Tobias Tinker is a Canadian-born pianist and multi-instrumentalist.
My days usually start and end with simple manual tasks, and I like it this way. Although I'm a wired kind of guy with a long history of interfacing with technology, I have a great appreciation for doing things by hand and have organized my life around this to some extent. I think this is partly to offset the extent to which computers and the internet dominate the balance of my day.
I'm a jazz musician. This, coupled with the fact that I am often up quite late working on some more or less creative endeavour, means that I am not generally disposed to rising early. However, I also have a three-year-old son, so there's a limit to the lie-in and we usually end up getting up around 8 or so.
First job: I start the oatmeal. That is to say, I take the oats I rolled by hand last night and left to soak overnight in warm water with a little yoghurt or kefir (both homemade), and mix them with a little more boiling water to complete the cooking process. Then I grind up a mix of nuts and seeds to put on top with yoghurt, cream, maple syrup and, if available, fresh berries of some sort. This is breakfast pretty much every day.
Simultaneously, I make my first coffee. Again, this is a pretty manual process; I'm just not into the pushbutton automatic experience when it comes to this important ritual. I grind the beans (just enough for a single shot) by hand in a crank-driven grinder while waiting for the espresso maker, a La Pavoni hand-pulled model, to heat up. Once the shot is pulled I carefully foam the milk for my trademark Latte Art pour.
I have gotten this to the point where I simply don't ever buy coffee out anymore, as it's invariably disappointing. If I lived in Italy, it would be a different story, but as things stand I can do far better at home and do so two or three times a day, though later iterations are usually dairy-free.
After we eat the utterly decadent oatmeal, my wife usually has to head off for work (she's a teacher), and I get to hang out with the my son for a few hours. This usually involves either a trip to a playground to visit with his friends, a run with the jogging stroller, or both.
I like to run and have completed a few marathons, so I train pretty regularly. My regular routes take me through forests and parks like the Tiergarten or Grünewald, or around the grounds of the Charlottenburg Palace. Berlin is a wonderfully green city and there are great options for outdoor/leisure activities. It's still a city and I sometimes wish we lived a more rural life, but for the moment the trade-offs seem to work out.
On good days, my wife can come home for lunch and we eat together; otherwise it's just me and the kid. Some afternoons she has off and can take him, in which case I can put in some work time early – whether this is a rehearsal, practice time or online.
This winter I'll be playing a regular show in the after-dinner slot (a kind of mixture of circus and cabaret) for a few months, so I will have to really step up my time-management game to get a lot of extra work in – especially since I have some pretty big plans for various online/creative projects.
We have lived in Berlin for almost 10 years now so much of the novelty has worn off, and we don't take nearly enough advantage of the city's cultural cornucopia – there are literally hundreds of museums, galleries and venues, and a wealth of restaurants of all descriptions. Amongst the many nationalities represented is a large Turkish population, and some parts of town are correspondingly colourful.
Other areas cling to a vestige of the city's unusual Cold War history, while still others are distinctly modern. All in all it's a fascinating and dynamic place and while we should really try to get out more, we really enjoy it and have found a lifestyle and a groove we are happy with.
For example, we like to eat organic food as much as possible, and this is quite easy in Berlin – we have no less than 6 all-organic grocery stores within easy walking distance of our house. Speaking of walking, we don't own and don't need a car, our needs being easily covered by the incredibly comprehensive transit system and the excellent bike support (there are paths on major streets literally everywhere).
Dinner is usually at home – we don't eat out as much as we did before becoming parents. Once the little man is asleep, I typically get down to work for a while and then, before bed, roll the oats for next morning. Sometimes there's yoghurt or Kefir to be made as well. And then it's off to bed...
I'm sad to report we don't go out clubbing much (well, ever) these days, though certainly it's not for lack of options – Berlin has considerably more than its share of nightlife – but parenthood, at least how we approach is just not compatible on with those more youthful pursuits. Youth is wasted on the young, as they say... but all in all I wouldn't change a whole lot about our routine.
Tobias has performed for over 20 years in almost every imaginable style and is also an acclaimed soundtrack composer. His music has taken him all over the world, and he now makes his home in Berlin. He writes about fearlessness and creativity on his aptly named blog, fearlesscreativity.com and you can also find him at tobiastinker.com