Album Release

Friday, January 8, 2010

A new year and new music to learn.

Greetings from Harpville. These past few days have probably been the most rewarding days of teaching for me since moving to Odessa. We are starting a new project: The Permian Basin Harp Masterclass. My kiddos were awarded a grant that will allow them to fly a harp clinician in from France to work with them on their playing. Each person will learn their own solo piece, and each piece must be written by a French composer.

Imagine thumbing through hundreds of French harp solos and finding one that suites a specific person. 53 times. That was Monday and Tuesday.

Today is Thursday, and I am amazed (shocked) at what has happened before my eyes. It's like watching a person who has their nose in a really good book that they "can't put down." They are eating up their new pieces note by note. Is this a dream?

The idea behind the PBHM is to advocate "musicality at any level." One can be expressive even as a very beginner with "simple" music. Complex pieces can be performed in a hollow manner. A complex piece that is not backed up by solid playing technique is bad news. We're steering clear of complex and going for simple, musical, beautiful artistry.

Something simple done well is beautiful. Something complex done passably is ambitious but... well, passable.

Each person has received a piece that they can learn and memorize in two months time (by the way, I feel like I've squeezed poor Bernard Andres completely dry). The goal: go from dots and lines on a page (written music) to carefully crafted musical artistry and expression. Mouthful.

One thing I hope not to forget that Elizabeth Fontan-Binoche said to me one day:
"The most important thing to teach a young harpist is
1. how to practice and
2. how to listen to themselves"

I'm trying to achieve these things in class with the repertoire as our aid. Such good times. Mm.

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