Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Unwillingly Anxious & Shy

We had some friends over recently for small a dinner party and I was so thrilled at the thought of playing my harp for more than just our cats or whoever happened to be walking by our house on nice days when I'm practicing with the windows open... but I clammed up. I froze. I saw faces of people I admire and adore and for some reason instead of it comforting and empowering me, I was terrified. I wanted them to be impressed by my progress but I could barely handle the silence and their focus as they all patiently waited for me to play a note. None of these people play harp, they have no idea how it should sound, they won't recognize the tiny songs I've been learning, but I was petrified. I eventually managed to convince them to look away & carry on a conversation and I played a few songs somewhat smoothly. I don't know how I'll overcome it, ultimately, or if many of the performers I admire so much are even over it after multiple albums released and concerts played. Actually, I've heard Chan Marshall has stage fright. If that's true, I know I'm in good company. Shy, reclusive musicians unite!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Clair de Lune/Pavane Pour Une Infante Défunte (segments)

I'm making some progress on two pieces that are very dear to me... Clair de Lune is my favourite classical song - My aunt played this song as I walked down the aisle at my wedding a year ago & Pavane is for my lovely friend Caroline, who got a few bars of the sheet music tattooed to her forearm at the tender age of 18 and somehow managed to keep it a secret from her family for months. Ha!

Both arrangements come from Classical Selections - Book II (for lever harp, yay!) by Angi Bemiss & Balfour Knight. I find these arrangements the perfect challenge for my current skill set. Maybe they are even a bit beyond my level, but I think they are simple enough that I should be able to master them with continued practice. I also really love playing classical music rather than the tiny exercises in my lesson book, although I understand it's important to remain focused on the basics as I progress.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Style 100, I love you so...

I love love love the harp, but I am a grungy 20something with an overwhelming fondness for rock music, victorian homes, and cat videos. As fun as I think it would be to eventually be good enough to play in an orchestra, I'm more interested in exploring what else I can do with harp. I dream of being on stage at some cozy venue wearing a long flowing gown and rocking out on pedal harp as my husband accompanies on banjo... Actually, my favourite recent past time has been playing my electric guitar & looping it through the amp and then improvising a melody over it on the harp. It's such a pain to get both instruments in tune together, but it's well worth it!

I've spent some time looking online at pedal harps (like a kid looking through a toy store window, knowing mom & dad aren't going to stop for me to go in), but I keep finding myself coming to the same absurd conclusion - columns either look so silly and pretentious, or they're just lackluster and unspectacular like an extremely long newel from a boring stairwell for giants! However, the Lyon & Healy Style 100 is totally speaking my language. I feel like the column has a funky, art deco quality to it while remaining formal and elegant. I also think the retro-ness of it makes it more interesting when I consider its separation from its natural habitat (orchestra, wedding). The Style 30 is also awesomely designed, but I'm not completely sold on the shape of the body. I'm bummed that harps aren't as popular as guitars so that I could have my choice of many fine manufacturers, but as long as Lyon & Healy keep making the Style 100 I think I'll be all set. Now... if I could only find $22,500...