It’s Mother’s Day, and one of the many things my mother taught me was to do my own taxes, and–if I itemize–to deduct professional expenses. Thanks, Mom!
Making music as a conductor, singer, or instrumentalist, is inescapably physical. After I started having neck/shoulder pain that interfered with my work, a massage therapist who happens to sing in my community choir suggested that a massage might help me. Boy, was she right. I’m working on Alexander Technique and yoga and Tai Chi in hopes that I can learn to use my body as efficiently as possible so that I don’t build up to the the kind of tension and pain that is possible; but, my lifestyle of doctoral-student-with-multiple-jobs isn’t conducive to the kind of holistic realignment I really need. So I get a massage every four to six months, just to straighten me out. It makes all the difference in the world.
I find that massage provides physical improvements as well as psychological ones. The muscles get untightened to free up my gesture, and my mind gets a chance to detox as well. I just had a massage on Thursday, and my church choir can attest to the difference it makes. Last week, I was a grump (which I almost never am!) and this week I was just about back to normal. They put up with me last week, thankfully, but they really do sing better when I can be in a worshipful place with them. The end of the semester at school helps with that, too, but I can tell you that the massage, and the fact that I took time for it, put my brain back into more regular rhythm.
I haven’t had the gumption to claim massages as a professional expenses on my taxes, but honestly, I couldn’t do my work nearly so well without them.