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Hey Guys,

So, here we are a fortnight on from my first blog, the snow is starting to melt away here in the Shire, Boris is still yet to get a haircut, I’m considering cutting my own and longing for the half term break.

First of all I cannot believe the feedback from my first blog, it was totally overwhelming and really made my day! Thank you! I wondered at the start whether this blog was a good idea, there are so many videos, chats and forums that I wondered if my ramblings would get lost in it all. I was so happy to read your comments and see how relatable some of you found it… I seem to have set myself a precedent that I wasn’t expecting and will continue to share my journey, complete with positives and negatives, with you all. 

So I began Week 3 with the Big Ben Chimes. Easy you say? My number 1 life motto is “never assume anything will be easy”! I found this one easy at first. It lulled me into a false sense of security. But as I put the tune together as a whole, it just went horribly wrong. It sounded nothing like it was meant to and I almost managed to play it backwards at one point! Talk about going a step backwards. Nevertheless, I persevered and soon enough I was playing well enough to catch the girls’ attention. The kids loved this one particularly, running downstairs and wanting to join in. We ended up having quite a giggle and a little history lesson about Big Ben, a little ad-hoc home-schooling!

Purdy, my feline friend, was not quite so sure about this one. On my second practice of the tune I suddenly felt watched, but this was no ghost (not unless ghosts are ginger and have a fetish for catnip!). I averted my eyes from my hands, through the strings and there it was… the look every cat lover knows, the cold, silent, ‘how dare you disturb my peace’ look, coupled with a slight twitch in her tiger-striped tail. So, I went back to Frère Jacques to test the waters. She was obviously not as impressed as I was with my progress, and she turned her back on me and went upstairs. After this it became clear that so far Purdy loved the harp bag but did not appreciate the harp itself, or it being in the way of her daily walk of the house. A dog would love whatever I do… just kidding Purds… honest.

Week 4 was a break from learning new tunes and techniques and a chance to upload some videos of myself playing the tunes I had learnt to get feedback. I breathed a sigh of relief, I was struggling towards the end of the 3rd week, I had big mental blocks with using the right fingers on the right string and remembering the tunes. I would play one tune and completely forget everything else. I was determined not to give up and playing a glissando helped. Morwenna had shown this along with the finger exercise in week 2 and, as advised, this really helped me through the mental blocks and prevented the frustrating feeling. Result! I made it through the week without feeling like a failure, or like this was all a pointless exercise for someone who has memory issues.

 

As for the video uploads… I was stubborn. Nothing new there! I didn’t send them straight away, I was nervous about anyone seeing my progress and every time I went to film my lessons, I started playing terribly. It was like I froze and couldn’t play. Yet I needed to do this for my confidence and so I could learn more! Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad? Maybe I was doing the thing everyone tells me not to do… maybe I was being too hard on myself! So, I bit the bullet and sent it in… quickly before I could change my mind. I tentatively awaited the reply. A couple of days passed and through it came, the feedback I had been waiting for. Well, I was right, I was being too hard on myself! Ellie, one of our team and harp teachers, gave a lovely friendly response. She gave me thumbs up for how strong my notes sounded and had attached a couple of videos for feedback on hand and finger placement. See Sar, It wasn’t that bad! Have more faith!

Something randomly occurred to me one day this week. It felt like a mini eureka moment almost (maybe it being a sunny day helped with that). I was lost in my random thought process, washing up, watching the crows bicker over tidbits and rubbish… thinking about learning processes and how people learn and perceive things differently. The best example I can think of is artists. I love art and I love watching people draw, but I cannot, for one minute, see how they progress from start to finish. How they foresee what the end product is and how they go about getting there. I can understand the beginning, and the end, but not the in-between. Not the odd line here or there that makes no sense until the piece is finished. Maybe that’s why I struggle with learning new things, I cannot see the change and learning process that needs to take place in order to get to the end result: to be able to play the harp well, without fault, and as to not annoy the cat. Although the girls appreciate the fun of the simple tunes, and I get joy out of being able to play them for the first time, I struggle to see how I will progress to the end. With this in mind, I will continue to mull this over and think about how I can change my thought process and see if it can improve my learning even more in the future. I’m still having good moments in the meantime and that’s the most important thing! Especially as lockdown starts to take its toll now, so when I do play, it’s still helping me to relax and escape for a bit. Bring on lesson 5!

 

Until the next blog, stay safe my friends!

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