I figured out that 2012 is my sixth year of playing in the community college harp ensemble. This year there are two new people, and they’ve played the harp less time than me. It’s quite a strange experience, this being able to play exercises and parts of the tunes that others are finding difficult. It’s usually me sitting there befuddled and clueless about what my fingers are supposed to do. Not that I don’t still have my own clueless and befuddled moments. I still can’t sight-read new music, I still have to white-out the many pesky notes that I am not going to play, and I still struggle to play at anything approaching a performance tempo. But this year, I am playing more of the right notes at the right time. And I am definitely enjoying myself more.
Last year the harp ensemble became the Inner Critic’s Olympic venue for beating me up and taking me down. This year, I am determined that harp ensemble is not going to be spoiled by the Inner Critic. I will play what I can, enjoy what I can play, and be grateful for being able to play the harp at all.
In last year’s post, Time Is A Teacher, I reminded myself that by steadily working on tunes throughout the eight weeks of the ensemble class, I can learn them and play a passable version of them by the time we do our concert. This year, instead of wasting precious time and energy bewailing how the music is too hard, I’ve worked on them measure-by-measure, day-by-day. One month later, the tunes are in my fingers and I can play them slowly. Now the metronome and I are partnering to steadily increase my playing speed. And last night in class I played Angels We Have Heard on High at our performance tempo. Amazing!
What is helping me most of all is being grateful for having a harp, for having a life that allows me to learn to play it, and for being enfolded in a community of musicians who share this same, crazy harp dream. When I remember how unlikely and remarkable it is that I am playing the harp at all, how many notes I play and how many mistakes I make become irrelevant. So many people do not dare to dream, so many people have lives that grant them no opportunity to follow their hearts’ desires.
Thursday I’m off to Asheville, NC to attend the Southeastern Harp Weekend. I’m looking forward to a weekend spent totally immersed in harp world. I’ll come up for air and return to the blogosphere next week.