Sunday, March 18, 2018

2018: Current Work

A post shared by Chris Foley (@foleymeister) on

Until this last week, the Collaborative Piano Blog has been on hiatus for a year and many of you are probably wondering why there have been no new posts for so long. A short answer: this has been one of my busiest years for work, and I find myself at a cognitive overload. It has also been a difficult year for me personally, as my mother passed away in September, while my father has recently moved to a nursing home. Next year I plan to cut back on a few things, as I realize that writing is very important to me, and I would once again like to make blogging a primary activity for me in the 2018-19 season. This means that I need to start planning now.

This is my 24th year in the profession following grad school, and my 16th year in the Toronto area after an initial 8 years working in Vancouver. Here are my current professional responsibilities:

  • I teach 67 students in total, including 6 singers in The Glenn Gould School’s Vocal Literature class, 6 piano students in The Royal Conservatory School, and 55 students at my home studio in Oakville
  • As an Examiner for The Royal Conservatory’s Certificate Program, I travel across North America to assess developing musicians of all ages and levels. 
  • I serve as Adjudicator Certification Program Specialist at The Royal Conservatory's Academic Office. In short, I'm on the team that trains the next generation of examiners for The Royal Conservatory's College of Examiners. 
  • My wife and I manage Foley Music and Arts, a company that encompasses all our non-employment professional activities. 
  • I'm on the music staff for Temple Sinai's High Holy Days. Although I’ve had to limit collaborative projects recently, my duties at Temple Sinai are incredibly satisfying, and this is an engagement that I find more meaningful every year. 
  • I'm the current President of the Hamilton-Halton Branch of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers' Association. This year marks nearly 25 years in a row where I've sat on a volunteer executive committee. Although I've found that governance of volunteer organizations highly rewarding, I've found it exhausting and it's time for a break. My volunteer duties will be significantly curtailed in the coming year, and it's this change in my schedule that I hope will open up time and cognitive space to become an active blogger once again. 
The shift from working exclusively as a collaborative pianist to moving towards piano pedagogy began back in 2006 and has completely revamped my professional activities and outlook. The balance between institutional and private work at present also provides plenty of variety and challenge.

In the next while, look for more posts on the nature of work in the teaching and performing professions, as well as how technology is changing things irrevocably for all of us.

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