Still okay on the third finger.

And I’m still surprised about it. I’ve realized that my palm arches a bit when I play like this, the same way that it does when I’m playing the piano. My childhood piano teacher was one of those people who taught her students that when we played, we should be able to “fit a lemon into the hollow of your palm.”

I have no doubt that there are legions of piano teachers nowdays who would screech and act like you shot them if they heard that, only because there are legions of everyone who would screech over everything online. But for me, that means of holding my hand worked and was always comfortable. The piano has never once felt unpleasant to me, granted I never played any super-scary rep.

So it just struck me as interesting that after finally figuring out how to get 3 and 4 to play ball (with 3 pitching), it resulted in a nice, arched palm. Prior to that I had been holding my palm rather flat and thinking of my fingers as hinging like 2x4s at the top knuckle from the tendons along the outside of my hand.

I’m still so pleased about this. I don’t have the speed I’d like to have or that I’ll need eventually, but I’m making progress. My lever harp arrived on November 2, 2014, and here we are in January of 2018, and I’m seeing noteworthy progress.

I still have work to do with the left hand, even being left-handed. That hand feels to me as if I’m trying to play piano standing up — clumsy, kinked, and uncomfortable. It makes such a huge difference to have to reach across my body and that of the harp in order to play.


I’m not going to think about it.

About my own arrangements and compositions, I mean. Not quite yet, or at least not in any huge depth. I need etudes and exercises.

I had to delay a lesson by a week last night unfortunately — or fortunately, since it happened because my teacher’s sister had gone into labor, and my teacher is her birth coach. 🙂 So hopefully the world has been presented with a happy, healthy new baby who is still wondering why everything got bright and cold all of a sudden, and she will be showing me pictures of the little thing next week.

However, I did stop by her house last night, and before she had to beg off to help her sister, she had another student there and I was able to watch this girl play. (A very talented kid with lovely tone.) I could see how her hands were moving, and it just prompted something in my mind, the way she was holding her fingers.

So I sat at my harp after I drove back home and … something in my head happened. It’s not perfect, and it’s still hobbling my thumb somewhat, but I seem to be able to place 4-3 and play 3 , at least in my right hand. My mind seems to be focusing on the interior of my palm more than the tendons running along the back of my hand, and somehow that mental shift appears to be making a difference. When I play like this, I can feel more of the meat in the inside of my hand, along the knuckles, bulking up and working as opposed to feeling the tendons along the outside of my hand sliding around. I don’t know how that’s possible, but it’s helping a lot.

I’m still leaning on 4 a lot while I play, but nothing compared to what I was doing before when it felt like even attempting to play 3 would result in ripping the string clean out of the soundboard with 4.

And it’s been three years. I got my first harp, my 34 string Ravenna, on November 2, 2014. And here I am January 2018, and I finally managed to place 4-3 and play 3 with some sense of comfort, reliably and repeatably.

Oh, damn it, Glinka again.

I knew it would be something Russian, and I think that viola sonata that I like so much might work.

I wonder if I could do it for horn and harp as well, although before I do that I would want to have a horn player listen to it and let me know if it’s playable where it is without giving them screaming nightmares, or if I’d have to transpose it.

I did something stupid yesterday.

I started a new coiled basket, and I have a tendency to work tight … and I knew when I went to bed that I’d be awakened in the middle of the night with a hurting hand. Sure enough … And it was a nasty nerve-pain, not a muscle ache.

I threw what I’d done of the coil basket into the trash this morning. No more coil baskets. 😦

Possibly dumb idea

My teacher has asked me to arrange/compose something for her, and I have this attitude that drinking from a firehose is FUN!!!!! (save me), so I’m contemplating biting off way more than I can chew and hence want to get started now so she can reel my ass back in when I hare off toward a cliff.

However, this means that I have to sit at the piano and work it out in order to understand what it is I’ve wrapped my face around before I try and swallow and get it stuck. I’d rather sit behind the harp and do that sort of work, but the piano is my first language, and it’s far easier for me to work things out when I have all 12 notes in the scale available to me at once and can tell what key I’m in and where I’ve modulated to.

Nevertheless, we’ll see what’s going on here in a few months. If I do bite off quite as much as I’m thinking of doing, I will need to finish it well before her deadline so she can get it under her fingers and also participate in its creation — because given that she can actually play the harp, I’m likely to suggest things that aren’t actually playable and will need to get reeled in.