What’s going on????

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    OK, I’ve been at the harp thing for 11 years now and LOVING every step of the way. I have arranged my lifes schedule to fit around my lessons, practice, gigs, etc. and have often kidded about having my arms around my harp more than my husband.

    Just the last couple weeks or so, I have found myself (gosh, do I admit it?), NOT wanting to practice – pretty much INTENTIONALLY avoiding playing the harp. When I have practiced, I’ve just worked on technique, and pulled out “Old stuff” that I can play with my eyes closed and just let that be that. I’ve had conversations with my DOG, telling her how I should be practicing but just don’t feel like it. After a tilted little head, and big loving eyes . . . well, no advice there.

    Anyway, discussed with my teacher last night at my lesson and we’re switching over to some Christmas music (we usually start that in Sept.) and hopefully my spark will reignite and life behind the harp will be as it has been.

    It just REALLY concerns me that I am feeling this way as I have NEVER had the “I don’t want to practice” feeling. What the heck is going on? Any of you go through this?


    Sid Humphreys

    Yes, it means you need a vacation. Get away from the house and the harp for a week. You’ll come back refreshed.


    I would say go buy some fun music you have always wanted to play. Maybe not the next hardest piece but something fun. Find someone like a flutist or violinist to play some music with. Maybe listen to recordings of harpists who play in a different style. I had a little period like this and learned a bunch of pop music/Broadway music and some classical transcriptions I had always wanted to play. It made me feel motivate to work on some harder music taking a little break from more serious classical things.


    It may be that you’re not entirely sure where to head next. Sometimes when you hit a certain degree of ability and achievement, your brain is wondering where you need to go from here. It can feel as if you’re in a sort of artistic turnout for want of a better word, just sort of sitting in traffic and idling. You’re playing, but you aren’t heading toward anywhere in particular, and it sounds as if you’re sort of wondering, “What now?” Try reaching out to forms of music that you aren’t familiar with or listening to instruments that you don’t play to get the “gosh that’s so cool” feeling back, and then just let it ferment for a while until you can relate it to your harp. Something will shake loose and you’ll lock onto a new goal, then you’ll be able to get your artistic self back into gear.


    I’m with you Kay. I stopped ‘briefly’ in June and then work and holidays took over, so hardly played over the summer, and took a rain check on a bridal fair opp, too unprepared.Now it’s quiet I have renewed a range of lower gut strings before an upcoming service and new wires – so it’s welcome down time – the harp creates self-imposed pressures forever. I took a harp to orchestra last night and my brain and fingers still work, felt like driving a car after a holiday away, feet not entirely instinctive… I have Elgar next week so I will ease back into it as I re-engage.


    I think all of the advice given so far is excellent. I would add that playing the harp is subject to the same ebb and flow as the rest of our lives. There will be dry spells. Maybe some other part of your life is absorbing your attention and energies right now. Don’t worry, your interest and excitement will definitely come back! We just can’t be on fire all the time. Don’t feel at all badly!

    Allison Stevick

    When I was pregnant with my first child, my harp triggered morning sickness. I didn’t know why, and it made me so sad!! I simply couldn’t bring myself to play (or even look at it) for a few months! Eventually that went away–thankfully!–and when I got back into playing again everything was fresh and new. Sounds like lots of good advice above, I’m sure you’ll get back to loving to play again!

    Paul and Brenda

    About 7 years ago we started playing again after a 13 year break to get our kids launched. We had lost a whole lot of our ability, but didn’t take too long to get going. We added a bunch of new repertoire and really enjoyed playing again. So everyone is right that time off isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Who knows, if we hadn’t had the break maybe we would be burned out by now.


    Thanks to all who have responded so far! It helps knowing that others have gone through this. I’m hoping that my brain is just on overload and things will settle down and a new spark will kick in.


    Paul and Brenda

    Have faith.

    Jerusha Amado

    I second that! Everything will work out fine! And you may find that taking a break or even reducing the load can actually be beneficial. The brain continues to work on things even when we are not physically engaged in the activity. You can come back refreshed and with even greater facility!

    Sherri Matthew

    I take breaks all the time, in everything I do. It’s just routine with me. I’m not one of these non-stop, gotta keep going at all costs types, because I know that would wear me out. It’s just more of a long-term outlook, so I can come back later with some fresh perspectives to bring to the table (or the harp). Jerusha makes a great point about that… I’ve noticed that’s particularly helpful in creative work like composing, arranging, etc. New ideas I hadn’t thought of earlier. Can’t have guilt trips about taking a short vacation, because it does pay off over the long run! 🙂


    I wonder if you practice the same way all the time. Maybe you could try recording yourself and listening to what you’re doing. If you always practice at the same dynamic level, try practicing loudly and slowly, giving your hands a lot of time to leave the strings and come back.

    Sherj DeSantis

    I need breaks as well. Sometimes my body needs a break, more often, my mind. I find that when I come back to it, I am twice as strong than when I left it. Sometimes we are trying to play too many difficult things and can’t see any advancement, and that’s very disappointing. Sometimes I find it fun to play with friends who play different instruments as well. I wouldn’t worry about it.

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