As a relatively young musician, my main daily focus is improving my harp skills. The best way to do this, of course, is hours and hours of personal practice. Naturally, staying in the same tiny room with bare walls for long periods of time can get, well, very lonely and boring. Last fall, early on in my freshman year, I had the bright idea of decorating one of the two harp practice rooms with cool pictures. My professor didn’t seem bothered by the idea, and the other three harpists didn’t seem too bothered, so I went for it. My goal was to have Harry Styles, Kermit the Frog, and John Denver plastered all over the walls, but my printer ran out of ink after Harry Styles. As a broke college kid, I refused to sink any more money into color ink, so a Harry Styles themed practice room it would be. Well before Halloween, the practice room was perfect.
As a studio, we often discussed the pictures gracing the walls. My fellow freshman had no trouble telling me that I had bad taste, the grad and DMA students didn’t give any negative or positive feedback, and my professor didn’t even know who Harry was. Of course, we didn’t waste time in showing her what she was missing. “So, you like guys with long hair?” was her original response to the picture I was quick to show her.
From then on, my professor often brought Harry up in lessons. I have a tendency to play the harp like I want to kill someone, so she would often tell me to think of Harry Styles and try to play nice and soft at certain parts of the music. Honestly, I think it worked. I specifically remember learning an excerpt from Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” and playing it for everyone in harp studio one week. After my short performance, my professor asked me if I knew what was happening in that part of the music. I admitted that I didn’t, and she proceeded to explain. “Well, the two swans in this part are..about to dance, so think of..think of you and Harry Styles!” The five us in studio laughed, and needless to say, my second performance was filled with more emotion and love.
Now several months later, yesterday I had my first harp lesson as a sophomore. In the middle of digging into a brand new piece, my professor looked away from the music and said, “Oh, before I forget, there’s something I need to tell you.”
In that split second, terror ran through my veins. Does she think I should switch my major? Is she canceling my November recital? Am I losing my scholarship?
Two seconds later, she smiled and said, “Over the summer I saw a guy who looked just like Harry Styles! And he even plays the saxophone! He’s perfect for you!” (I have a thing for sax players. Especially if you’re a jazz saxophonist. Or a jazz musician in general. Anyways, I digress.)
It sure is great to be back at school to not only receive excellent musical training, but to have an instructor that knows about my life and my pathetic obsession with a certain boy band member. I certainly am excited to see what this semester will bring, and what I will learn from my amazing harp professor.