Harpist Genevieve Lang Explains How Performing With The Sydney Symphony Orchestra Can Be As Courageous As Sharing Of Yourself With Others Offstage, Episode 93

This week’s guest is Genevieve Lang, a fellow mum who also sends her children to a Montessori program here in Australia. Now, this was one of those school situations when you realize that amongst us parents, we are still interesting adults with extraordinary life experiences. And it was during the recent lockdown that I had the opportunity to hear her play the harp for us all during our very own harp half hour. 

What began as an intimate and very personal performance over Zoom turned out to be an opportunity for me to follow my curiosity and ask Genevieve to be a guest on this podcast. I have to say, I needed to muster my courage to make this ask. And this is the kind of bravery that I want to teach you too as a coach. It’s the type of courage to share your talent with a new crowd or to reach out to a fellow parent and ask them how they decided on their career. It’s the kind of bravery that we all need to live more enriching lives and to ultimately find it within ourselves to finally pursue our purpose right now, even in the midst of messy and uncertain times. It’s also the courage that I feature front and center in my free download that you can find on my website on www.melissallarena.com/courage

Have you yet grabbed your own copy of my Courage Makerspace Playbook? In this playbook, you’ll have an opportunity to grow and test your own courage muscles. See where they are today and where they can use some strengthening so that you can get more out of your life. Pick any one of my 7 specific exercises and see where you rise up versus fall a bit apart. We all have our own sore spots when it comes to being courageous. So be sure to grab your own free Courage Makerspace Playbook right now.

In this episode, we cover how some of our best and most intimate memories come out of ordinary moments including when she once played her harp in a carpark. She also shares her take on courage and the kind it took for her to hold back a bit in her own artistry to ensure the audience got what they needed (i.e. moment of silence to heal in some cases). We discuss where the women in music are and have been, as well as some orchestra best hiring practices that are also applicable to business that you may want to implement yourself.

About Genevieve Lang

Genevieve Lang has performed regularly as a section and guest principal harpist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. She has also enjoyed a long association with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

Genevieve is a founding member of SHE (Seven Harp Ensemble), a group directed by harpist Alice Giles, which is active in commissioning and performing new Australian music. As a soloist she has performed with the Tasmanian, West Australian and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras.

Genevieve has presented courses in chamber music appreciation at the University of Sydney’s Centre for Continuing Education and tutored the Australian Youth Orchestra’s music journalism course, Words About Music.

She has undertaken traineeships in artistic administration and music presentation, which gave her the opportunity to work with a number of Australian orchestras and with ABC Radio. Since then, she has worked with Gondwana Choirs, the Australian Youth Orchestra, and Pinchgut Opera. Genevieve regularly delivers pre-concert talks for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and has edited various publications for the SSO for the last 10 years. Amidst all that, she’s still a very busy harpist!

Share this conversation with anyone who enjoys classical music, who might really miss the arts, someone who is also interested and curious about what it actually takes to become a harpist and truly perform on the world’s various stages. Enjoy this conversation today!


  • Memories: Memories are made in the ordinary moments and the sensations that you experience in your body if you have that level of awareness of rising joy or catching it on the wing, and retaining it.
  • Mastery: Mastering any skill, art or performance exists in the mind of letting go of aiming for perfection and allowing what happens and allowing for the audience to receive it in a very different way to how you might perceive it.
  • Audacity: You have to learn how to channel what is the negative and nervous energy into a positive one and an excitement. It’s very much a mental game.
  • Healing: Harp therapy has massive applications from both ends of life – from neonatal tiny little tots in the neonatal ICU right through to end of life, palliative care, and everything in between.
  • Simplicity: To play the harp therapeutically in a medical setting or a respite setting, you have to do very little plucking of the strings. In fact, the medicine is in the spaces between. The resonance of the harp, the way it sounds, and the way it lingers in your body, mind, and your ears is where the therapy is to be found. Simple music is what does the trick.
  • Courage: As a classically-trained performer where she played music with deep complexity, Genevieve felt very uncomfortable with leaving so much space. And it took so much courage for her to hold back and learn to become comfortable with silence.
  • Pattern: Math and music have a correlation in terms of patterns because we see patterns in music all the time and there are math patterns in nature and science.
  • Curiosity: Feeling the need to diversify a little bit away from purely performance, Genevieve took a music journalism course. Is there another way to bring your talents to the world? Explore your alternatives!
  • Creativity: For Genevieve, the act of crafting a narrative and selecting the words of telling the story from start to finish was more creative than anything she has done on the harp for 10 years. An orchestra is an act of performance, but writing words and composing words was a creative art. 
  • Ensemble: SHE is a beautiful acronym for Seven Harp Ensemble, that Genevieve is a part of. The individual makeup of the group changes depending on people’s availability.
  • History of women in music: Women in music are everywhere. But for a really long time, they’ve been silenced by societal norms. For example, Clara Schumann had a 61-year career as a concert pianist. 
  • Hiring: Women in orchestras started to grow, even outnumbering men. And that’s because the screening process has changed where they’ve gotten rid of gender bias.
  • Diversity: Businesses have adopted the orchestral model in a lot of places. They saw this diversity emerging from this new process of screened auditions.
  • Brain Integration: Music, particularly for a developing mind, is an incredible full brain workout. 
  • Emotions: How music elicits emotions is a mystery Genevieve wants to cherish and doesn’t want to understand otherwise it will remove a layer of that wonder of being human.

Links for more information


Want to grab your free copy of the Courage Makerspace (™) Playbook?

Download the Courage Makerspace(™) here www.melissallarena.com/courage  

Boost your courage in 7-days using the exact courage design tools that have worked for both me and my clients. Grab your free playbook instantly so that you can discover how to:  

  • Figure out what makes you tick
  • Be more accountable and not procrastinate
  • Overcome imposter syndrome
  • Stop caring about what others think
  • Progress despite self-doubt
  • Manage anxiety
  • Ask for help

You will have a step-by-step playbook to help you finally fulfill your life purpose! Do not miss out on this free opportunity as it will not be available for long.


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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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