Why I Need to Get Out of My Practice Room More Often

music miscellany Jun 30, 2014

Here we are at the halfway point in the year. As we begin the second half of 2014, we can seize this opportunity to reevaluate, redirect or recommit to our goals. Many of us have long since forgotten or abandoned our New Year’s resolutions. In some cases, our plans have changed and made our resolutions irrelevant. Some of us have given up, and the more determined ones among us have made real progress towards fulfilling our goals for the year.

Where am I? I fit into all three categories.

One of my goals I have had to abandon at least for now, realizing that there were circumstances beyond my control which prevented me from moving forward. I don’t like to give up on anything, however, so it will survive in a “someday” folder. I have also made a number of pivots this year, tweaking my plans when better ideas presented themselves.

One of my resolutions this year that I have stuck with was to put more time and energy into being a part of the larger harp community. Between practicing and working at the computer, I find that I can very easily forget to reach out and connect to other harpists. Yet being involved in the harp world keeps me inspired, motivated, learning and happy.

Last week I was a part of two fabulous harp events. The first was the American Harp Society Conference in New Orleans and the other was Harp Mastery Day near Philadelphia. I enjoyed the AHS Conference, as I always do, because I am able to be in touch with harp friends I rarely see. I also meet new harpists, talk to the vendors, and attend the workshops and concerts. I never fail to come home with a renewed spirit, lots of new ideas and an armful of new music.

Harp Mastery Day is a new event that I hosted with my friend, harpist Candace Lark. We had a fun day working with a great group of harpists from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and New York. It was a beautiful summer day outside, and their enthusiasm and energy made the indoors just as sunny.

After such a harp-filled week, I am left with a few thoughts I would like to share with you.

We harpists are a diverse and interesting bunch. This week I met harpists from all over the world. I met harpists who are yoga instructors, rescuers of luna moths, IT specialists, ice skaters, marathon runners, jazz enthusiasts, historical harp specialists, harp therapists, and composers. Mostly I met harpists who are friendly and amazing people. Wow – just wow.

Our love of the harp creates a powerful bond that bridges generations, musical styles and distance. I had conversations about the harp and music with young harpists just beginning their careers and harpists who have been learning and performing for decades. I heard jazz concerts, folk music, compositions that were being premiered and works that were hundreds of years old. I had fun spending time with harpists I had previously known only over the internet. (By the way, the photo above shows my friend Laurie and me showing off our Mardi Gras masks at the AHS Gala Concert.)

It’s really all about the music. If there was one common thread throughout all the performances, workshops, master classes and discussions this week, the music was it. I heard teachers working with students in the master classes to help them go beyond the notes and explore the musical depths of the pieces they played. I heard performances that were clearly the highest and best self-expression of the performer. Even more, I saw it in the faces everywhere I looked.

And those faces glowed.

Where will you connect with other harpists this summer?


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