It’s perhaps the most common cocktail party question: So, what do you do?
Talking about what we do - our activities, our work, our hobbies - is an easy way to define ourselves. When we tell others what we do, we give them an easy way to understand a little about us. We also give ourselves an identity and the feeling of belonging to a group of others who do the same thing.
Occasionally, conversations like this spur a small pang of conscience. For instance, you might tell someone you play the harp, but at the same time you know that your harp has been gathering dust lately, maybe out of tune or even missing strings, because you haven’t had time to play it. While you’re talking enthusiastically about how much you love the harp, there’s that nagging voice inside your head reminding you that you’ve been talking the talk without walking the walk.
I remember my own wake-up call. I was sixteen years old and had been playing harp for eight years. I knew I wanted...
On a recent My Harp Mastery call we were talking about being relaxed while you play, when one of our members asked this question: “What about my face? It always looks grim when I play?”
That grim look is probably the face of concentration and intense focus. It’s natural, even if it’s not attractive. Forcing another expression, like trying to smile, can actually draw your focus away from the music. A better solution is to keep your mind focused on the musicality you want to convey through your playing. If the piece is sentimental, let your face reflect the calm sweetness of the music. If the music is fast and fiery, an intense expression will help convey that energy. The idea is to bring your entire self into the music you are making, to be totally aligned with it.
This idea of alignment has been on my mind recently in a different way.
I am a harpist not only by desire and training, but as my vocation. It is what I do as part of my personal mission...