Last night I thought I’d give myself a little break in my harp practice, so I pulled out some simple music. The harp is the type of instrument that makes even the simplest music sound beautiful. There is no need for massive chords and intricate melodies. It had been a long time since I’d given myself the chance to experience this simple beauty.
Yet I found that I was strangely unsatisfied. There was no electricity to it. I didn’t feel the familiar vibrations I’ve come to expect, or the connection to my instrument. We were not “one.”
I switched over to the new Kim Robertson arrangements I’d just begun working on. The electricity was back! The connection reestablished! The large chords vibrated all the way through to my soul. The deeper I delved into the bass strings, the higher my spirit climbed, even at those frequent times that I stumbled.
The following morning I pondered this experience. I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason the practice was so much more satisfying was not so much the fact that Kim Robertson’s arrangements where so overwhelmingly beautiful – which of course, they are – as the experience of “discovery” was so much more fulfilling. I was discovering the way the music was developing through the piece; the way the chords flowed into each other; the feeling those vibrations brought to my body; my own anticipation of what the next chord would be; my ability to play the chord and make it sound full and rich; and many other subtle nuances that came with the learning of a piece.
I was truly an explorer on a journey of discovery, and the sheet music was my map. This thought gave me an insight into the motivations of the great explorers of history. I have to say that I never understood what made them strike out into unknown territory and face hardships they could not even anticipate. Now I have a clue – it’s the thrill of finding something new and magical – in the world or in yourself. It’s the wonder of seeing majesty and nobility – in nature and in action. And most of all, learning about and understanding the universe – both the universe around us, and inside us.
So I continue on the quest. There are many maps before me. I wonder which one I’ll choose next, and I wonder what I’ll discover.