Category Archives: Classical

The Fantastic Flutewise at Abbotsholme 2017

Young flute players always enjoy our courses at this beautiful venue. Book Flutewise today!

Flutewise at Abbotsholme is a fantastic residential flute course for young players from the age of 8 to 18, from approximately Grade 1 to diploma level.  Abbotsholme is a beautiful venue in the heart of the countryside on the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border near Alton Towers.
Fantastic Flute Fun with Flutewise at Abbotsholme
The course runs from Thursday 27 to Sunday 30 July and it is possible to come for the whole course or one or two nights only.
Discounts available for bookings before 30 June.
Full details can be found on our website.
Beautiful Abbotsholme
The Flutewise Trust is a registered charity and has the highest possible child safe-guarding policies. We have been running course since 1988. During the course, which is staffed by extremely experienced flute teaches and professional players, we cover a wide range of playing, music making and performance as well as social activities. Everything is carefully planned with the individual in mind. Parents can rest assured that their young flute player will have a rewarding time in a safe, friendly and stimulating environment.
The Flutewise Team

Stephen Kovacevich will be performing Bach’s Partita No.4 in D Major.

An exciting evening of music, song, and art, in the beautiful and ancient church of St Mary the Virgin in Ladywell, Lewisham.

The legendary American classical pianist and conductor Stephen Kovacevich will be performing Bach’s Partita No.4 in D Major.

Also performing will be a flute quartet supported by local musicians and singers performing a variety of pieces.

In addition there will be a short talk by Susan Jones from the Courtauld Institute of Art on the fascinating 1432 painting by Hubert and Jan van Eyck, the Ghent Altarpiece. It was recently described as ‘arguably the most glorious extant work from the late Middle Ages’.

Half of all proceeds from the concert will go to the charity St.Mungo’s, who are working to end homelessness and rebuild lives. They provide a bed and support to more than 2,600 people a night who are homeless or at risk.

For a suggested donation of £10 you can sponsor your very own key on the piano that Stephen Kovacevich will be playing at the concert! For this you can have your name mentioned in the concert programme, and as the piano hire cost is £880 and there are 88 keys to sponsor we will have paid for the piano.

The rest of the concert proceeds will go toward the Lewisham Park (Crescent) Residents’ Association, who work to improve the park for the local community, planting trees and providing new benches and rubbish bins. The Association chose to support St.Mungo’s because as homelessness in Lewisham, and indeed London, becomes increasingly evident, numbers of people have been rough-sleeping in the park, even in the cold of the winter months.

Stephen Kovacevich is known as one of the most prominent interpreters among living pianists and his recordings, including Bach, Beethoven and Bartók, have astonished even the most demanding of critics. He has directed the London Mozart Players, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and his chamber music partners have included Jacqueline du Pre, Martha Argerich, Steven Isserlis, Nigel Kennedy, Lyn Harrell, Sarah Chang, Gautier and Renaud Capucon, and Emmanuel Pahud.

J.S. Bach composed six keyboard Partitas, or suites of dances, that have become a landmark of the pianist’s repertory, even though the music was probably originally conceived for the harpsichord.

The Fourth Partita, in D major, is arguably the most cohesive in the collection, and it demonstrates Bach’s unfailing imagination and skill, with its’ rich variety of styles and moods, from the pensive to the virtuosic.

Tonight’s Partita was composed between 1726–1729 and is the fourth suite in his Clavier-Ubung (Keyboard Practice). It consists of seven movements in D major.

  1. Ouverture (The beginning is in two time, and then moves into three)
  2. Allemande
  3. Courante
  4. Aria
  5. Sarabande
  6. Menuet
  7. Gigue

In keeping with a nineteenth-century naming tradition that labelled Bach’s first set of Suites English and the second French,the Partitas are sometimes referred to as the German Suites. This title, however, is a publishing convenience; there is nothing particularly German about the Partitas. In comparison with the two earlier sets of suites, the Partitas are by far the most free-ranging in terms of structure. Unlike the English Suites, for example, wherein each opens with a strict prelude, the Partitas feature a number of different opening styles including an ornamental Overture and a Toccata.

More info and tickets

A Piano Competition with a Difference

Would you like to enter a piano composition competition via the internet without leaving home?
it’s very simple to participate, you only need to play your own piano composition (1 to 4 minutes) and send the audio file. You don’t need to send the score, just the audio file.
Inscription: 10 euros or equivalent in dollars. 3 money prizes, cd’s and certificate.
In this competition you choose the winner of the cash prizes through a voting system published on the web. The deadline to submit your composition is 20th May 2017. When you enter the voting rounds you only vote for the music you listen to without knowing the author’s name or pseudonym. It’s only known when the final results are given that their identity is revealed.
There is something new this year. After receiving some suggestions from last year’s participants, own works will not be included in groups each one use to vote and the first of the three cash prizes rises. You always will be very welcome. 
Enter here to read complete guidelines:
49 countries took part in past Fidelio piano competitions!
With best wishes
Antonio Ruiz Asumendi (Fidelio Manager)

Azerbaijan International Ambassador: Soprano, Gulshan Ibadova

It is with great pride that we can announce that Gulshan Ibadova is to represent the musicians of Azerbaijan for the FFM community. We look forward to hearing  news and updates on the music scene in the beautiful country of Azerbaijan.

GULSHAN IBADOVA SOPRANO Azerbaijan.Baku.Khatai rayon. R.Bagirov 39.2 Tel: +994557280116 e-mail:



To become an ambassador for your country, email Roger Moisan directly at introducing yourself, outlining your musical story and what you can offer to this role.


Interview with recent Chicago Symphony second flute audition winner Emma Gerstein

Emma Gerstein, principal flute of the Auckland Philharmonia in New Zealand, has recently won the second flute position in the Chicago Symphony.  We talk to Emma about her experience playing with the orchestra, her audition preparation process and ask her for general audition advice.

  • How long have you been playing with the Auckland Philharmonia? Is the experience what you expected?

I applied via an “expression of interest” last December, and I moved to Auckland to do a 5 month contract starting in February.  The audition for the tenure-track position was in April.  It’s been a joy to live in such a beautiful country, even for such a short time, and to get to play in this orchestra.  I adore my colleagues!

  • What have been some of the highlights playing with the orchestra?

Our Music Director, Giordano Bellincampi, was also new to the APO last season.  He is so wonderful at pushing the orchestra to play to the highest standard.  He expects so much of us, which makes me want to be better all the time.  When he’s on the podium, there’s a real sense that he’s listening and reacting to what’s going on, and that he loves the music.  We did a semi-staged version of Verdi’s Otello with Giordano last July, and it’s a performance I will definitely remember forever.

  • How was your audition day for the Chicago Symphony? How did it compare to other auditions you have taken?

The prelim round was in November, and I flew back to Chicago from Auckland a few days before.  I was worried about how jetlag may impact my playing. I had never traveled so far for an audition before (I had already been in NZ for 2 months before the APO audition), so I felt more pressure than usual because I had invested more.  Also, this was a job I wanted more than just about any other I’d ever gone for – for all of the obvious reasons, but additionally because I grew up in Chicago. On the day I felt the normal nervous audition feelings, only amplified by about 10.

  • How did you feel after your first round?  Did you expect to advance?

I thought I played well, but I really wasn’t sure.  Some things didn’t go according to plan, but others went well. I was hopeful but not super confident. When they announced my number I was so relieved, but then also instantly stressed again.  The finals were almost 3 months later, so I knew I’d have to keep practicing the list.

  • What are some musical factors that you believe help set musicians apart at an audition?

I was able to sit on an audition panel in the APO as a non-voting member, and it was really interesting to be on the other side of the screen.  I think many people are consumed by the technical process of playing their instrument, and they forget that they are making music.  Of course one should strive to play in tune, in time, with a nice sound, etc.  But I think what really sets someone apart is also showing musical style, phrasing, and making that unique and personal to you.  No one wants or expects to hear total perfection, and I think committee members can be more forgiving about small mistakes than I had assumed.

  • How did you prepare for the audition?  Did you follow any kind of regimen? 

I wanted to feel really comfortable with the list, which was massive, so I started about 6 weeks before the prelim. My normal audition m.o. was to procrastinate and then cram, which was occasionally successful but mostly just made me feel super stressed. I worked to maintain my fundamentals during this time – practicing exercises for articulation, vibrato, as well as scales, long tones, etc.  I listened to the pieces A LOT.  Even the ones I felt I knew well. It’s a good reminder of the context, and it helps to keep everything feeling fresh, even if you’ve played the excerpt literally thousands of times.  I also tried to take care of myself, both physically and mentally.  I cut back on coffee and alcohol, and tried to sleep enough and to get exercise.

  • What advice can you offer to those on the audition circuit?

Don’t compare yourselves to others.  I wasted so much time either validating myself or putting myself down based on how other people were doing around me.  There’s no sense focusing on this. I was very inconsistent for a long time.  I still don’t know why I did “well” in certain auditions, and not in others.  So much of this process is totally out of your control, and whether or not you advance or win does not define you as a musician or as a person.


Emma Gerstein is currently Principal Flute of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in New Zealand.  In February 2017 she was appointed to the position of Second Flute with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra by Riccardo Muti, which she will begin in September 2017.  Prior to the APO Emma was a Flute Fellow at the New World Symphony for two and a half seasons and Principal Flute of the Lexington Philharmonic for one.  She studied with Thomas Robertello at Indiana University (MM) and Robert Langevin at Manhattan School of Music (BM).   For more info go to

An interview with Matthew Winter, solo bass trombonist with the Finnish Radio Orchestra

Matthew Winter is currently solo bass trombonist with the Finnish Radio Symphony. A position he won while an undergraduate student at the Juilliard School.  We talk to Matthew about his experience playing with the orchestra, the differences between auditions in the United States and Europe, his audition preparation process and also ask for general audition advice.

  • How long have you been playing with the Finnish Radio Symphony? Is the experience what you expected?

I started playing in the Finnish radio orchestra in the 2015/2016 season on a one year contract (via tape audition) after my mentor and former teacher at Juilliard Denson Paul Pollard decided to leave his position with the FRSO and return to the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. I won the full time position at the end of the season in May.

I have to say I had not heard many recordings of the orchestra prior to moving to Helsinki. But I was really impressed with the quality of musicianship and how welcoming everyone was.

  • What have been some of the highlights playing with the orchestra?

There are many benefits to playing in the FRSO. One is that we tour a lot. In fact during my first season we did a tour of Japan as well as one in Austria. The Austrian tour was especially fun for me because I had always wanted to visit and it was my first time there. The program included Shostakovich’s fifth symphony, Adams Short Ride in a fast machine, as well John Adams Violin Concerto Sheherazade.2 with the great violinist Leila Josefowicz.

The other thing about the FRSO is that we record multiple cds every year. My very first rehearsals with the orchestra were for an upcoming cd of compositions by Erkki Melartin and Magnus Lindberg.  Magnus Lindberg was present for the recording which was very exciting. Its always a treat to play music for the composer. The camaraderie in our Low brass section as well as the rest of the orchestra was especially great when we were recording.

  • How many auditions had you taken before the Finnish Radio Symphony?

Finland was my 9th audition.

  • How was your audition day? How did it compare to other auditions you have taken?

The audition was two days. The first day we played a preliminary round and the second day we had a semi final, final and super final round. All prelims and semi final rounds were behind a screen, which is fairly similar to my experience with other auditions. However, the first round consisted of a solo work, Norman Bolter’s Sagittarius 2, and then excerpts which is different than many auditions I have taken where you play excerpts first and solos in the later rounds.
The convenient thing about those two days was that they were extremely well organized by the orchestra management. Everyone had their own rooms to warm up in and things went almost exactly according to schedule which doesn’t happen at most auditions from my personal experience.

  • Was your experience taking an audition outside the United States what you expected?  Were there differences compared to auditions based in the United States?

This audition was actually my third European audition so I had a vague idea of some of the logistical differences between auditions in Europe vs. the U.S. As I said earlier the European auditions often start with a solo which in the U.S. is not typically the case. They also do not auto advance candidates like in the U.S. Everyone has to play a preliminary round regardless of their qualifications.  Another interesting thing about many auditions in Europe including Finland is that the committees listening are much larger. In the Final round for the FRSO the screen came down and there were over twenty people including the conductor sitting in front of me, which was a bit surprising and uncomfortable at first. I remember finishing my Final round and the whole committee applauding (which they do for all finalists) and not being quite sure whether to bow or to just give a quick nod and leave the room.

  • How did you feel after your first round?  Did you expect to advance?

My first round felt very secure. But I recall being very nervous before hand and knowing that a job that I really wanted was on the line. However I committed to going for it and I felt confident afterwards that I would advance.

  • What are some musical factors that you believe help set musicians apart at an audition?

One of my colleagues in the FRSO Darren Acosta had a very good answer to this question. He said there are three different levels of playing in an audition. No. 1 is having the basic fundamentals such as sound, pitch, rhythm etc. No. 2 is the basic sense of style for each excerpt. In other words playing with appropriate dynamics, and articulations. No. 3 is being able to communicate emotionally with your listener, which is very rare to hear in an audition. But if you can achieve that you can really set yourself apart from everyone else. I think the candidate who can let go of the technique to a degree and really take a risk musically is at an advantage.

  • How did you prepare for the audition?  Did you follow any kind of regimen? 

My preparation for this audition was very intense. Prior to the audition I decided to send an email to Mark Inouye (principal trumpet of san francisco symphony)  and ask him how he prepared for auditions. He said he would play through 6-7 excerpts, record them, listen back at half speed and take very specific notes on each excerpt. Then practice those things he had written in his notes and once he was finished, he would repeat the same process with 6-7 other excerpts. I really can’t thank Mark Inouye enough for his advice. So I did this regime 6 days a week for 4 weeks. When you pratice this much its good to take a day off from audition repertoire. In addition, I compiled a playlist on spotify of all the orchestral works and solos on the Audition list. Then I would do a mock audition nearly everyday. I would either do this for my tape recorder, one of my low brass colleagues or other members of the orchestra. This was very helpful. The more different instrumentalists you can play for the more you learn about your strengths and weaknesses as a performer. It also gives you great insight as to what audition committees want to hear.

  • What advice can you offer to those on the audition circuit?

I would say that the biggest assets we have as musicians are work ethic, diligence and personality. If you are willing to put in the time, never quit and allow yourself to be who you are, I believe you will succeed eventually. There’s a Babe Ruth quote aboutdiligence I find very motivating. “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.”  We have to understand that its important to be content with our playing and musicianship regardless of whether we win an audition or not. We need to keep reminding ourselves why we chose to perform in the first place, that way we can persevere through difficult times when we don’t get the results we are hoping for.


Matthew Winter is currently the solo bass trombonist of the Finnish radio Symphony Orchestra. A position he won while pursuing his bachelors degree at the Juilliard School.  Previously Mr. Winter was also a member of the Verbier Festival Orchestra for two summers.

In addition to this he has performed with distinguished ensembles such as the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and the New York City Ballet Orchestra. He has worked with great conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Paavo Jarvi, David Zinman, Manfred Honeck, Alan Gilbert, Michael Thilson Thomas, Ivan Fischer, and Gianandrea Noseda.

When Mr. Winter is not playing trombone he enjoys composing and playing the piano. His trombone quartet “ildiko” was premiered at the Juilliard School in 2014 for the non-major composition competition and was selected to be performed in Alice Tully Hall. This work was also premiered in Spain in the summer of 2015 and recently in Finland and Estonia.


Can I Win an Audition While Working a Job?

Jason Heath

Interview with Berlin Philharmonic Concertmaster

Noah Bendix-Balgley is currently first concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic – a position he won in 2014.  We talk to Noah about his experience playing with the orchestra, the differences between auditions in the United States and Europe, his audition preparation process and also ask for advice to those auditioning.

  • How long have you been playing as concertmaster with the Berlin Philharmonic? Is the experience what you expected?

I started playing with the Berlin Philharmonic in the fall of 2014. It has a wonderful and exciting experience,  and I am still challenged and energized by the opportunity to make music with such amazing colleagues here in Berlin.

  • What was your first day on the job like?

I was very nervous. I had won the audition 8 months earlier, but hadn’t yet played with the orchestra at all. My first program included Richard Strauss ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’, which of course has a large and difficult concertmaster solo. I had prepared a great deal, but didn’t know what to expect in terms of how the group functions in rehearsal. Once the rehearsal started and we started playing, I was able to calm down a bit and get into the music making.

  • What have been some of the highlights playing with the orchestra?

Certainly one highlight was the Beethoven Symphony cycle that the orchestra did last season. We recorded all the symphonies, and performed the cycle in a number of wonderful halls: Berlin Philharmonie, Paris Philharmonie, Vienna Musikverein, and Carnegie Hall in New York. It was wonderful to devote a large amount of time to these works, and to see how our performances and interpretations developed over the weeks, and changed in different concert halls.

The yearly summer outdoor concert at the Waldbühne is always a lot of fun. Wonderful mood and energy from an audience of 19000!

  • How many auditions had you taken before the Berlin Philharmonic?

Before Berlin, the main audition I took was for the Pittsburgh Symphony concertmaster job (where I was from 2011 until 2015). Before that audition, I was doing a lot of international violin competitions.

  • How was your audition day? How did it compare to other auditions you have taken?

It all happened very quickly. When I auditioned in Pittsburgh, I played a couple of auditions, as well as some guest weeks with the orchestra before I was offered the job. In Berlin, it was just one day. I was nervous. Luckily I had found out the previous day that I would be playing first. If I only found that out when I arrived at the hall, I think I would have been even more nervous!

I think there were a couple of things that helped me. First, I had played in the hall a few months earlier, performing Ein Heldenleben on tour with the Pittsburgh Symphony. So I knew the space and the hall already a bit.

Secondly, I went into the audition with relatively little expectation or pressure.

I already had a wonderful job in Pittsburgh, and thought the audition in Berlin would be a great challenge and opportunity. But I really didn’t think I would get it. I just wanted to enjoy the opportunity to play in the great hall in Berlin and I wanted to do my very best.

  • Was your experience taking an audition outside the United States what you expected?  What were the differences compared to auditions for orchestras in the US?

In Berlin (and in many German orchestras), the entire orchestra listens to the audition, not just a small audition committee. So it is a bit intimidating to look out into the hall, and see the entire Berlin Phil sitting there. But on the other hand, one can think of it as more of a performance, rather than a test or exam.

  • How did you feel after your first round?  Did you expect to advance?

Everyone played Mozart Concerto in the first round. I played the 4th concerto. I was nervous and a bit tight. I felt I played all right, but not great. I remember enjoying playing with the pianist. I didn’t have an expectation either way after the first round. I knew there were many other outstanding candidates there at the audition, so I tried not to get my hopes up.

Once I passed and had to play Brahms Concerto in the second round, I decided to just go for it: to enjoy the opportunity and really put everything out there, rather than taking a cautious approach.

  • What are some musical factors that you believe help set musicians apart at an audition?

In these times, the general technical level is very high. We have to accept that as a given at this point. However, I hear few candidates who have a special, personal sound, a sound which is beautiful and intriguing, that draws me in. I want to hear musicians who have a clear conception of style: candidates who play a different sound and approach for Mozart and for Brahms for example, and show me that they understand these composers.

  • How did you prepare for the audition?  Did you follow any kind of regimen? 

For my Pittsburgh audition, I didn’t have much experience as a concertmaster or taking auditions, so I immersed myself in the concertmaster solos, listening to many recordings, studying scores, and finding as many teachers and concertmasters as I could to play for.

For the Berlin audition, I only got the invitation to the audition a few weeks before it took place. I had a busy schedule of other concerts in the weeks leading up to the audition, so I was forced to be very efficient in my practicing. I had to trust that I knew the repertoire (Mozart and Brahms Concertos, plus concertmaster solos). Luckily I had played all of it before. So I focused on getting in the best violin shape possible, and refining the musical statement I wanted to make. I couldn’t waste time rehashing the pieces and trying to reconstruct them from the bottom up!

  • What advice can you offer to those on the audition circuit?

I believe that there is an obsession these days with orchestral excerpts that can be unhealthy. Of course, they are an important part of auditions. However, I see many young musicians obsessing over these little excerpts, working and reworking them for years, asking ‘what is the right way to play a particular excerpt for a particular orchestra’?

I believe that a more holistic approach is needed. Young musicians should use their time as students at conservatory to perfect their instrumental craft and to become more complete musicians. This means playing lots of chamber music. My primary preparation for being a concertmaster was the years I spent playing in a quartet at conservatory in Munich. Quartet playing taught me to think for myself, to be independent, to come up with a musical viewpoint and to defend it both intellectually and with my playing. It taught me to be aware of multiple voices at the same time: to lead and to follow simultaneously.

This means getting to know and playing as much of the orchestral repertoire as possible, not just the pieces that show up on excerpt lists! This means getting to know music outside of your own instrument’s repertoire. If you really know Mozart operas, you will play Mozart orchestral excerpts much better. This means studying the complete works, not just your own part. How can you play the famous Don Juan excerpt without knowing what this tone poem is about, and what the other instruments are playing around your part? Without listening to other Strauss tone poems or operas? We have such amazing resources today. On the internet, one can find the score and dozens of videos and recordings of a particular piece in seconds! Musicians can take advantage of this much more than they do.

Finally, one piece of information that I realized only after sitting on the other side, as a member of an audition committee. The jury wants you to do your best! They are not out to catch anyone, or to find some tiny mistake so that they can eliminate you. If they are, then you don’t want to join that particular group anyhow!

The committee truly wants to hear all the candidates at their best, showing their full capabilities and showing who they are as people and as artists.


Nikolaj Lund 4 web.jpg

First Concertmaster of the Berliner Philharmoniker, Noah Bendix-Balgley has thrilled and moved audiences around the world with his performances.

Since becoming a Laureate of the 2009 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels and gathering acclaim at further international competitions, Noah has appeared as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Orchestre National de Belgique, and the North Carolina Symphony among others. Recent highlights and forthcoming highlights include recitals throughout Europe and the United States, performances with the Adelaide and Auckland symphony orchestras, the Utah Symphony, Nagoya Philharmonic, China Philharmonic, Brahms Double Concerto with cellist Alisa Weilerstein and Tomas Netopil at the Aspen Music Festival. In June 2016, the Noah premiered his own klezmer concerto ‘Fidl-Fantazye’ with the Pittsburgh Symphony conducted by Manfred Honeck.

From 2011 until 2015, Noah was Concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. His Pittsburgh debut recital in January 2012 was named the “Best Classical Concert of 2012” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Noah’s performance with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, featuring his own original cadenzas, was acclaimed by critics and audiences alike. Noah also performed his own version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” for solo violin in front of 39,000 fans at the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Day at PNC Park.

Noah is a passionate and experienced chamber musician. He has performed with artists including Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Gary Hoffman, Emanuel Ax, Lars Vogt, and Robert Levin. Noah has appeared at numerous festivals in Europe and North America, including the Verbier Festival, the Sarasota Festival, ChamberFest Cleveland, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival and Chamber Music Connects the World in Kronberg, Germany. He is a member of the quartet ‘Made in Berlin’, with principals of the Berlin Philharmonic and Ray Chen.

Born in Asheville, North Carolina, Noah began playing violin at age 4. At age 9, he played for Lord Yehudi Menuhin in Switzerland. Noah graduated from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and the Munich Hochschule. His principal teachers were Mauricio Fuks, Christoph Poppen, and Ana Chumachenco.

In his spare time, he enjoys playing klezmer music. He has played with world- renowned klezmer groups such as Brave Old World, and has taught klezmer violin at workshops in Europe and in the United States.

Noah performs on a Cremonese violin made in 1732 by Carlo Bergonzi.

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Learning Music Teaches Us Life Lessons

What comes to mind when you hear the word harp?

Let me guess – angels, heaven, relaxation, spa music, meditation – am I close?

That’s what a lot of people think, including one of my student’s therapists. He was so stuck in that paradigm he couldn’t understand when she told him she gets angry and pissed when she plays the harp. “You’re supposed to be calm and relaxed when you play” he told her. “Not with my teacher” she tried to explain.

There are as many reasons to play music as there are people who play.

For Karen, something deep inside her knew that playing harp would ease her migraines, lessen her emotional and physical pain, and help her move through the fears that kept her trapped. The fact that she was a grandmother who had never played music didn’t stop her from reaching out and calling to set up her first lesson. From day one, we both knew her harp lessons were really life lessons.

We talk weekly about Vibrational Awareness, how everything is energy, and I share techniques and insights from The ORIGIN Methodology of Self-Discovery. One of our first conversations sounded like this:

“Imagine you’re a harp and all of your thoughts, experiences, feelings, ideas, fears, concerns, joys, everything is represented as a different string. I know, that’s one big harp!

Now imagine that something really painful or scary happened to you, or maybe it was something really exciting and overwhelming. Picture that experience as one of the strings on the harp. Because it’s something that either scared or overwhelmed you, you don’t like to play that string any more. In fact, you’d like to take that string off the harp and forget about it forever. However, that’s not how this harp works and you have to keep the string.

You go along for days, months, maybe even years not playing that string, trying to avoid remembering that really scary or overwhelming thing that happened. Then one day you accidentally pluck that string and all of those memories from that time come flooding back into your mind. What do you do with all of those feelings, emotions, pictures and memories in your head?”

The concept we’re metaphorically talking about is sympathetic resonance – when two objects of the same frequency come into close proximity to each other, they create a resonant system or begin to sing together. In other words, the energy activates and begins to move.

This is exactly what happens for Karen. When she plays harp, the vibrations of the strings begin to sympathetically resonate emotional energy within her. It happens most often with basic exercises because once her fingers have the pattern, her mind relaxes a bit and the energy starts to move. It’s magical to witness how her fingers are intimately connected to her brain patterns. Let me share an example of how this manifests.

Last week she was working on a 4 finger pattern moving from 4, 3, 2, then the thumb (with harp, we only use 4 fingers because the pinky finger is too short to reach the strings). This pattern called for the replacement of the 3rd finger prior to playing the thumb. Yes, the middle finger needed to extend. She tried and tried to isolate the 3rd finger but the 4th finger kept extending.

I immediately saw what was happening, stopped her, and asked, “OK, Karen, who do you want to say Fu@#k You to?” We laughed because we both knew that was the hook-up. I “flipped her off” to mirror the hand position and literally began yelling, “Fu#@k You!” over and over again. Her face turned red, her hands tried to move into position, and the energy really started to flow – like a volcano. Welcome to Karen’s harp/life lesson!

This honest sacred space we create each week allowed for our passionate duet of “Fu@#k You’s” to fill the house with free abandonment; no judgment, no resentment, no fear of reciprocation, only the energy of repressed emotions freely given the opportunity to express in a safe and loving environment.

Eventually her hands moved into position as she found her voice; fear, anger, resentment, laughter and relief simultaneously moved through this courageous woman. The desire to experience life fully and express her love unconditionally inspires her to travel into her fears with such grace.

We returned to the harp exercise and voila, her fingers moved with confidence, strength, and conviction through each pattern; which was not a surprise because this type of profound connection happens almost weekly.

Music is a magical reflection of life; especially when we’re able to perceive beyond the obvious. It’s a joy, blessing, and honor to walk into unknown waters with my students as they rediscover and remember their wholeness, harmony, compassion and self-love.

-Amy Camie – MU Columnist

*Amy Camie is a spiritual harpist, passionate speaker, gifted recording artist, intuitive composer, inspirational writer and Co-Initiator of The ORIGIN Methodology of Self-Discovery. Her strong classical background allows the music from her soul to flow freely through her fingertips creating highways of sound that awaken memories of wholeness, harmony, compassion, and love.

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