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Your Five Day Plan to Better Musical Awareness

Jul 26, 2021

“I just want to play more musically.”

It's a common refrain among students and performers of all ages. We all want to play more musically, but exactly what does that mean?

A musically expressive performance is a result of the performer’s choices informed by his or her understanding. You can probably guess at the kind of choices I mean, like choices of tempo and...

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Flowing Arpeggios Start From a Ripple

Jul 19, 2021
This post was first published on August 5, 2019. Updated on July 19, 2021.

“Throw a stone into the stream and the ripples that propagate themselves are the beautiful type of all influence.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

The ripple effect is generally understood to mean the expanding impact of a single action, for instance the increase in good feeling from a single good deed.

In harp...

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The 30,000 Foot View: Letting Go of the Details

Jul 12, 2021
This post was first published on April 27, 2015. Updated on July 12, 2021.

Are you practicing the big picture, or do you get stuck in “the dots?”

Sometimes you can be standing so close to something that you can't actually see it. You just don't have the right perspective.

I have always enjoyed short air flights on the small commuter-type planes. You're low enough that you can see...

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Musicians in Uniform

Jul 05, 2021
This post was first published on May 27, 2018. Updated on July 5, 2021.

Our Independence Day celebrations will be a little different again this year. The crowds will be smaller and more health-aware than in past years. The fireworks will be limited in places due to weather conditions. But the music will still accompany it all.

Music has always been part of our celebrations, and it's...

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Musical Understanding Starts with Key Signatures

Jun 28, 2021
This post was first published on August 3, 2012. Updated on June 28, 2021.

At some point in every music student’s life comes the moment when she must learn all the key signatures. And at some point for every teacher comes the question from that same student: “Why do I have to know them?”

There are some easy reasons that we all give our students. They may need to...

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Perfection or Performance? It's Your Choice

Jun 21, 2021
This post was first published on November 5, 2012. Updated on June 21, 2021.

The world doesn’t reward perfection. It rewards productivity.” – Peter Bregman, author of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done

I imagine something like this has happened to you, as it has to me: You have heard a great concert, a performance that...

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Three Little Things that Add Up to Big Changes

Jun 14, 2021
This post was first published on November 19, 2013. Updated on June 14, 2021.

So much to do and so little time.

If you're like me, you have stacks of music that are waiting for you to learn them someday. You have pieces that you are learning now and ones that you plan to start soon. You have exercises or etudes or other music you think you should be doing too. Who has time for all of that?


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Reflections on the Canon

Jun 07, 2021
This post was first published on July 26, 2013. Updated on June 7, 2021.

You might love it. You might be bored by it. You might be sick and tired of playing it. But you can't avoid it

What is it, you ask? It's the famous (some say, infamous) Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel.  Why infamous? Because every gigging harpist has a story like this one...

It wasn’t the bride’s fault that...

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How to Make Every Lesson Count

May 31, 2021
This post was first published on March 15, 2013. Updated on May 31, 2021.

"That lesson was a waste of my teacher's time and my money!"

I've heard statements like that from other harpists and I understand the feeling. You practiced but you still played badly. You sensed that your teacher was trying to help but nothing she suggested seemed to make anything any better. You were disappointed,...

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Which Is Your Practice Style: Greyhound or German Shepherd?

May 24, 2021
This post was first published on August 25, 2014. Updated on May 24, 2021.
Are you a Greyhound or a German Shepherd, musically speaking?

Let me start with a story:

There once was a music teacher who had two students, approximately the same age and skill level. One week, she assigned each student the same new piece. The students were equally excited about learning the piece. When the students...

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