Posted November 3rd, 2010 at 4:58 am1 Comment
Every now and then…okay, quite often, I find myself hitting a wall: I can’t learn this passage. These changes are too complex. My performance anxiety is out of control. I can’t learn this music fast enough. I can’t change pedals in these shoes. Harp dresses look dumb.
I can go on and on and on because it starts out as one thing, then spirals out of control to the most menial things and I find myself so annoyed, upset and so frustrated at my wits’ end. I start to really question things, and then something pops up that quickly puts me in my place.
Tonight, I walked into my harp. Hmm? Yes, the lights were off and I walked into my harp and stubbed my toe. I won’t type what I really said, but it’s safe to say that I exclaimed! I exclaimed, ” !%$@ where did you come from?!” I actually answered that question.
When I studied harp as a child, I had a small Lyon & Healy Troubador lever harp. We rented it for so cheap from my generous teacher. When it came time for me to move up to the pedal harp, my parents could not afford the increase in rent so it was decided that I’d just stay on the lever harp. A couple of weeks later, I drove to my lesson and when my teacher came to the door she told me that she had given it much thought and that if there’s anyone that deserves that pedal harp, it was me. She let me know that it was mine to take to rent for no additional cost. The excitement in that moment, I’ll never forget. My eyes lit up, watered a little and I was overcome with joy. All I could think was ” I can finally play that modulation in ‘Ribbon in the Sky’” after always playing it transposed a half step down, up until the modulation –I’d just stop after the 2nd verse.
In the following weeks I couldn’t wait for that harp to come home. The day it was to arrive, I ignored any afterschool activity and walked home as fast as I could, stormed into the house and ran to that pedal harp (I already kind of knew how to play it because I had started playing my teacher’s pedal harp during lessons). We didn’t have a single piece of furniture in the living room. It was just an empty room, my harp and a folding chair. So, that’s where my harp came from.
That moment of stubbing my toe just made me think about all that went into me playing this wooden box with 47 strings and all the joy I got out of it All the sacrifice & generosity from my parents, teacher, extended family, church family and friends (me playing this harp was certainly a community effort, but that’s a whole other blog) was something I appreciated so much, but didn’t realize made me so happy at the time! What teen growing up in the age of hip hop flips out over a harp? I couldn’t have been happier…but I didn’t know it. Now, I see it.
(Yup, I taught myself how to play the rest of that Stevie Wonder tune, with both modulations)