By Saeko Cohn, Nyack, New York
It has been a year since I wrote an article about Lyre 2018 in Zeist, Netherlands. I am happy to report that since then I had a tremendously busy and fruitful year, attending Resonare – A Foundation Course in Music out of Anthroposophy (pictured above), September 2018 through June 2019 in Camphill Village Copake, New York – and the 2nd Summer Academy for Lyre Playing (report to follow), July 2019 in Hemmersheim, Germany. Taking these two lyre courses made me realize what was missing in my earlier life with music (the qualitative difference between my own musical playing and the music I loved and aspired to) and gave me hope that I could still be who I wanted to be with regard to this thing called music.
At Resonare, taught by Channa Seidenberg and Sheila Johns, I learned that it was not only permissible but important to “feel” in certain ways, when we listen to music or even particular tones. We tend to think that subjectivity does not matter. I always felt compelled to prove something and to articulate it in words, rather than simply enjoying the phenomenon itself.
Resonare’s convivial learning atmosphere (four students and four faculty members plus some returning students from previous years) allowed me to turn-off temporarily my judging-self and immerse myself while enjoying the phenomenon that we call music in a meaningful way.
In Resonare, we did a lot of work on intervals with lyres. I found it strange that when playing music, be it the piano or the flute, I had almost never thought of intervals! When a certain melody or harmony moved me, I could not tell why, but I now can sense the reason. Learning about Ancient Greek musical modes and anthroposophically derived Planetary scales was so exciting that it literally opened a door to a completely new and different sphere. We were taught music theory in a gentle yet clear and logical way, so it was digestible, and we also read some of Rudolf Steiner’s most important lectures on music. Extra hours spent on Spacial Dynamics and Eurythmy with Cate Decker and Karen Derreumaux, respectively, were always a delight, and the special evening during our fourth seminar with metal instruments was indeed unforgettable.
In this way, I was able to experience various musical elements and discover their significance in a way that I had never known before. Resonare faculty also guided me in the areas of singing and improvising, neither of which was part of my former musical life. We now sing all the mealtime graces at home, all by memory. Never had I thought that I would or could improvise music, but now I improvise with my family, using lyres (both children’s and “adults’”), Choroi flutes, glockenspiel, kitchen utensils, tenor-alto lyre and oboe, etc. I fondly remember our benefit concert on the second to last day of our program, performing for the villagers and coworkers at Camphill Copake.
Attending Resonare and the German Summer Academy for Lyre Playing (see below) provided me with clear direction and enough confidence in myself to continue playing the lyre as my life work. I thank Kerry Lee for my preparatory lessons and the Lyre Association for assisting us all to connect with one another through the lyre tone. I am grateful to be part of this wonderful lyre playing impulse. I will continue to work hard and spread the joy of the modern lyre in the Rockland County, NY and the Greater New York Metropolitan area.