23: The Most Important Habit that Contributes to Your Success

Conductor's Podcast Wisdom Series

What's the most important habit that you have and keep that you believe contributes to your success?

Welcome to the episode no.2 of ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐‚๐จ๐ง๐๐ฎ๐œ๐ญ๐จ๐ซโ€™๐ฌ ๐๐จ๐๐œ๐š๐ฌ๐ญ ๐–๐ข๐ฌ๐๐จ๐ฆ ๐’๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ฌ, a new monthly series full of shared life experiences and, of course, wisdom!ย 

In each episode, I am going to pose a question to 10 musicians, conductors, or business gurus. So including myself, you will hear all the goodies from a wide array of people, thus called the wisdom series.ย 

Today’s question that I am asking my people, is โ€œ๐™’๐™๐™–๐™ฉโ€™๐™จ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ข๐™ค๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™ž๐™ข๐™ฅ๐™ค๐™ง๐™ฉ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™๐™–๐™—๐™ž๐™ฉ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช ๐™๐™–๐™ซ๐™š ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™ ๐™š๐™š๐™ฅ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช ๐™—๐™š๐™ก๐™ž๐™š๐™ซ๐™š ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™ž๐™—๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™š๐™จ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง ๐™จ๐™ช๐™˜๐™˜๐™š๐™จ๐™จ?โ€

For me, the most important habit is to โ€œ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ถ๐˜‡๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ฒ๐—น๐—น.โ€ย 

Ready to hear what my guests have to say?ย 

My guests today are:

  • Lily Ling (Music Director, Hamilton – episode 21)
  • Jennifer Kane (Founder, NOVA Women’s Choral Project – episode 15)
  • Ashley Kilam and Carrie Blosser (Co-Founder, Diversify the Stand – episode 20)
  • Tiffany Chang (opera and orchestra conductor, episode 4),
  • Kira Omelchenko (Conductor, Wilfrid Laurier University Symphony Orchestra – episode 22)
  • B.E. Boykin (Composer and Conductor – episode 25)
  • Margaret Flood (Founder, Frost Young Women Conductor Symposium
  • Noreen Green (Conductor, Los Angeles Jewish Symphony – episode 27),
  • and my dear friend Michelle Rofrano (Founder, Protrestra, episode 3)

Links Mentioned in Today's Episode

Instagram:ย @theconductorspodcastย /ย @tingchaowen

Website:ย www.chaowenting.com

Facebook:ย Chaowen Ting

Chaowen: 0:02
Hi everyone, this is Chaowen recording in May 2023. After finishing the first season of The Conductor’s Podcast, I have decided to give this podcast project, a dedicated website with more user friendly functions. So now we have a brand new website called theconductorspodcast.com. Straightforward, right? And now we also have its own Instagram handle. It’s also the same, @theconductorspodcast. So all the show notes have been moved to the new side, and I invite you to come check out all the resources and happy listening.

Chaowen: 0:52
Hey there welcome to The Conductor’s Podcast. I’m your host Chaowen Ting, a conductor with over 20 years of experience working with professional symphony orchestras, opera houses, new music groups, and vocalist. I’m also founder of Girls Who Conduct and have mentored hundreds of conductors from across the globe. I created The Conductor’s Podcast to share all the behind-the-scenes secrets with you while I interview conductors, musicians and business grows from around the world. This is a space created for conductors, conducting student musicians and non musicians who are curious and interested in learning more about the profession, craft, industry and business.

Chaowen: 1:39
Shy away from the real talk? No way. Money, hardship, growth and the roller coaster of a conducting career are all topics we discuss here.I will give you a simple, actionable step by step strategies to help you take action on your big dream. Move through the fear that’s holding you back and have a real impact. Now, pull up a seat, make sure you’re cozy and get ready to be challenged and encourage while you learn.

Chaowen: 2:13
Hi there, happy February and welcome to the February edition of The Conductor’s Podcast Wisdom Series, a new series full of shared live experiences, and of course, wisdom. I’m your host Chaowen Ting and I am thrilled that you’re tuning in with me today. In each of the monthly episodes of The Conductor’s Podcast Wisdom Series, I am going to pose a question to 10 musicians, conductors or business gurus. So including myself, you will hear all the goodies from a wide variety of people, thus called The Wisdom Series. Now, without further ado, let’s get started.

Chaowen: 2:57
This month’s question that I am asking my people is, what’s the most important habit that you have that you believe contributes to your success?

Chaowen: 3:09
For me, it’s always assessing your priority and make changes on a small scale. Every night before I go to bed. I quickly review what I have the next day and have a mental preparation of what are the two or three most important things that I absolutely need to accomplish, and what are the things that can wait if needed. In the morning, the first thing I do after waking up is to check my emails and messages.

Chaowen: 3:41
Okay, I know a lot of Business Insider or online self care gurus will say that it’s a terrible idea. But because I have family and also professional connections overseas, checking messages, let me know if there’s anything urgent that I need to take care of right away. I also quickly review my calendar of the day to see if I need to adjust my get to do list a little bit. So I will have a peace of mind.

Chaowen: 4:12
On a larger scale. I often plan for the next six weeks, as I can’t take care of things further away. But the theory is the same. I need to have a clearer idea of what needs to be done the when, such as new pieces to learn or writing commitment for publication and my other project timelines or various many milestones for my various projects under girls who conduct and of course, the many activities for family. If you’re a parent, you will know that they are sometimes be easier than you are with birthday invitations, dance and choir recitals sport team meet and turn tournaments, school events, exams and so on. While constantly evaluating your current priority, know what to let go and be prepared to be flexible.

Chaowen: 5:09
My guest today’s are Kristin Roach, she is an opera conductor, and my guest and Episode No. 12.

Chaowen: 5:19

Kristin: 5:22
It’s something I had to learn. But I think I am so protective of my calendar now. And what that means is, I put everything on it, whether that’s going into the grocery store, or time to answer emails, or time to score study, practice meetings, I put everything on that calendar.

Kristin: 5:50
And when my children were at home, they have their own calendars. And I use Google Calendar because you can have a bunch of different ones, but it doesn’t even matter what type you use.

Kristin: 6:02
What I have found that is most advantageous for is when surprises happen. I can look at my calendar and say, Okay, I am I needing to go take care of this emergency, or I’m being invited to go to dinner, or whatever it is, when last minute things come up, I can look at my calendar and see what it is I will need to reschedule in order to say yes to this opportunity, or what I won’t be able to reschedule and then I can feel very gracious in just saying no, I’m sorry, I can’t. Or I can look ahead and say, but could you do Friday morning at 9am.

Kristin: 6:42
Before I started doing this, I would always give away the time I had set for myself to do some physical exercise or score study or whatever. And I was always frantic, like, why don’t I have any time for me? Well, this is why, because I was not accurately accounting for all the different things that I need to do. As a university teacher, I write a lot of recommendations. And they all tend to be due November 1 or December 1 or February 1.

Kristin: 7:14
So I have now a revolving appointment that pops up yearly, the three days before those three dates. It’s a two hour block that says write any last minute recommendations. Now, if I don’t have any, then that’s two hours that I get to read a book or practice or go for a walk or go have coffee with a friend or something. But as I learned other things that that pop up semi regularly that I quote unquote, never have time for. I put those on my calendar as well. And sometimes they show up as tasks to do sometimes they show up as things to think about. Sometimes it’s just a block of time that you know, you are always tired the day after juries so don’t schedule anything the day after juries so that that calendar has continued to save my brain cells. For for years now since once I started doing that it was when my children were like six and ten that I really realized how important that was.

Chaowen: 8:20
Next we’ll be hearing from Tiffany Chang. She’s also an opera and orchestra conductor, and my guest in Episode No. Four: From Fear to Courage, which is one of the most loved episodes of the show.

Tiffany: 8:38
So the most important habit that I’ve developed recently is just engaging with content about leadership. So I do a lot of reading, thinking, responding, writing and learning from conversations about leadership and ideas about leadership, in music, and also more importantly, outside of music.

Tiffany: 8:59
And I’ve realized that doing this work every day, makes me a better conductor, and makes me a better collaborator.

Tiffany: 9:09
And it and to my surprise, this habit has gotten me to become better, more than any other musical habit that I’ve developed over my life. And that to me is really interesting.

Chaowen: 9:23
Next we’ll be hearing from Noreen Green, who is the conductor of the Los Angeles Jewish symphony.

Noreen: 9:31
So one of the most important habits I think that has contributed to my success is the fact that I’m flexible. I have fun and I smile when I’m on the podium. We are all doing what we love to do. This is not life and death. Being married to physician has put this in great perspective. How lucky we are that making music is what we do for a living. Yes, the show must go on we have deadlines and time restrains to follow and all sorts of obstacles, but at some point we have to let go and trust that we have done all we can and that the magic will happen.

Chaowen: 10:09
Jennifer Kane, founder of the Nova Women’s Choral Project is our next guest answering this question. And she was also our guest in Episode 16, where she talked about how she created a new choral project abount the pandemic.

Jennifer: 10:28
And that habit is that as soon as I finish a rehearsal, I, you know, I plan in tremendous detail the following rehearsal. For example, I rehearse with the Handel and Haydn choirs on Saturdays, and this past Saturday, I finished my last rehearsal at one o’clock, I went out some, you know, headed out to the car, I’m, you know, taking a few minutes, and then I’m sitting in my car, and I’m writing down all of the things that I need to get done in the following week, and putting together that rehearsal schedule.

Chaowen: 11:05
Margaret Flood, the founder of the Frost, Young Women Conductor’s Symposium is our next guest.

Margaret: 11:12
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people for help and expertise. Even if you feel they’re famous or well known. And you don’t think they’ll that you even warrant their time, because you’re wrong. Starting conversations with people who are leaders in your field may actually lead to lasting friendships and collaborations, which is how it has happened for me through the Young Woman Conductor’s Symposium. I’ve become really good friends with a lot of the folks that I brought in to speak at that conference. In fact, I’m going on vacation with one of them next week. I’ve never been afraid to talk to someone even if it was someone that I deeply admired. But given that advice, just you never know who you will connect with and who can become just a valuable friend, and mentor and confidant in your life.

Chaowen: 12:07
Next we’ll be hearing from Dr. Kira Omelchenko, who is the conductor of the wealth field, Laurel University symphony orchestra, and also my guest of the Episode No. 22 about string techniques.

Kira: 12:24
Or one thing that’s that’s, that might be a little bit obvious is every day I always do score study, like that is just like my daily homework, my daily exercise, like and the thing is, like, I’m not gonna lie, I love score study, because it forces what anyone who I’m living with, you know, if it’s my husband or anything, I’m just like, hey, I need my quiet time, you know, like, it’s just you and the score. And it can be as enjoyable as you want it to be or enjoyable as you make it to be. And that to me is just like, Alright, I have a date with my score. You know, I have a date with the music or with the composer just like having that one on one relationship. So I do carve out time, every day for score study. You know, it’s me time, it’s music time. All that, just me and the music, so I do that daily

Chaowen: 13:11
Dr. Kiernan Steiner, or Dr. Kiki, who is a decolonization consultant and choral conductor, my guest at Episode No. 17 is the next

Dr. Kiki: 13:25
One of my most important habits has been journaling. I have journaled not every day, but very regularly, pretty much since my master’s program through my doctoral program and today, because my journal is where I write down all of my dreams, all of my goals, all of my intentions for the ways that I want to show up in my my daily life. And so my journal is where I get to feel and express each day each week without censoring myself, without having to be any any which way. But I just get to be and I just get get my thoughts out on paper. And a lot of times that is enough of a release for me to just continue on with my day and to let go of maybe what was bothering me or bugging me or just cycling in my head about oh, I really want to get this this goal completed. I want to accomplish this thing.

Chaowen: 14:30
The next person Lily Ling is a dear friend and also music director of the Hamilton Broadway show. And she was my guest and Episode 21: Demystifying Broadway.

Lily: 14:46
I keep to myself a lot. And I think as a music director as a conductor, unlike directors and choreographers, we perform and I, the one principle I have at work is the minute my minute I step through that door in that theater, you leave everything at the door. So how I feel personally about a certain actor doesn’t matter.

Lily: 15:20
Because my job the minute I stepped foot through that door, and the minute I’m on that conductor podium, is to empower everyone. All the same way. How does that happen? I don’t go out partying with actors. I don’t spend a lot of time with my cast, not because I don’t care about them. I care about them as human beings, but I don’t want to know.

Chaowen: 15:42
Coming up next is conductor Alice Farnham, a conductor and also Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Women Conductors with the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.

Alice 15:54
I’m always somebody who I don’t like to be last minute in my score preparation. So I always like to plan when I’m going to learn scores and how much time I put aside each day or each week to score. So I think it’s some it’s, it’s a, it’s not a very, very strict schedule, but I do keep

Alice 16:20
I make sure that I’ve got a sort of evenly spread. So any piece I ever learn I any work, however big or small, I make sure that I I don’t try and learn it all in one go, but I keep it going along so that it’s able to develop and mature.

Chaowen: 16:39
Last but not least, is my dear friend, composer and bassist Emily Cole.

Emily: 16:47
I tend to think forward rather than look backward and regret about things I can change. So I think not spending time thinking too much about the past, but rather planning for the future is something that contributes to success.

Chaowen: 17:03
Here we are, and I hope you enjoyed listening to everybody talk. And I love you as always I look forward to seeing you again in our next episode in March. Take care. Bye for now.