Here we are at the last official week of summer. The schedule is once again the ruler of our lives. with school, work, meetings, and performances.
I have always enjoyed this time of year. The beginning of everything holds such promise. I remember looking forward to the new clothes I would have for school, the new classes, the new friends.
But I looked forward most of all to my first harp lesson after the summer. It was always a little nerve-racking to play for my teacher that first time. I was hoping I had made enough progress over the summer, and that she would be pleased. If all went well, we would be able to plan an exciting new course of study for the year. If not, I would be doing technical work until I was ready to move on.
I was particularly worried the summer after my first year of college. At the end of the school year, my teacher told me that I was not progressing well, and that I may need to reconsider my career plans. I decided that summer to embark on a course of study of my own devising. I took the only “regular” job I have had in my life, making deliveries for a local pharmacy. And the rest of my time I spent playing pieces on the piano and then relearning them on the harp.
My plan was this: I knew that the musical things my teacher wanted me to do on the harp, I could already do on the piano. The trick was to figure out how I was able to do them on the piano, and then teach myself to play the same way on the harp.
It was a revelation for me. I had somehow separated the harp and piano in my mind when they shouldn’t have been separate at all. They were, and are, just two different tools for the same kind of expression. And if I could express myself through one, I could through the other as well.
It was a long summer. And a VERY nervous first lesson in September.
To my great relief, my practice plan had worked. and my teacher was thrilled. I left that lesson with a notebook full of new music to order, plans to make, and a much lighter heart.
I love planning with my students too. We plan ahead for work on repertoire, technique and musicianship. We look at orchestra schedules, recital schedules, competitions and exams. And even though we often shift our course during the year, we always have a direction and a clear goal for the year.
Are you making musical plans for the new season? Are you going to learn something new, play somewhere new? Do you have a goal for yourself for this year?
Make this year a good one!