Making Connections: I Vow to Thee My Country

Aug 03, 2020

The tune to the song “I Vow to Thee My Country” is a favorite of harpists everywhere, thanks in part to skillful arrangements by artists like Kim Robertson and Rhett Barnwell. The melody is one of the themes from “Jupiter,” a movement of Gustav Holst’s iconic symphonic suite, The Planets. As is often the case, the back story is nearly as compelling as the...

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Find Your Focus: Six Week Success Plan

Jul 27, 2020

I always have looked forward to summer as a more relaxed time. It’s a season when I can pause, slow down the pace of my work without guilt, knowing that I am refreshing myself so I can start the autumn with renewed energy and enthusiasm. 

This summer, however, is completely different.

We’ve all had too much time on our hands: time to work and time to worry, time that hangs...

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All Opposed! Training Your Thumb to Play Well With Others

Jul 20, 2020

The fingers must be educated, the thumb is born knowing. Marc Chagall

 

In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God's existence. Isaac Newton

 

Naturally, as a human, I am grateful for my opposable thumbs. But as a harpist, I often wonder why my thumbs often seem to do the opposite of what I want.

 

When I want a seamless scale, my thumb fumbles...

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What To Do When The Applause Is Gone

Jul 13, 2020

You try to cover all the bases. You practice your technical drills, review your repertoire regularly, strengthen your musicianship; you’re doing all the right things. But it still may feel like there’s something missing. Possibly you don’t feel accomplished, or you don’t see your progress.

If you’re doing all those “right things” and practicing...

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Beyond Fear: Daily Acts of Harp Courage

Jul 06, 2020

I know many courageous harpists. They aren't necessarily the ones featured on the magazine covers or the YouTube performers with the most likes. They haven’t overcome catastrophic physical disabilities or circumstances. They are simply harpists, people like you and me who have chosen a path that challenges themselves and inspires others. 

Most of them wouldn't consider themselves...

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Are You Practicing Scales the Wrong Way?

Jun 29, 2020

In the previous blog post, I revealed how fluent scales are a critical factor in playing with more technical security, more musical flow and learning with more ease and confidence. Today I show you the four factors your scale practice must include to produce the results you want.

 

One of my favorite musicals is “The Music Man.” I love the setting, the characters and the...

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The Failsafe Fix For Fast Flexible Fingers

Jun 22, 2020

What harpist wouldn’t want fast, flexible fingers? Just imagine if your fingers were agile and even sounding, so that your music would have flash and sparkle. 

You may be like many harpists in search of the elusive trick to a facile and nimble technique. You might even believe that you’ve tried everything, and you will have to accept the fact that your fingers will never get...

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Flux-ibility: Staying Focused Through the Next Wave

Jun 15, 2020

The harpist and composer Carlos Salzedo strove to be an agent of change in the harp world. His aim was to bring the harp into the modern musical world of the early twentieth century, and he created new methods and new sound effects designed to revolutionize the traditional conception of the instrument. Some of his innovations have found a permanent place in harp pedagogy; others have been...

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Stuck in Practice Quicksand? Get Free with the Sight Reading Mindset

Jun 08, 2020

Lately I have been noticing a strange phenomenon. I have had several conversations with harpists who have been practicing diligently, only to find that their music seems to be getting worse instead of better. The more they try to fix the problem spots, the more problem spots crop up and before long, they can’t play the piece at all. They feel like their practicing is in reverse gear. Talk...

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12 Ways to Use Your Metronome to Create Time

Jun 01, 2020

Perhaps you’re one of the musicians who consider the metronome to be a tyrant, an expression-killing dictator, a relentless critic. You probably turn on your metronome only when you absolutely must, using it to help you correct an uneven rhythm or speed up sluggish fingers.

If those are the only ways you have used your metronome in your practice, then you haven’t explored what I...

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