Spring Music: How are you Poised and Listening?

Early Cycladic Harper - art by Jane Valencia
Early Cycladic harper – 3rd millenium BC – black and white gouache on Bristol board by Jane Valencia

Above is art that I created for my illustration class at the Georgetown Atelier in Seattle. The figure is an Early Cycladic sculpture of a harper. The Cyclades are a group of Greek islands in the southwestern Aegean sea. In the third millennium B.C., these island developed a distinctive culture and art, of which this harper is an example.

Back in the late ’80s, in my first months taking harp lessons, a group of us made a trek to the De Young Museum in San Francisco to see an exhibit of this sculpture — which I’m pretty sure included this figurine. I was — and am — captivated by both the style of the sculpture, and particularly by the harper, a colleague from more than four thousand years ago!

Early Cycladic Harper - Sculpture
Early Cycladic Harper – sculpture from 3rd Millenium BC

The harper is attentive, listening– it seems to me — to whatever else is taking place. He is poised to play when the appropriate moment opens. As one who has performed at many events during which I too waited, listening, until the moment when I would play, his bearing is oh-so familiar. Perhaps you can relate to such moments in your life as well!

Here, in this moment, how are you listening? How are you poised to play/create/take action when the moment springs awake? What music is this changing season whispering, laughing to you? If you wish, please share your thoughts below.

Here’s another “ancient” snapshot: two harpers listening as a third harper plays (some of you readers will recognize these lovely folk!)

Harpers of all levels enjoy sharing the love of their instrument with others.
Two of these harpers are listening too.

4 Replies to “Spring Music: How are you Poised and Listening?”

  1. Dear Jane,

    This may not be quite what you mean, but here goes. Today I played a couple hours of piano for a health and healers gathering. My job was to play ambient music as they walked through exhibits and enjoyed a provided walking lunch. I brought a stack of music, but sensed my way into the moment. I was situated near the hand healers (the chair massage therapists), and two popular songs with messages I have considered, came to mind: U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, and Coldplay’s Fix You. So I began by quietly playing each song, turning them into a medley, found confidence in the lovely coalescing of the melodies, played on adding layers, and ended up feeling release and joy in helping to create something ‘new’ . It just happened, and I just read your article, and was moved to respond! Thank you for making that opportunity for us to share!
    ❤️ Claudia

  2. Yes — it’s exactly what I mean! Beautiful!!! I love when moments like that unfold while creating music. Thank you for writing about your experience. I wish I’d been there, but I’m honored to be there via my imagination and your words. Blessings!

  3. Thank you, Suzanna! Sounds blustery and vigorous. A moment that opens and is carried within for sure. I can just imagine that crossing …. Thanks sharing it here!

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