Latest News and reviews of Concert Harpist Teresa Suen-Campbell

Latest News and reviews of Concert Harpist Teresa Suen-Campbell
Photo by Herman Fu

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thoughts on motherhood: Baby first? Mother first?

Today my son turns 8 months old. Being a new mother, it is so hectic every day that the only time I have for myself in a day usually would be after 8 pm or so, when my baby goes to sleep.

I am sure I am not alone here.

 
 [Photo: Me and Christopher (age 4 months) at the harp]
 
 
In fact, it is really hard to keep one’s sanity throughout the day, especially if your baby has a cold, is teething, or simply fussy that day. His screaming or yelling can make you panic throughout the day.

When I first had Christopher, I used to center a lot around his needs and emotions, which is, now looking back, I think, quite normal. A newborn’s needs during the first three months are especially very demanding as he strives for survival in the new world outside his mother's womb.  His mother or caretaker's undivided attention is almost essential to his healthy being. I often have the feeling that “ If I do not respond immediately to my crying baby, or spend enough time with him, I am a bad mother.” The guilt can go really deep. So the question really is: does baby come first? Or, rather, mama come first?

Lately, I am learning to put my feet down in putting my needs first, and then discovering the true beauty behind my new regime. Instead of running immediately to care for my crying child, I would take a little time before I respond to his cries. I would wait and see if Christopher would coo himself off on his own. Instead of  starving myself in order to feed him a nicely prepared gourmet dinner (which is actually homemade baby food anyways), I will treat myself a nice warm cup of tea or a little sweet snack before I proceed to the feeding. And now, before I begin a day’s work, I will make sure I have a hearty, full breakfast. I realize that by doing so, I feel better, and in turn, I have more positive energy to attend to my child’s needs.

I am very proud to say I am getting back to a regular routine of practice on the harp these days. My bond with the harp is an important ME time, and I will try my very best to safeguard that. That does not mean I do not love my baby. By sticking to my harp, I found great calm and inner peace which is a great resource for me to love my son even more.



                                       

Friday, December 14, 2012

John Cage











American composer John Milton Cage (1912-1993) 's compositional style and philosophy may not be
everyone's cup of tea, however, I found his writings in "Silence" very thought-provoking and creative.

The book "Silence" talks about Cage's thoughts on music and sound. He believed that silence is as important as music itself, and has a rather enlightening view on space.

The book is also visually stimulating as the author arranges his articles randomly.

For me, he definitely teaches me one thing: every pause between music notes are as important as the music notes themselves.

And if you are a harpist, you would definitely know what I mean, because our dear harp strings are forever vibrating, so it is essential for us to do what we need to do to clean up the sound "mess." ;)

The year 2012 is coming to an end soon. I would like to make use of this golden opportunity to pay tribute to Cage. 2012 marks the composer's 100th birthday anniversary. As controversial as his music and philosophy is, he has great contribution to the music world in the 20th century. I recorded his work, "In a Landscape," written for harp or piano (1948). The piece is based on a rhythmic structure of 15 x 15 (5.7.3). It is a continuous flow of sound, and according to Cage, the piece is a tribute to one of his favorite composers, Erik Satie.