What would I be doing if I wasn’t practicing for two hours a day on my harp? I don’t like to think about what life would be like without music. That alternate universe– the “musicless” world–would have to be the most depressing and miserable world ever.
Music has always been a part of me. When I was a baby, I would kick my little legs in the stroller to the beat of songs I heard on the radio. I would sing and dance all over the house.
When I was five, I discovered the violin and its beautiful sound. I asked my parents for lessons, but they said that I was too young and that I would have to wait until I was older. When I was six, I asked again and said, “I’m older now. Can I take violin lessons?” They said yes and I began lessons. I played the violin for seven years.
Since I was five years old, every other year my mom took me to see the New York City Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker.” This pattern continued until I was thirteen when we decided to see other ballets together. The reason why my mom took me to the ballet so often was that she had her own story. She had longed to become a ballerina when she was younger. She wanted to share with me something she loved and had such a passion for. As we watched the Sugar Plum Fairy dance with her Cavalier, I always saw the admiration in my mom’s eyes for the art and her desire to be up there dancing the role of the fairy.
Lincoln Center was where I first saw the instrument that changed my life: the harp. We had front row orchestra seats and there were two beautiful harps. Their sound resonated throughout the New York State Theater and I could not get the heavenly music out of my mind. I then announced to my parents that my next instrument would be the harp. My mom said, “What’s wrong with the flute?” I replied, “I just love string instruments and what could be more majestic than the harp?”
When I was eleven, my feelings about the harp were very real and I was serious about starting harp lessons. My parents found a harp teacher and bought me a gorgeous ebony harp. I was so excited that I was finally going to learn to play this heavenly instrument.
A few years later, there was a time when I stopped playing the harp. My first harp teacher, who at first seemed like a kind person, became less patient as time went on. She was getting older and did not have patience for her less experienced pupils. At one point, I could not take it and at the end of the lesson I was about to cry. I waited to unleash the tears until I got into the car. I knew I couldn’t continue lessons with this teacher since she made me so unhappy. I was miserable not taking lessons, but I didn’t know what to do.
It was extremely difficult to find a harp teacher on Long Island and I stopped playing for almost a year. One day, during the summer, I became so upset. I loved my harp so much that I felt like it was an abandoned child and that I was the neglectful mother. So the search was on. My parents called colleges on Long Island and in Manhattan that had music programs to see if they had harp teachers. No luck! Just when we didn’t know what else to do, my dad had an idea. He googled “find a harp teacher” and that was how we found Brandee! I am taking lessons with her for three years and she is so kind, patient, and cheerful. I am so relaxed with her and I have improved significantly.
I decided last year that I wanted to major in music in college. My goal is to become a professional harpist. Brandee has given me a lot of encouragement and has prepared me very well for my college auditions. Also, my parents are very supportive. They believe that I should follow my dream. I admit it: I am nervous about college, about change, and what the future has in store for me. But I have my music and my harp and together they will guide me through.
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