9:00a The Royal Academy of Music. I’m going to go to school here, you know; it’s just a matter of time. It’s not just because it’s the Royal Academy. I really like the way their harp department is set up. You’ve got one professor (among many) for your personal instruction, then you’ve got separate teachers for orchestral, opera/ballet, and jazz studies. On top of that, they have many big-name professionals that come in to do masterclasses many times a year. If you’re going to learn something in the arts, you might as well have exposure to as many ideas and people as possible. That’s why I want to go here.
So, I’m taking the oppor-tunafish to look over the facilities, walk through the area, look at the international student house, talk to the admissions counselors, etc. There’s really no sense in spending all the time and money to come back for auditions if I just have a really bad feeling about the place. Better to check it out before hand. Let’s hope that they’re kind enough to let me stick my bag in the office while I look around. If not, I’ll pop over to the British Museum; their webpage says I can check oversized bags in the cloakroom for £1.
2:00p I’m ready to check into the Ace Hotel in West Kensington and shed this heavy and awkward bag. Then it’s back out on the street A.S.A.P.
3:00p Handel lived in London for the last twenty or so years of his life. Did you know that? They’ve since restored his house and opened it to the public as a museum. Every so often they even hold concerts in the recital hall. Handel isn’t my top favorite. That place belongs to Bach. My cello teacher used to say, “If you’re a Christian, you read the New Testament. If you’re a musician, you play Bach.” But oh my goodness! Handel is an oh-so-close second. Rock stars just go crazy with their guitar solos. Playing Handel on the harp is just like that, if you can believe it. I move my hands in patterns that are just so different than with anything else I play. He lived in London, and I have to stop by to pay homage. For everyone who doesn’t like classical, the house still holds some interest—Jimi Hendrix lived on the top floor in the 1970s.8:00p Every so often, you hear about such-and-such actor playing in such-and-such play on the West End theatre district (the London equivalent of Broadway). So, I wondered if anything like that would be playing while I was in London. My first choice was to see Vanessa Redgrave playing in The Year of Magical Thinking in the National Theatre. But wouldn’t you know it—they’re sold out until June. It’s a bloody shame. I rather prefer Vanessa Redgrave as an actress. But the next best that I could find is Ralph Fiennes playing in God of Carnage at the Gielgud Theatre. It’s a bit of a stretch for me just to go see a play just because it has a celebrity in it; I would rather go see a play simply because of its story. But this is part of the London flavor that I wanted to sample while over there.