Today I ran out of luck. After twenty years of recording courses and never having so much as a sniffle, I woke up this morning with the grandmother of all head colds. I got through the day thanks to the indulgence of my incredible crew, enough Sudafed to start a meth lab, and about 10 mugs of hot tea. Thankfully, it is not a throat/chest cold and thus my voice has not been unduly affected; otherwise I’d be road kill. Once I get through tomorrow I’ll have the weekend to rest up, and by Monday I will be – knock on wood – as fit as a Strad.
Even under the best of circumstances, making a course is a challenge. It’s a series of non-stop, extremely intense, ten-hour days, split evenly between time in front of the cameras and studying for the next lecture. One of the things that makes this type of course difficult is that each lecture is a self-standing entity, which means changing gears – different music, different composers, different historical eras, etc. – from lecture to lecture. Pre-lecture preparation requires not just focusing on what comes next, but flushing the brain clear of what you’ve just been talking about, no easy task (at least not for me) if you’ve just been immersed in Bach’s Goldberg Variations or Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata.
Admittedly, in a world filled with genuinely hard jobs – elementary school teacher, pediatrician, labor and delivery nurse, and Navy Seal to name but a few – what I’m doing here is, by comparison, a piece Sachertorte. Nevertheless, aside from being a father, recording a course is the toughest thing I do, and I’ll leave it at that.