I’ve been thinking about harp stories lately, not the fiction type of stories. I mean the kind of harp story we each have, the one about the moment we discovered the harp. Maybe it was the first time we saw it or heard it or heard about it. Maybe it was a long time ago or fairly recent. Maybe it was a dramatic moment or more of a gradual awakening.
I love hearing how harpists discovered their passion for the harp. Every harpist’s story is unique and yet each shares the common thread of the magnetic pull of the harp.
Many of you have heard my harp story. I myself didn’t learn the beginning of it until I was in my first year of college, studying at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. I had come to a crisis point, one where I was in a “do-or-die” kind of situation. In brief, my teacher had told me that either I fixed what was wrong with my playing or I was going to have to leave Curtis, since I clearly wouldn’t succeed there. The trouble was I didn’t know how to fix what was wrong and neither did she, but I was determined to do it.
Fast forward through that summer and when I came back to school in the fall, not only had I fixed the problem, but my teacher declared me ready for international competition. It was a huge change. On a side note, everything that I have done since in my teaching came directly from my work that summer.
But the point I want to make today is what enabled me to find the motivation and the right direction to turn things around. That was discovering my harp story beginning. In my frustration I remember saying to my mother, maybe ranting would be a more accurate word, that I didn’t even know why I was playing the harp in the first place. She told me what I had never known before: when I was two years old, I heard the harp on the radio, asked what it was and said that was what I wanted to do.
Here’s the part that interests me now. Simply knowing that story, and learning that it was the sound of the harp that I responded to made all the difference in that moment. I knew that I had heard the voice of the harp and recognized it as my own voice. Knowing that story changed everything for me, turning what was a crisis into an inflection point that propelled me forward in a way nothing else would have done.
Today I want to show you how to use your own harp story to keep you motivated, and even more important, grounded and connected. With so many demands on our time and focus, it’s frighteningly easy to let your harp playing sit on the back burner waiting for that mythical “someday” when you’ll have more time. But your harp time can provide the peace and renewal you need, provided you can release yourself from the need to achieve and let yourself be nourished by your music instead.
I’ll share with you my thoughts on the power of inflection points and how we can see them as opportunities instead of obstacles and we’ll talk about three ways your harp story can help you refuel and enjoy your harp journey, even when the going gets tough. It’s all about you and making your music on your terms on the show today.
Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the podcast episode:
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