The Bliss of Teaching

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As college students, I think most of us are very eager to learn as much as possible. And learning is a combination of attending lessons and gaining experience. So I, as well as many, many other music students learn to say “yes” to every imaginable project that asks for harp. As a college student, I played in the school symphony orchestra, as well as student’s project orchestras, in chamber music groups, jazz groups, pop groups, really, anything. I was asked to record lots of things, with the brass band, music for computer games, glissandi for singers, new music, folk music and anything in between. Getting in touch with all this different music, being a person deeply in love with music, made me wanting to excel at everything. At least do the best I could ever manage.

So, I love playing new music. I love making arrangements from scratch of pop tunes written by musicians who don’t handle written music. I love performing classical music. I love working as a studio musician, producing perfect sounds for a recording.

But there is another level of musical love for me, and what I primarily love doing, is to play jazz and to improvise. All my education have had one single goal: becoming a jazz harpist. So doing everything else have been great experiences, but still, a side track. And now, well out of college, I want to spend time doing the thing I truly love the most, so I spend time working on projects within jazz, with other jazz musicians, always having improvisation and those rich harmonies in focus.

So what do I do with all the love I have for other genres? Here is the bliss, really: I teach. I wouldn’t play the Mozart Harp & Flute concerto next week, but I know which student I would recommend. I don’t know 20 different Irish reels or jigs by heart, but I have a student who does. My singing has a lot to ask for, but I have a student who sings and plays the harp beautifully. So all my curiosity for other genres when I was in college, has paid off for me now, as a teacher. I get to talk about Tournier phrasing 40 minutes a week, and then Colombian harp techniques, and so on.

And the beauty of it all, is that there is no jealousy. I am so proud that I am outrun by my students. I am so happy that I get to pass on knowledge I have picked up in the hunt for my own dreams, and hand it over to those who have other dreams than me.

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