10 things you don’t know about Noa Kageyama


It’s not often we feature a non-harpist on harpcolumn.com, but we simply couldn’t resist the chance to find out 10 things about Bulletproof Musician blogger Noa Kageyama. Noa will speak at the Princeton Harp Festival on Nov. 7.

1 How do you keep your ideas creative and fresh?
Cross-pollination—i.e. looking at what is happening in other domains and mashing ideas together. Here’s a great TED talk on this idea by Steven Johnson. (http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_johnson_where_good_ideas_come_from?language=en)

2 Who is your artistic inspiration?
I can’t think of one single source, but in general, I’m drawn to folks who are doing things that haven’t been done before. Creatives, explorers, and tinkerers who are constantly stretching the envelope and trying new things.

3 What is your favorite city?
I spent a number of summers at the Aspen Music Festival growing up, and loved every minute—not just the festival, but the climate, the landscape, and town as well. I haven’t been back since, but Aspen is at the top of my list of places I’d like to visit again someday.

4 What is your most proud accomplishment?
Moving to a new apartment last year. Which probably sounds pretty unremarkable, but it was one of those moments that felt really grownup-y.

5 How do you unwind?
Hmm…that’s a good question. I do go to the gym regularly and try to sleep 8+ hours per day, and my favorite thing to do is hang out with my wife and kids around the city, but I’m not sure that I do much deliberate unwinding otherwise.

6 What is your favorite place to perform?
The old, leaky tent at the Aspen Music Festival was probably my favorite place to perform. It had a very special feeling when the tent was packed in the evening, the tarps on the side were let down, and you could see all the folks outside sitting on the grass with picnic baskets, drinking wine and eating Paradise Bakery muffins and cookies.

7 What’s the last movie you watched?
I wish I could say that it was something a bit more cerebral, but if I’m being honest, it was the recent National Lampoon series reboot Vacation.

8 What is the craziest thing you’ve ever experienced during a performance?
A nosebleed in the middle of an orchestra concert. And wearing a white tux of all things.

9 What are your gig bag essentials?
Now that I don’t perform anymore, all I need is my laptop, a power cord, and I’m good to go.

10 What’s the best advice you can give an aspiring harpist/ musician? 
The quality and content of our practice time makes a significant difference in how effectively we learn—and ultimately, the level of playing we can demonstrate on stage. So while it takes an investment of time up-front, the payoff of learning how to become a “better” practicer is huge. My favorite book in this regard is “Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning.” It’s one of those books that, once you read it, you can’t think of practice in the same way ever again.


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