Updated: Jun 27
In this episode, Eva talks about the healing power of harp music, and how rewarding it is to be a teacher of World Class musicians as well as children and adults. Eva also shares her wisdom and advice on how to go through age changes by slowing down your pace to avoid disappointment in yourself and hanging around with people of your own age. She also talks about body image through art and how the entertainment industry can affect it.
10 Facts About Eva
1. 62 years old
2. She is American and moved to Sydney, Australia about 4,5 years ago
3. Eva is a harpist
4. Eva was a music teacher in the States. She taught school in underserved areas, where it was poor families or broken families. Most of her students were black. And to get kids motivated, at a young age, who were used to urban music, and rap Eva would mix the classical music with music that they loved, so that they would have something to look forward to at their concerts and that their friends would want to hear.
5. Now Eva plays harp music for weddings and teaches harp lessons to adults and children. She played at Persian, Lebanese, Russian, and a number of Chinese weddings. People at the weddings would come up to Eva and mentioned music she has never heard before. So, Eva is learning music from all of the worlds now.
6. She’s passionate about being open to other cultures, and finding what's beautiful in other cultures, and showing respect for them.
7. The most unexpected place she played harp was a bathroom vestibule
8. Eva’s greatest achievement is that she has students out there who are on concert stages, some who graduated from top universities who are playing weddings and playing in orchestras, and a couple of them who are just world-class and win competitions, who have advanced degrees and who are sure to go on to fulfilling lifelong careers as a musician.
9. Biggest challenge at the moment – “I have to pace myself a little better. It's just a different pace. It's just slower. And I find that if I realise what my limitations are, I'm less disappointed with myself. I allow more time to get something done”
10. Positive change with age – “I find that hormonal change helps me to focus actually a little bit better”.
Watch Eva's VIDEO interview HERE
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE:
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT (auto-generated):
Hi, you are listening to the My Body My Story podcast,
I'm gonna try not to get emotional. He was going through chemotherapy for advanced stage cancer and he could not keep food down. But for some reason with the heart music playing, he did not get sick and he was able to digest his dinner.
This is the 45 or 45 chapter where we celebrate rule breakers and role models, the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show that sensuality, beauty, soul and true essence. Here we talk about what it's like to be 45 Plus, adjusting to the changes that come with time, and will listen to the stories of our participants. If you have an interesting story to share, we would love you to participate, you can email us on email@example.com or visit our website, www. aleksandrawalker.com
Welcome, Eva, thank you for coming today and bring your harp I can't wait for the photoshoot cannot wait. But while you're in my makeup chair, how about you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Ah, okay. Well, I'm American, you can probably tell from my strange accent. And I moved here to Sydney, about three and a half years ago. And with my husband, and we live in manly, which is Wow, very scenic place, and fun and pretty. And we really like it there. And anyway, I before I came here, I was a harpist in the States as well as a music teacher, but I'm retired from teaching music in the schools. And so now I just play harp music for weddings. And people in Sydney seem to have so much culture, they love music. And so I've, I've got a chance to see so many beautiful places in Sydney just from playing weddings and events and such. And just started exploring Australia a little bit, you know, going to a couple of places, several places out in rural New South Wales, out in the country. And so yeah, the countryside is interesting. And it's so varied everywhere you go, it's different, the environment is different. It's different scenery, and playing, or just on vacation, just on a road trip. Yep. And that because of the pandemic, borders were closed. And so this was our opportunity to explore our own state. That's right. And I love a road trip. There is just something so much fun about driving from one town to another, not really knowing in advance where you're going to stay and just playing it by ear. And that's pretty much what I've done in life, is just start in one direction and know what I want to do but realise that other opportunities could come up, other things could get in the way. And sometimes something that looks like an obstacle is really an opportunity for something wonderful. That's going to happen. Yep. So yeah.
Did you hire like a car like an RV or something when you did your little travel? Or was it 4 wheel driving? Or?
Oh, I drive a little Prius. And my husband I we just took the car, different places. And yeah, for oh, maybe eight months or so when I first came here. I thought I could get around without a car. Yeah, but I got I got I got to, you know, wanting to really see Sydney and take the harp to places in a taxi. Sometimes it worked. But most of the time it did not. And so I try out different cars and this one worked and so it's given me more chance to play the music, different places and also to see more of Sydney and, and other places. I really love the Blue Mountains. I love it. It's a great getaway. Yes. So it's beautiful. Yeah, so peaceful.
Anything left on your sort of bucket list in terms of New South Wales?
New South Wales. You know, I haven't been down to South Coast much. In fact, I haven't very spent very much time at Bondi, which I hear is very popular. Yeah, there are a number of places in New South Wales and national parks. I have I've only seen a few of those. And therapeutical ones. So in New South Wales, yeah, that would be pretty much my bucket list. I made a list of different Cities and sights I wanted to see in the state. And my husband and I during COVID. During lockdown border closings, we wouldn't have been so many of those places. Yeah, yeah. And but there are bucket list places around Australia I'm interested in. Yeah. So I'll get to those eventually. Yeah.
And is it busy in terms of weddings?
When I first came here, a number of weddings, yes, people do love music for weddings. And then, of course, during the height of the pandemic, when people were being very careful, and there were restrictions for gatherings, many weddings were cancelled. And so that gave me an opportunity to do other things. I did a lot of reading, I did a lot of sewing and pursued, you know, other interests. And, and, and did some playing as well, but at home. Yeah. And since restrictions have been lifted, more, and weddings are happening again. brides who cancelled last year having me play their weddings this year. And then I have new prizes as well this year. So it's a good year for weddings. And then next year, it'll be back to normal, your normal number of weddings, but I love doing them. So I've been very happy. Yeah. So yeah, it was it was busy in the beginning, and then quiet. Yeah. And busy again. So and then I teach lessons, I teach harp lessons to adults and children. Yeah, yeah.
That's great. You, keep busy. Very busy. Yeah, even pandemic hasn't really slowed you down. He's still been able to do things. And
that's, that's, that's true. Yeah.
So what? What are you most passionate about? I mean, I know you're teaching and playing. Is there anything else aside from music that you can say that you're passionate about?
Well, when I lived in the States, I taught school in under served areas, you know, areas where it was poor families or broken families. Also, it was ethnically, maybe more diverse in some ways than other schools. Most of my students were black. And so I would work some of the music they enjoyed, and they enjoyed different music, the black people in the States. And so some things I could I could have them do, I taught violin, viola, cello, and bass. And to get kids motivated, at a young age, who are used to urban music, and rap and such, you've got to be open minded. And so I would mix in the classical music with, with music that they loved, so that they would have something to look forward to at their concerts that their friends would want to hear. Yeah.
And in a way, even even though they're not used to that music, but they develop that interest and that love and that understanding for it.
True, the true. And so here, I'm not teaching school. However, this is a very diverse country. You have people from all over the world. And so I've done weddings that in Persian in Lebanese, in in Russian in Yeah. None in Spanish yet. All right. And, yeah, not in Spanish. I'm trying to think, oh, a number of Chinese weddings. Yeah. So that's been interesting to see the culture of weddings from around the world here. Yeah. And to do weddings that are blended sometimes, like one time, there was a Russian Persian wedding. And so they had two of the students who, and they had relatives coming from overseas for the for these weddings. And so they had to do it in three languages. They did it in English, in Farsi, that's Persian, and, and Russian. And I understood one of the languages. So yeah. So you were right. It was all right. It worked out fine. And what's interesting is these people come to me to hear music in my home, and they tell me, what can you play this or that, and they mentioned music I have never heard before. So I'm learning music from all of the worlds now. Just because people come to me they hear the sound of a harp and they think, well, this song for my country with sound good on it, and then I get to look it up and find beautiful new music that I otherwise would not. So what am I passionate about? Well, I guess I'm passionate about being open to other cultures and, and to learn to find what's beautiful and other cultures and to show respect for them. Yeah, so
It's a great way to learn. To learn from different cultures, isn't it because everyone brings something that you're not familiar with something you didn't know before.
True. And yet the same things that are important to, to one culture are important to others, their children, their family, finding a life mate. Having a fair break in life, enjoying nature, these are common things that we all share. And, and they're really what life is all about. So yeah, we all have very much in common.
So everyone knows that with age we change. Yeah, positive changes have you experienced as you grow older?
Wow. Well, I have been a little bit personal about this. There are changes hormonally. Yeah. And I find that that hormonal change helps me to focus actually a little bit better. Really? Yeah. Yeah. When your hormones are constantly in flux during your cycle, you can find that you're more distracted with certain kinds of thoughts. Yeah, that become more steady on an even level as you get older. Yeah, it's, it's not gone. Nor does it occupy your mind as being the main thing you're focused on. So yeah.
So sound more able to focus on other things or
not distracted. Right, right. So that's one thing. Yeah.
That's good. Yeah. There are other women who can relate.
I'm sure there must be afraid of it. Right. I was. I didn't know what to expect. My mother seemed happy. Yeah. And she told me years ago, she said, Well, I didn't know it feel this good to be this age. Yeah. And in fact, you know, if your health is good,
it can be blessings.
Yeah. Touchwood. My health is good. Then yeah, life is just as enjoyable at an advanced age. That's right. Yeah. Yeah. At first, it was hard to accept what I saw in the mirror, you know, inevitable changes. And then, as I made more friends here in Sydney, and mostly friends, my own age, I have such fun with them. And what we think of each other is what matters more than, you know, trying to meet some ideal in a magazine or something like that. So yeah, by hanging around with people, my own age, life is just much more pleasant. I'm able to accept the natural normal changes, although better.
So he kind of answered a little bit. So my next question kind of leading into it. So what is the biggest challenge or experience in this age now? Sort of, Is there any? I mean, you kind of touched on them. But is there any particular challenge per se?
Yeah. I have to pace myself a little better. Yeah. Because when I was younger, I had what seemed to be limitless energy. Yeah. And it, it's not a bad pace. It's just a different pace. It's just slower. And I find that, that if I realise when I'm starting a task, what my limitations are, I'm less disappointed with myself. You know, if I allow more time to get something done,
yeah. And kind of adjust yourself. You're different now to what you were, I need to sort of accept that and adjust your pace.
And to realise that I can't wait to the last minute for things and catch up like I used to be able to do. Yeah, I've got to think ahead. Plan ahead. Be ready. And yeah, yeah. But going at the slower pace. I think I noticed more things around me more, you know, changes in seasons and the beauty in nature and, and looking into people's faces, not because I'm rushing at the last minute, but because I've got more time and
what's that? you slow down to smell the roses?
Yes, I'm smelling roses. Mostly roses.
So even describe your greatest accomplishment. It's a little bit I know you've taught and you've been able to get through to the kids who, you know, haven't really been brought up with classical music, etc. So is there anything else anything more? Any other accomplishments or?
Well, if you talk to any teacher, they're going to tell you that same thing. Yeah. It's just so rewarding. I guess one thing you know, as a musician, I see. It makes a difference with people around me. And not just making a wedding beautiful, but you know, playing music at a restaurant You know, you can set the mood for someone to propose marriage to someone at the restaurant, or in one case, there was a restaurant where I played and I did not know till the man passed away, we will live was bringing your husband there to eat dinner. I am going to try not to get emotional. He was going through chemotherapy for advanced stage cancer, and he could not keep food down. But for some reason with the heart music playing, he did not get sick, and he was able to digest his dinner. And so I didn't use magic, I did not even know that that was going on how that affected his physiology just blows my mind. But if it helped make someone's last days more liveable, and, and ease the worries of his wife, oh my goodness, how rewarding and I didn't even know it at the time. So what is most rewarding, you know, I want to pass it on to the next generation. And I have had some, some students who are especially gifted come to me, and that's like a gift to me. Because I take full advantage of that and some African professionals. There's one who recently was admitted to the Conservatorium of Music here, as a harp major, she came to me as a beginner, having moved here from China all by herself, leaving her family behind. And she would take the best once a week for a lesson. And she was so gifted, and she's on her way to becoming a top-notch professional harpist, and so I won't be able to play forever. My parents, they eventually got arthritis, and I probably will, too. And I'll be a music lover. But you know, music lives on through the people you pass it on to.
So students will continue. So that's my greatest achievement is that I have students out there who are on concert stages, some who graduated from top universities who are doing what I do playing weddings and playing in orchestras and what have you, and and a couple of them who are just world-class. Yeah, who win competitions who have advanced degrees and who are sure to go on to fulfilling lifelong careers as a musician. Yeah. So yeah, I mean, I can say, as a step mom, that was a great accomplishment. However, I it's something I can't take full credit for, because there's a father and there's a real mother there as well. And as certainly, they did the lion's share of the work, because as a stepmother, you've kind of stepped back, you must step back. You cannot even really exert that much of an opinion. You have to be gentle about that. And just sort of be there if something should come up, or they need an emergency, or a need your guidance or a guiding hand if the other two parents aren't around. Yeah. So I am pleased that this step-kids have turned out to be wonderful people, wonderful, young adults, and they're really going someplace in life. And I've been grateful for the experience of being their stepmother for a decade. Yeah. And yeah,
that's beautiful. So going sort of back to the younger age, so what advice would you give your 30 year old self?
Wow. To leave in the behind. When I was first working as a harpist out of uni, I wouldn't play for people's weddings. And I had not yet met Mr. Right. And it took me until I was in my mid 30s, to find my first husband, okay. And I wasn't trusting that the universe would provide someone for everyone. And I would get anxious about it and worried about it. And, you know, maybe impatient with a boyfriend, or something. And it was it was there for me, marriage would be there for me in its own time. And the blessing of it was was that I had all that time, free to focus on my career. Without having a man they're trying to tell me how to do a job. I already knew how to do which a man is tempted to problem solve, and they can't help it. That's their nature.
You need it really,
I needed that freedom, and didn't know it. And I would be playing music for all these weddings. And I thought, wow, is everyone else getting married, but me? So I would tell my younger self if I could just be patient? Yeah, yeah. Life brings what it will bring out at the right time. Yeah,
yeah, it knows when you're ready. So just wait and live your life.
Right. Another thing I would tell myself is to not focus on the pictures in the magazines and compare them to what I saw in the mirror. Because I didn't realise that those pictures were airbrushed. And, and you know photoshopped. Then what have you. Yeah, and that the girl I was looking at was perhaps 12 or 14. And wearing clothes that I could not afford that have been tweaked this way or that way to fit her perfectly, that she had a whole crew surrounding her making her even more beautiful. Yes, people who are magazines like that they're extraordinary looking.
And it's photoshopped as well, it's not really real,
Right. But they're also, you know, the reason that got those jobs is because they're real standouts among people that have won the genetic lottery. And everyone has has their gifts. There, there are a few people who have both beauty, intelligence, character, or work ethic, but there are not many who get all the gifts at once. And I think it's good to be grateful for what you have, and not make comparisons with people you've never met.
Yeah, yeah, comparison is just, you know, grass is always greener, right? You're comparing one thing, but you don't know the person, you know, their whole life, you don't know anything else that they're dealing with. So comparing is just silly. Right?
And it's so true. It is,
Where do you think their idea of perfect body image comes from?
Okay. I think it comes from some of the same places that are in our ideas of what the perfect face is, or ideal faces. It's, it's the same. And it goes way, way back. And I don't know how far back. But if you look at paintings and Egyptian pyramids, are the same photographs, the same proportions are the ones that they seem to admire the most. They still stick into that. Yeah. And then you look at the Greek statues, and the and the ones that generally are considered most beautiful are the ones that have what we consider to be ideal proportions. And so that it goes way back, and it's still going on, of course, in the media, we see it, you know, we're constantly bombarded with it. But if you go way back into prehistory, the very first sculpture ever made, is a woman. And they don't show her face, they just show her hair, where her face would be they do hair, and it's curly hair. And it was somewhere in Scandinavia, or somewhere up north, they found it made of stone, not very big. And it's rotund, it is round here. And she has a large stomach and large breasts and an enormous rear end and big thighs. And archaeologists have thought, well, that's because back then, people associated people who'd had enough to eat as being fertile. And a man wanted a woman who was fertile. And so this is what he was looking for a woman who was rounder, and some paintings in their body images, body standards go in and out of time, you know? Like, there are some paintings that sometimes where women that wanted them looking voluptuous. Right now, it's tends to be more on the thinner side, where does it come from? I don't know why it changes as much as it does. Yeah. I have no answer. Yeah, but it's something we all suffer from. Yeah. And I know, when I begin to age, and things begin to shift somewhat, I was heavier. And because of the direction they were shifting, I thought the only way I'm going to look okay, is if I lose some weight, to give us some definition to my waist, it influenced it, it influenced it. And I did, I did lose a good bit of weight for that reason, and have kept it off. And I've used technology to keep it off. I'm monitoring my calories for the day using technology. And, you know, stay satisfied and full, that I pay a whole lot more attention to my proportions than I used to. And it's only because the ageing process has gravity pulling things down. So I was like, well, if they're gonna pull them down,
I need to change something.
I'll do this that will help. Yeah. And, and because I'm an entertainer, okay, so that's part of it. You know, I will tell you that if that if women are especially large, sometimes it's harder for them to get work as an entertainer, even if they're good at what they do. And it is so unfair. It really is. But
why do you think that isn't? Because the way they look? Why would it prevent them from getting jobs?
Because there's notation that you have to look just the same way there's ageism, racism. People who are prejudiced against cultures, there's also people who are prejudiced against certain body types. And it's so unfair because it's related partly to genetics and age, and, and culture and what's important to you if you love to cook and you love to enjoy food, but you're not going to be read then it's not possible. So yeah, it's not fair. But it's the media that puts it out there. Everyone who see on TV and in the movies who's famous?
Look a certain way
they do they do.
What advice would you give other women who will eventually undergo these changes? So, a growing older, what advice would you give them?
Stay friends with people at your own age. Yeah. Because then it reinforces the fact that it is normal and natural and healthy. Because, yeah, I mean, I can't compare myself to my stepdaughters. They're beautiful and fit and young and, and that's normal for them at their age, right. And they are what I can never be again, and it's okay, because I have other things going for me now. And, and there are other things you can do with your grooming, or how you dress that are a little bit more trouble to do that kind of compensate for that, you know, for when you're younger, you don't have to try as hard. And my mother told me this. She said, when you get older, you just have to put a little more effort out. And she was right. Yeah. So I generally when I'm going somewhere, I take more time and how I get ready. Yeah. And people. I think people respect that. And and they perceive it as Oh, you do care about your looks? Because yeah, you've presented well, yeah, our
The goal should be to look the best you can. Not compare ourselves to. Yeah, right. Someone younger he can't possibly compete with
that is not possible. That's a losing battle. Yeah, it really Yeah.
What does it mean? Feeling good. And looking good to you. So what do you what do you think comes first?
Wow. You know, one thing feeds off of another. Yeah. If you're in good health, people can see that glow of good health, I think. And also, if you've gone to extra trouble to look good, or, you know, at that particular moment, and you look in the mirror, it lifts your spirits, and once your spirits are lifted, somehow, you get this little rush of euphoria. Wow, I look good. I still got it, you know. And yeah, I think, yeah. When they feed off of each other. Yeah. And they nurture each other. Yeah. Yeah.
So what makes you feel the most beautiful at the moment? It can be anything
You know, when I look in the mirror, and it and I look in the mirror the way I feel inside, when I'm feeling good inside. That's every, that's the best. That's the best. Yeah. I mean, if I'm doing something kind of sporty, and I looked that way in the mirror, like, you know, I'm going to go for a rigorous walk, I look in the mirror, and I can tell I'm ready to go. And I feel good then if I'm getting ready to perform somewhere. And I put on the right outfit and do my makeup and my hair and yeah. And then I'm more confident when I perform. Right? Because I'm like, well, I could mess up but I still look good.
I hit the wrong note, but hey I look hot
Well, something like that. Yeah, it doesn't hurt. It doesn't exist. Right. And if you have a wardrobe malfunction, and you're playing well, you know, it's gonna ruin How could you feel about how you did? So? Yeah, that happens too. Not too often. Yeah. And
So if you have one, but what is your favourite quote about being a woman so it can be your own or someone else's?
You know, I, I'm a musician. So I think song lyrics. And try remember who wrote this song? I think it was Billy Joel, who wrote the song. She's always a woman to me. And he talks about not aspects of how she looks but aspects of her personality. And how even the things that are negative about her personality balanced so well, with the positive things that he loves her and the course goes, she's always all in to me. Yeah, yeah. And, and he talks about, oh, she takes care of herself. She does what she wants, Hey, she's got a mind of her own, and he respects that. So yeah, I mean, I'm thinking that song lyric really resonates with me and I love playing that song. She's always a woman. And it just it says, part of being a woman is recognising you have a right to personhood to having your opinion and, and your own desires and you pursue those desires. And
you know that you're different from everyone else. So just be yourself.
There are many facets to you're not. You're more ... Yeah, yeah.
Beautiful. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. It's been great chatting with you. Thank you so much.
We're great chatting with you, too. Thank you.
If you have an interesting story to share would love for you to participate. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website, www. aleksandrawalker.com
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