Ideal Harp - #Harpril - Day 16
When I purchased my harp I thought that maybe I'd trade it in for a pedal harp within five years. That was an option with Lyon & Healy harps, and one of the reasons I purchased my harp from them. (See "How I Met My Harp - Day 7") When the five year limit was up I was not ready to give up my harp! I love my harp and decided I wanted to keep it.
Over the past nine years I have had three or four lap harps and my next ideal harp is yet another one. I would like to get a harp that is not only easier to carry and transport (yes, please!) but one that I could use for hospital/hospice playing and children's activities, such as programs at the library and in schools.
For now, I'm happy with my Prelude harp and look forward to playing more in the Prattville and River Region in the near future!
Work in Progress - #Harpril - Day 15
Me! I am a work in progress!
My two biggest projects at the moment are:
1 - Having pictures taken for updated business cards, fliers, my website, social media and more. I worked hard last fall to update all of my accounts, switching from Chattanooga, TN to Prattville, AL and from Bennett to Murphy. It's time to get new printed materials and I need a new picture to go on my business cards. This is one of those details that being a business owner entails. We often show the glamourous side of playing harp, share videos, and updates on lessons and gigs, but there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes to ensure the business runs smoothly and efficiently. I have worked on following more entrepeneurs on social media that are encouraging and helpful, giving tips and advice about running a successful business.
2 - Recording some music for a special dinner coming up. This is a dinner I am attending but unable to take the harp to. I am trying this as a "let's see what happens" type of project! Other than Facebook lives while *busking on the streets in Chattanooga with Sidewalk Stages, I haven't done much recording. (Click HERE to watch a Facebook Live at the Chattanooga ChooChoo.) It took close to two hours to get one song recorded, watch videos on how to edit it, edit it successfully, and download it to the file it needed to be in. I asked my husband to listen to it to see if he thought the sound was okay and he noticed the clock ticking in the background! As with any project, it gets faster as you go. I'm enjoying the challenge and look forward to being able to edit the recordings in a more timely fashion as I learn the ins and outs of the app I'm using.
I've had several people ask about recordings and want me to put out a CD. I appreciate the interest, but there's a LOT that goes on when recording, including dealing with copyrights. I have not completely dismissed the idea of recording music but am working on this first project to see how things go.
What is your favorite song or a song you'd like to hear on the harp?
The activity of playing music in the street
or another public place for voluntary donations.
Harping Hands - #Harpril - Day 14
Photo Credit: Keith Heptinstall
Let's imagine something for just a moment.
Close your eyes and picture a beautiful harp sitting on stage, lights are dim in the auditorium and everyone claps as a young lady wearing a long black dress enters the stage from the right. She takes a bow and sits down behind a beautiful dark wood harp with gold designs down the sound board. The performer gently places her hands on either side of the harp and slowly leans it back onto her right shoulder. She takes a deep breath and begins to play the most beautiful song you have ever heard!
Before she arrived at this performance she spent many hours practicing. She had to plan her time carefully because she played too long one day and got a blister on her left ring finger. She practiced some with a bandaid but it's just not the same as using your finger. Once that blister healed she was able to play a bit more, until another blister formed on her right index finger and before she realized it, it popped and there were spots of blood on the strings and the down the sound board. After cleaning that up she took another break. She'd study the music without playing so she wouldn't lose what she had learned so far but gave her fingers time to heal.
As soon as they were good to go again she continued practicing, plucking the strings softly, slowly working her way up to playing the correct dynamics, especially where there were several fortissimo measures in a row! She practiced for several hours, with 10-15 minute breaks every hour, not only so she'd have the song down and performance ready, but so that her fingers would callus. She persevered through the callus making process and performed an amazing recital for family and friends.
That beautiful music you heard came with not only a lot of time, practice, and perseverance, but also some pain!
Dream Gig - #Harpril - Day 13
Right now, I have two dream gigs.
One would be an ongoing gig at a nursing home/assisted living or hotel - once a week for several months, or once a month for a year. I have returned to certain places, like the Cottage Treasures Tea House for their Christmas events a couple of years in a row. Being able to return and play at the same location allows me to get to know some of the staff members and even some residents/customers. It's rewarding to hear "I remember you from last year and am looking forward to hearing you play again this evening."
The other dream gig I have would be to travel and do a concert tour.
"Bethany Murphy, Harp tour - buy tickets now!"
But it's a dream, so there are no links for purchasing tickets at this time.
I have, however, traveled with a small harp several times and played in weddings and for special events in Brazil. Though not a concert tour, I'll take it!
I used to dream of being able to take harp gigs and then hire other harpists to take part of the gig. Of course it's all discussed with the client and agreed upon ahead of time. This actually did happen for a Christmas open house a couple of years ago and I was able to split a gig with a harpist friend, Rachel.
Playing with Rachel Payne
I'd love to hear about one of your biggest dreams. Whether it has come true or you're working towards it, share in the comments below!
Favorite Photo - #Harpril - Day 12
I went through lots of photos trying to decide which one is my favorite. One of my favorites was posted on Day 8, but I've picked two other photos for today.
The first one is one I took in my music studio in Trenton, GA. I took lots of photos that day, as I was in need of some new ones for my social media and website. I have plans to update my photos again very soon.
The second photo is from one of my first weddings, also one of the easiest! This particular one was at the Bluff View Art District in downtown Chattanooga overlooking the Tennessee River. It was a small, intimate wedding on a beautiful day in May. This bride and groom were the first couple to ever request a song that was not only not a part of my repertoire, but one I had never heard before. I bought sheet music for it, practiced and played Fields of Gold for their wedding that day.
I played two weddings that Saturday - one in Chattanooga and one in Jasper, TN. That was the only time I've ever played two weddings in one day and I have no plans of ever doing that again as it was quite exhausting!
Favorite Thing to Play - #Harpril -
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