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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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My Personal Golden Rules of Harp Teaching

Feb 01, 2021

I discovered years ago how much I learned by teaching. 

When you have to explain something - a concept, a method, a fingering - you are forced to understand it at a deeper level. The practical application of the concept or the reasoning behind the method becomes important in a new way. And then you have to articulate it in a way that makes sense to a student.

I believe no other method of...

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No Time to Practice? 15 Things You Can Do in 15 Minutes

Jan 25, 2021

Even in these days of social distancing, people seem to be busy. It’s proof positive of Parkinson’s law: work expands to fill the time allotted. Although your schedule appears empty, somehow you still can’t find the time to get everything done. 

This may be why I still hear from harpists who are frustrated that they can’t find time to practice. Yes, working from...

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Glissando Magic: 4 Ways to Make Your Glissandos Move

Jan 18, 2021

Anyone can play a glissando on the harp. You just run one finger across the strings. With one simple strum, the harp bursts into its rich, liquid song. It’s a magical experience.

Maybe that magical experience was the start of your harp journey. The sound of the harp, the feel of the strings, the sense of having all that music at the tip of your finger is almost irresistible. Yes, there is...

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4 Harp Rules You Can Break

Jan 11, 2021

Allow me to start with a disclaimer: If you are a young harpist, an aspiring harpist entering competitions or a virtuoso performer setting the standards for others, don’t read this article. If you’re one of the rest of us, however, read on!

If you've been studying the harp for any length of time, I’m certain you’ve discovered the endless list of what I can only describe...

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Are You Ready for a Growth Spurt?

Jan 04, 2021

A new year, a fresh start. But is this really the time to start over or should you just forge ahead?

I’m always tempted to wipe my slate clean at the start of a new year. It feels empowering to choose to discard the habits that are holding me back and to jettison the things that are cluttering my closets. 

There’s always the possibility, however, that in this sudden urge to...

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12 Harp Habits to Let Go Of (and 1 to Keep) in 2021

Dec 28, 2020

The popular thinking is that New Year’s resolutions are a waste of time and while I don’t fully agree, I understand the reason. Resolutions are usually constructed to fail. In fact, while more than 55% of people believe they will keep their resolutions, less than 10% of people (and some studies say as little as 4%) actually do.

The problem is that although we feel motivated, even...

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How to Make Virtual Concerts Virtually Stress-free

Dec 21, 2020

By this time many of us have played the harp online for friends, family, or in more structured performances. If you have already made your internet debut, you have probably experienced some of the challenges unique to online concerts. While Zoom or any other platform may be the only way to play and hear live music safely right now, virtual concerts have a unique set of challenges that can...

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