Sunday, October 18, 2015

Harp Day

The main character in my work-in-progress is a high school girl who hopes to attend college as a harp major. Yesterday, I went to Harp Day at Michigan State University. It's a recruiting event to attract prospective harp majors to the MSU College of Music and also a chance for local harpists to get together. Attendees can sign up to get a lesson with Dr. Chen Yu Huang, take a master class and participate in Harp Jam. I went as an observer.

I had a chance to hear two of MSU's freshman harp students perform. It was like my character came to life and played for me. I chatted with a high school student from Grand Rapids who hopes to attend MSU as a harp major. "You're writing a book about me?" (direct quote) I asked several young players why they chose harp as an instrument, and their answers were close to what I’d written for my main character.

The Master Class provided ample material for the harp lesson in my novel. The revised version will likely come to next month's critique group. I enjoyed the variety of music students brought to the master class. I was impressed by the students’ talent and skill.

I also got to hear the fabulous Modern Harp Quartet. If you click through the website, you can hear excerpts from several of their pieces.

I came home inspired, perhaps more as a writer than a harpist. But that’s what I am, a writer. 


Buffy Silverman said...

I love that affirmation in the last line of this post. I should copy and print it in 42 pt. and post it above my desk.

Ann Finkelstein said...

Buffy: I aspire to being a great writer. I only have to become a better harpist.

Kristin Lenz said...

Which came first - you learning to play the harp or your character?

Ann Finkelstein said...

Kristin: The character came first. I contacted a local harpist to ask if I could hire her as a consultant. She said, "I really think you need to take lessons."

Wyman Stewart said...

A great consultant! I know this is a useless question: Did any student mention Harpo Marx as one inspiration for taking up the Harp?

Seeing Harpo Marx play the Harp in movies turned me into a life-long fan of the instrument. It's wonderful to hear a good Harpist play. Wish I could have joined you. Also, I'm glad to "hear" the Harp remains a popular instrument.

Beep! Beep! :-) (Or Honk! Honk! in Harpo-ing)

Off to that Harping link now! Thank you!!!

Ann Finkelstein said...

Wyman: While we're digressing into puns, one of the high school students played "Boogie Man Blues" by Carrie Lane Gruselle. The left hand played a walking bass line, like a double bass would play in a traditional jazz band. The right hand had a simple melody that included a glissando scream. The composer's notes mentioned that boogie men spend so much time hiding under beds that they get lonely. Thus, the boogie man blues.