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3 Practice Myths That May Be Killing Your Music

Apr 12, 2021

I gave up on the “practice makes perfect” idea years ago. 

In my experience, it doesn’t matter how long, how diligently or how much you practice; “perfect” is not a guaranteed result. Musicians who persist in pursuing perfection face inevitable disappointment and frustration. The common alternate version of this saying, “Perfect practice makes...

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The Case for Memorization: Why It Matters More Than You Think

Apr 05, 2021

Every harpist I know has an opinion about memorization.

 

Some harpists swear by it as a learning technique and a performance aid. Others regard it as unnecessary and not worth the effort. Still others think that their memory just isn’t as good as it used to be, so why should they even bother?

 

When I was a student, playing from memory was expected and required. For most...

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How to Feed (or Find) Your Free Spirit – and Still Get Practice Done

Mar 29, 2021

Does this sound like you?

You love playing the harp but you aren’t sure you like practicing. You want to play well and make progress but sometimes practice feels like a chore that you dread. You make a practice schedule one day and break it the next. You wonder if you simply lack the self-discipline to play the harp. 

The truth is you don’t need massive self-discipline to play...

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3 Strategies for Left Hand Fluency

Mar 22, 2021

I used to envy harpists who were left handed.

I figured that being left handed would mean your left hand would be more coordinated at the harp. As it turns out, I was wrong.

Harp playing requires dexterity in both hands, but the more we play, the more our hands become specialists. Our right hand specializes in playing melodies fluidly and evenly. The right thumb learns to dominate when needed...

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A Harpist of Firsts: Micheline Kahn

Mar 15, 2021

Have you ever wanted to be the first to do something ground-breaking?

Think about what it might have been like for Neil Armstrong to first set foot on the moon. Or to be Charles Lindbergh flying solo across the Atlantic. Or to be the first person, and to date the only person, to win a Nobel prize in two different scientific fields. (That person is Marie Curie, by the way.)

Perhaps it’s a...

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The Fork in the Road: When Not to Quit (and When You Should)

Mar 08, 2021

There is a fork in the road ahead. You can see the sign ahead and you’re coming up on it fast. The problem is that you aren’t sure which fork is the correct one. Taking the wrong fork could mean a costly detour. How do you choose?

Thanks to GPS systems drivers are no longer without an answer to a “fork in the road” question. My Google maps lady tells me which road to...

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Do These 3 Things Today and Play Better Tomorrow

Mar 01, 2021

I know I’m not the only one. Every harpist bumps into the brick wall now and again. It’s that place that you can’t seem to get beyond, when you are tantalizingly close to being able to play your piece but you can’t seem to get to the finish line. The practice that worked up to this point just won’t take you any further.

You could put that piece away. You could keep...

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Get Strong Fingers the Smart Way

Feb 22, 2021

Harpists, how strong are your fingers? How strong do they need to be?

It seems instrumentalists of all sorts try to develop stronger fingers and not just in recent times. In 1836, Henri Herz patented the Dactylion, a mechanical contraption designed specifically for pianists. Schumann was reputed to have ruined his fingers trying to strengthen them with a finger strengthening machine he made...

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Do You Need a Reason to Practice? 3 Ways to Find One

Feb 15, 2021

The secret of getting ahead is getting started - Mark Twain

Motivation is a puzzling phenomenon.  It ebbs and flows. It can be the carrot or the stick. It can be an internal compulsion or an external force. In whatever form motivation appears to us though, it is always fueled by the answer to one question: why?

We are motivated to do something for a reason. It may be a reward or a positive...

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The Harp: Queen of the Drama But Not a Drama Queen

Feb 08, 2021

Whether you are a harpist or just a lover of the harp, you know the magnetic power of the sound of this magnificent instrument. The harp can sound rich and fluid, or sparkling and elegant. The harp can be delicate or dynamic or even heroic. This vast color palette makes listening to the harp endlessly fascinating and playing the harp an exciting adventure.

Composers also enjoy exploring the...

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