After a busy season, reward yourself with something new.Did you hear that rush of air? It was the collective exhale of harpists everywhere as they collapsed on their sofas following the last gig of the holiday season. After the last Nutcracker chord has been rolled, the last holiday party has been entertained, and the last harp schlepped through snowy, slushy sidewalks, we can all sit back, put our feet up, and revel in knowing how much holiday cheer we spread, and also knowing that we don’t have to play this music for another year.
For most of us the first couple months of the new year show a little less ink on the calendar and present us with some a much needed break. So kick off your harp shoes, make a cup of tea, and consider a few of our ideas for spending your time over the next couple months.
Back to the Basics: We are thrilled to launch a new series by Jaymee Haefner in this issue, which delves into the fundamentals of harp playing (see “Harmonic Curve” on pg. 12). This series will help you no matter what your level of playing. Haefner uses her years of experience teaching harp at the University of North Texas to help you examine your skills from a new perspective. Her first installment—finding enough time to practice without actually increasing your practice time—is just what I needed to read after a month of note-cramming. Her fresh perspective is a great way to reassess your harp habits in the New Year.
Have a Listen: For all of you podcast fans out there, we’ve got something new to add to your queue: the Harp Column podcast! We are only a few episodes in, so mass consumption isn’t a possibility (yet), but we think you’re going to enjoy something new to listen to as you are driving to your next gig. Our podcast host Kristina Finch goes behind the scenes of the articles in each issue of the magazine to give you the story behind the story. Our podcast is available directly from our website (www.harpcolumn.com) and can be downloaded from iTunes.
Improve your Improv: One of my yoga instructors likes to say, “If there is a pose you don’t like, then it’s probably a pose your body needs.” At the risk of sounding like that annoying person who relates everything in life to yoga, this same observation could be applied to your harp playing—if there is an aspect of playing that you don’t enjoy and avoid at all costs, well, it’s likely an area that needs some extra attention. If improvisation is that area of avoidance for you as it is for me, then you need Megan Metheney’s article in this issue (see “Improv for One and All” on pg. 34).
Try these Tunes: Want to turn your harp perspective on its head? Alison Young reviews two unique albums in this issue (see “CD Review” on pg. 42). Divers, Joanna Newsom’s latest release, is like nothing you’ve ever heard from a harpist, and her one-of-a-kind style has made her the darling of indie rock fans everywhere. Young also reviews the newest offering from Park Stickney, All Harp—Globe Live. Park is a household name in the harp world, but listening to his masterful fusion of jazz and classical elements never gets old. Finally, we’ve got a special treat for you—you can listen to a few tracks from the cast recording of the epically popular Broadway musical Hamilton free on www.harpcolumn.com. Laura Sherman recorded the harp part for the album and after reading about her experience (see “Sounding Board” on pg. 10), you will want to hear what all the buzz is about.
Enjoy these moments of winter solitude for yourself. The next wave of weddings will be here before you know it. •