Words of Encouragement?

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    I?m feeling a bit down at the moment and looking for some

    inspiration I guess.


    I have been a lever harp teacher for over 10 years and can assure you that you are not alone in the feelings you are having! In fact I have a similar situation that I have quite recently faced. I moved about a year and a half ago and had to start all over again getting known in my new community, trying to attract students, pick up a few gigs, etc. Things were pretty slow and so meanwhile I joined our local symphony where they let me play cello with them!


    Paul- I know too little about your situation to


    When you’re playing chamber music, you have to be able to play it at the correct tempo, so

    it’s always good to check with the other musicians to make sure that you are all in

    agreement about the tempi of each movement. If you cannot play it up to speed, then they

    all have to agree to play more slowly, or choose an easier piece.


    The people you’re playing with may be jerks. Harpists have a different
    burden in chamber music, and other instrumentalists have expectations
    that don’t necessarily match. Be prepared as a boy scout, and
    especially think about playing rhythmically. Explain to them that your
    arpeggiated chords finish with the beat on the top/last note ( I hope
    they do). Use the rehearsal to know what to do to prepare for the next
    one. I guess you were disoriented by the presence of the other players.
    What piece is it? Preparation is your best insurance, and have some
    pride in yourself, man. Don’t let people get you down. If you don’t
    think you’re good enough, then as Simon Cowell says, “Gear up your
    game!” Maybe you need to take lessons again, or more, or with a
    different teacher. Maybe the piece is a little beyond your experience,
    in which case it won’t be once you’ve done it. Doing something you are
    unaccustomed to is difficult in itself. You have gotten good advice in
    response to your post. Has it helped?


    Thanks to everyone for your words of encouragement and thoughts of helping me thru this.


    Hi Paul,

    I’m not a harp teacher — I’m a harp student, but I have spent many years teaching voice, and I received my organ degree in my 30’s. I can distinctly recall working on the Franck Chorale in a, and after months and months of plugging away at learning it and making music out of it on the organ, I became completely frustrated. I wondered if I should even be considering working on such a piece. At one lesson, I kind of broke down a bit — not crying or anything — but I expressed my total frustration. I said, “I don’t think I can learn this piece.” And my teacher said something I will never forget. He said with total conviction:


    Paul Keep all things in perspective at all times. Everyone has a bad day (even Dick Cheney!) and unfortunately our little brains churn up a great deal of garbage in the form of questions that can’t be answered. When the going gets tough, just relax, take a few deep breaths and know that tomorrow will be better. If very much in doubt, crawl into bed under the covers and go to sleep. I quarantee the sun will be out somewhere the next day. Enjoy the music, enjoy the earth, enjoy the people, strive for peace and contentment and live. Sounds sappy right? But it works….

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