Posts Tagged ‘beginning in the middle’


I  played piano for years like a good technician—proficient sure—but lacking soul and texture.  Notes made it onto the keyboard but I couldn’t do anything without printed music to map the way.  Harp has been something of an improvement because, since I don’t have the skill to shift my eyes from strings to page and back at anything other than glacial pace, I’ve had to memorize.  Who’d a thought…  It would be nice to believe that I’m at least doing some of that brain training for an aging mind stuff.  However, this month my new (most excellent) harp teacher says it’s time to detach from the printed page.  I’ve got a dandy book by Susan Raimond called Making Music for Folk Harp that comes with a CD option for play along.  In the first few pages she shows you a number of standard left hand patterns and then follows that with super simple melodies to work with.  The only downside to super simple is that I’ve already played a number of the pieces with complete sheet music so it’s a little odd to try and un-remember what I know.  The CD ensures that you get it sound wise and provides something to play with so you don’t go nuts running melodies through your head because you can’t (would rather be caught dead than) sing aloud.  Even though it’s wierd to be playing from beginner books again  it’s clearly a necessity because without all those (comforting) extra notes I’m forced to come up with something, anything, to fill in the empty spaces.  (And yes I know that it’s the space between the notes that makes music etc etc.)  What’s craziest of all is that there’s no one listening to me– no cackling audience shaming me into submission– nothing that should be as inhibiting as it feels.


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When my almost husband asked me whether I wanted a ring or a harp there was only one answer… both!  With heavy emphasis on the harp part.  After all, everyone knows that a harp is just a naked piano, right?  Nope.  After playing the same measure eleventy times I can say with certainty that keyboarding is easier for this wannabe tunesmith.  So yes, we’re married now and the ring is elegant… and no the harpifying is not.  He forgives me for endless (aimless) practice and I forgive him for being such a splendid guitarist.  I imagine it must be a little like teaching someone you know how to drive only it’s music theory and my learners permit expired long ago. Fortunately for my husband I may not be able to parallel park  but I can read music and I ‘m a willing student.  Clearly we’re in for it! A lifetime of dueling strings… For better or worse.

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