a portfolio of online and in-person classes/lessons, publications, and workshops to create my dream job.


  • Current goal: blog 4x/week
  • Big goal: be an inspiring and creative blogger

I love blogging and posting my creative projects, but I’ve definitely been inconsistent and often slapdash in my posting. With this and my other blog, I’m hoping to get on a more structured schedule of writing, comic-making, and cross-stitching. Beyond helping to market my forthcoming publications, I’m not as interested in reaching a certain number of views (although I do need to get a lot better at using social media). Instead, I just want to be getting more feedback that I’m making a (positive) difference in peoples’ lives.


  • Current goal: stick to a vegan, gluten-free, whole-foods, budget-friendly diet
  • Big goal: maintain youthful appearance and health

Yeah, yeah, we all want to stay young and live forever, and we can’t. I get it. But having just left academia – where premature aging and poor health are seen as signs of academic rigor – I’m not apologizing for wanting to take care of my body and look halfway decent. I’m doing good with my health habits (diet, sleep, and yoga) but want to do things like update my wardrobe and style.

Renaissance People – do you have a hard time mapping out your various passions and sticking to your goals? What obstacles have you encountered in this process? In future posts, I’ll try to share techniques that have worked well for me.

Author: Leah Pogwizd

Bassist, Instructor, Writer

4 thoughts on “Renaissance BITCH”

  1. If you’re interested in teaching over the internet, I recently blogged about a website called Lessonface that I discovered while looking at bass & theory videos on YouTube. I think you’d be a great fit, considering your experience and credentials – but that’s mainly from reading. I haven’t tried out lessons with any of the instructors yet.

    Here’s a link to the post I wrote, if its helpful:

    1. Thanks for the suggestion and post link! I’m currently just teaching in-person lessons, but at some point would like to start either Skype lessons or go through a platform like Lessonface. I just need to be able to invest the money and learning time into the instructional technologies. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a studio of exclusively jazz bass students – marketing myself this way also helps me set myself apart from other teachers. It’d just be a matter of figuring out which platform(s) to use to reach these kinds of potential students.

      Side note: I get really frustrated by guitar players who take it upon themselves to teach bass lessons, mainly because I’m always having to fix the extermely bad habits of their former students 😛

      1. I’ve never done online lessons, which is ironic considering I design clinical software for nursing homes for a living and am always teaching clinicians remotely. The idea intrigues me though.

        I thought of this for you when I read your post mainly because you’d mentioned off-season work and I remember seeing Lessonface instructors who had secondary education, which was something you could also bring to the table. My thought is that it might be an easier avenue, or a nice second avenue to remote lessons because its a group of people, as opposed to going alone on Skype and advertising for yourself. I’m sure that marking yourself as a jazz bassist would also help set you apart from other instructors on the site.

        I’m also leery of guitarists who teach bass. I understand that functionally, they can play the instrument, but I think its a different mindset and different role from guitar. I don’t have a teacher (I’m actually trying to learn for myself in a semi-structured manner) but I tried out 2, a few years ago. One of them was a pianist/guitarist who also taught bass. He wasn’t bad, but he didn’t read, claimed that all bass playing was pattern-playing, and tried several times to convince me to switch to guitar, which I don’t really have an interest in learning. The other guy was trained in a conservatory in Scotland and had impressive credentials. He mostly liked to talk about himself though, and I told him from the start that there might be times when I can’t make it to a lesson because of client emergencies, and that I’d give him as much advance warning as I could if that happened. On our 3rd week together, one of my nursing home clients had a state survey. These are always surprise visits and are highly stressful for the facilities. They needed me to be available in case they needed help with medical records, and to talk the surveyors through the tech they license from us. I let my instructor know and he blew a gasket. He also wrote me a lengthy email that I showed to my wife (my gf at the time). It was like a bad breakup letter. I also felt like he viewed me more as a paycheck than a human being, so the next week, I called and kindly cancelled our arrangement. I’ve been solo, and erratic, since.

        I do plan on investing time and getting an instructor at some point, but for now, I’ve displaced that need by enrolling our 4-year-old daughter in piano lessons, which I accompany her to.

        Sorry! I just realized how autobiographical I got… Anyway, yeah, Lessonface looks like a nice site, and their underlying tech seems similar to Skype. I haven’t sat down and done a deep comparison though.

      2. It’s all good – I appreciate you sharing your perspective! I think part of the reason it’s taken me a while to launch any sort of online lesson/teaching platform is I’m not super tech- or marketing-savvy, although I suppose that’s a reason to check out existing platforms…

        Sorry you’ve had bad experiences with instructors. When I started out, I made it a point to not be too concerned about cancellations and the like, but was ambivalent because a lot of my friends who were music teachers had very strict policies and contracts in place. Once I had a few (other) work and family emergencies under my belt, I realized that I needed to cut my students some slack because inevitably, I was going to be in that same position of needed to cancel or reschedule.

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