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Spring Forward: Gardening Tips for Harpists

Spring is finally here, at least according to the calendar. I won’t believe it’s really spring, though, until I see the first cheery yellow daffodil in my garden.

I remember the year I planted those bulbs. I spent the better part of an autumn weekend digging holes in the side of a hill along our driveway. The ground was more rock than soil, but I dug where I could, placed the bulbs in the holes and hoped for the best.

I’d like to say that the next spring that hillside was covered with a mass of yellow blooms but even now, 10 years later, those daffodils still struggle to spread. The brave survivors that bloom may be fewer in number than I had envisioned, but I cherish them all the more.

Has your harp playing blossomed the way you expected? Do you have a musical field of flowers or are you still waiting for the first blooms? You can tell from my daffodil story that I am no gardener but even so, I have discovered a few tips that relate as much to harp playing as they do to gardening.

Tip 1: Plant For The Future

Planting bulbs is hard work, and if you’re smart, you let the bulbs do the work for you. They spread. Six daffodil bulbs this year will be a dozen or more blooms next year, and it won’t be long before you have a yellow sea of spring flowers each year. Having learned the hard way, I now avoid the backache and let my garden develop gradually.

Harp playing isn’t that different. You don’t have to practice everything all at once. Learning key skills of technique and musicianship in progression over time will allow you to develop and grow. You will create a beautiful repertoire of music you love to play steadily, one piece at a time. Working on the right things in the right order is all you need to do.

Tip 2: Feed Your Bulbs

The “hope for the best” approach I took with my poor daffodils demonstrates exactly how important it is to care for your bulbs properly. The gardeners who achieve spectacular displays of blooms know that feeding the bulbs with the right nutrients is the difference maker.

Your musical “bulbs” need feeding too, with regular practice and playing. It may not fit your plan to spend hours practicing, but remember that playing your harp every day will keep your fingers fresh and your soul nourished. Don’t neglect lessons or coaching either; these provide powerful boosts for your harp playing.

Tip 3: Have Faith

The most important thing to remember is that the bloom is already in the bulb. The potential for the bloom is stored in the bulb during its period of dormancy. Hidden in the ground, the bulb gathers the nutrients it needs and then one day, the flower miraculously appears.

There is potential already stored in you too. There’s no picture on the package to show us what it will look like when it flowers, but it will flower. Sometimes the blooms are small ones, peeping out from underneath a rock. Other times they will emerge in glorious swaths of color. They will surprise you.

Simply be patient, trust your process, don’t worry about the weeds. And don’t forget to celebrate those blooms when you see them!


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