The Minnesota Orchestra sent various musicians to present and perform their instruments for my elementary school (Robert Fulton). I will always remember seeing the gold harp and hearing the harpist play glissandos. I begged my mom to buy a gold harp for me. Once she saw how much they cost, she firmly told me the piano was all I would get.
My family's finances never changed and the dream seemed hopeless.
Until I moved to New York and discovered "office temping". Struggling actors typically supported themselves either by waiting tables or office temping while waiting for their lucky break. I landed a word processing job at the best law firm ever, Sullivan & Cromwell, an international firm open 24/7. I literally worked day and night, weekdays and weekends.
I saved enough money to rent, take lessons, and finally buy two pedal harps and build one 34-string clarsach.
So don't give up! Yes, they're expensive, but there are possibilities.
Teaching. This includes my main profession these days, photography.
I've been very fortunate to have studied with some of the best teachers in the modern world and love sharing what I've learned with beginning harpists.
My first teacher was Lucien Thomson, a devoted student of the great Marcel Grandjany at Juillard. Lucien's words, his style of teaching are indelibly imprinted in my memory.
Lucien taught as Grandjany did and even gave me etudes and materials that Mr. Grandjany used. Mr. Grandjany taught much by demonstration, Lucien said partly because as an immigrant from Paris, Mr. Grandjany's English was sometimes lacking. Lucien was patient, but meticulous about technique and how to practice.
Lucien was not the only harp great I studied with. Kathleen Bride, who as a child also studied with Mr. Grandjany. Frances Miller, when I visited family here in Minneapolis; and Eileen Malone when she taught at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
After I adopted my son, 20 years ago, I devoted nearly all my non-working hours to nurturing him and doing things as a family.
When my mom was dying, we moved from New York to Minneapolis to be near her and take care of her. There was no time to practice, perform, or look for work as a harpist. Minneapolis was also like a new town to me now.
I went back to school, majored in photography and digital art, which I also love. These have been my main line of work.
My son grown up now. There is now time to practice, share, and educate. I began to teach photography to kids and teens. During summer photography camps, I got the idea to bring a Celtic harp for the kids to play during free time. They love the chance to actually play a harp, instead of just watching someone else play.
Community activism and voter registration was also an important part of my life in New York. I worked as a photographer for Hillary Clinton's campaign here in Minnesota.
Spirituality and ethics are important in these times. Having had good religious experiences and instruction in my life, I've enjoyed teaching Sunday School for over 12 years now.
My passion is sharing my knowledge and experience - in this case harpistry - with children and adults who want to learn.
Hopkins, Minnesota 55343, United States
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