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Eric allison
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Finding time to practice is impractical; making time to practice seems to be the only solution. This realization prompted me, a couple of weeks ago, to file a request for updating my work schedule to begin at 9AM rather than 8AM. Today was the first day that both keyboard and harp were practiced before work!

Morning sessions are lovely, the mind is fresh, the fingers are nimble, time is on my side. Evenings are knotted junctions of random schedule alterations that rarely afford an uninturrupted hour. When a blessed window opens, the mind is racing, and the body is tired. But this new arrangement is more than a simple practicality; it's a choice.

Work is work. Music is fun. Work has dictated my daily schedule for years, decades, most of my life at this point. Now I'm imposing my own schedule enough to do something enjoyable when it best fits the day instead of trying to squeeze it into a dizzying swirl of time streams that would make a TARDIS blush.

Today I began working through Cindy Kleinstuber Blevins' harp arrangement of "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" on both instruments. If that works for most selections, one folder will serve for both, just as one bench does. That'll be important a year from now.

ETA: This first post is sticky because it describes the purpose of the journal. Subsequent posts are listed in reverse order with the most recent entry directly under this one.

Saturday morning practice hinges on being in town but, when one occurs, it affords more time than weekday sessions. Today I was able to play through several pieces on the keyboard, practice a couple of those, carefully tune the harp, and practice those same pieces with it. Then, ironically, my next act was to drive out-of-town for an overnight stay. Tomorrow is up in the air so we'll see how it goes.

I did play through a couple of pieces on the harp but spent the bulk of this morning's time on the keyboard finalizing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," continuing work on "America, The Beautiful," and playing through "Amazing Grace" and "Nearer My God to Thee."

An odd realization has washed over me this week, just this week, after all these years. Perhaps I'll post about it over the weekend after mulling it around the old brain pan. Meanwhile, using the harp arrangements as lead sheets for the keyboard is working out very well, much better than expected in fact. Film at eleven!

This morning was all about the harp. We tuned, played through several scales including F which touches every string, practiced a few known pieces, and began memorizing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee." I suddenly want to refresh a Cantonese lullaby that I learned a year ago but never memorized. Tomorrow, however, must include some keyboard practice as well.

Pouring a cup of coffee before early morning practice is a mistake. The hot mug is in the way and the liquid cools to a lukewarm temperature before any is consumed during the first stretching break. My thinking is to just wait until I'm ready to leave the house and take a cup with me. This kink has thankfully ironed out quickly with no ensuing consequences.

Today's session included playing through some Eb scales on the harp and working again with "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," on both instruments, as well as similarly arranged "America, The Beautiful" on the keyboard.

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