In which … I learn the road to human connection is paved with Facebook posts.  (Steve Vai’s “Story of Light” Tour  begins this Wednesday in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Tour schedule is here)

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ROCK-HARP DIARY ENTRY:  Sun. Aug. 12, 2012 (Santa Monica, CA)
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Rehearsals ended last night, and I checked out of the Sportsman’s Lodge today then had a short visit with my friends Willy and Eva, who live up the street from the Sportsman.  I met Willy on the street one day during the last set of Vai rehearsals – the way I used to meet friends as a kid – so visiting them makes me feel simple and human.

Elaine Ian Gloria Hodes 1939 Video

I navigated to my cousin’s house in Santa Monica — with the aid of my GPS and a large bag of grapes — where I got to smell my family.  I was about to say I got to hug them – which I did – but when I bent to hug my uncle, the familiar smell of him was so deep and sure that in two seconds it trumped every other connection, except the video my Aunt showed me of her and her sisters (i.e. my mom and other aunt) in 1939 in which I got to see my mother tying her shoe and running up and down stairs – which I’ve watched about 15 times now – at about 45 seconds in.

My big challenge of the day was to get my new iPad set up and get all the Vai music onto it so I have a reference during the show.  I’d hoped to have all the music memorized by now – but the reality is that the navigation within and between tunes is so complex for the harp – with so many different lever settings and changes — that I just can’t hold it all in my head. So tonight I’m reducing every piece to a single page of basic musical navigation so I can practice running through it all tomorrow using the iPad (and yes, anxious friends, I will have a paper backup to revert to if the iPad fritzes out, but thank you for your telepathic reminder).

This is where Facebook comes in. Vai’s tech guy, Sean Kellet, kindly did the initial setup of the iPad for me.  But once that was done, I had no idea how to use the iPad.  This experience is becoming familiar.

I thought: look, I don’t need to become an iPad ‘expert’ – I just need to learn how to get it to do the specific things I need to do. And I need that to happen fast.  Online tutorials are great, but they’re broad.  They don’t pinpoint exactly what you need to know to do what you need to do.

So I sat down and wrote a Facebook post describing what I need: a simple way to view the music during the show – no bells and whistles, just reliable music images, how to get them onto the iPad, get from tune to tune easily and be able to see it all clearly.

When I wrote that post, I didn’t even know how to navigate to the App Store on the iPad. Less than two hours later, I had a special music program ForScore, had a new score opened on it and learned about hardware I can use to page-turn the music during the show.  And all because I could make that direct connection to other harpists and musicians whose daily technical challenges are similar to mine.

So thank you Facebook – and thank you colleagues and friends who frequent my page!

The BEAUTIFUL tiny Torx-5-that-can-actually-get-between-the-levers that my neighbor made for me!

This experience rocked! Just like the special tool that neighbor David Johnston made for me because of a Facebook post his wife Dana saw about a hardware problem I was having.  Just like harpist/coach, Marta Cook, who came to live with me and coach me for 10 days through the Vai music because of a Facebook post I made about some of the music.  Just like the tech-advisor, Richard Kenyon, who now facilitates my on-line course chats.

These connections all happened because of Facebook posts I made about specific challenges.

I still feel like I’m living in a furnished rental when I’m on Facebook – but the connections that have come out of my challenges in this project show me that the nature of human connection can maintain its humanity no matter the channel.

Or … I should say we can choose – or learn – to maintain our human nature regardless of the road we need to use.  Even on a road littered with billboards, we can find our way to each other.

To read more in the Rock Harp Diaries, go to: https://hipharp.com/blog/category/rockharp-diaries/

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