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4 Easy Ideas to Take Your Music Reading from Fumbling to Fluent

Oct 26, 2020

When I send out a poll or take an informal survey of a group of harpists, I always ask about their biggest challenge. I want to know what is the biggest obstacle in their path, the one thing that prevents them from playing the harp the way they want. 

Invariably, the number one answer is music reading skills.

The complaints range from “I just can’t learn bass clef,” to,...

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The Practice of Listening: Why It’s Essential for Every Musician

Oct 19, 2020

And if occasionally he'd ponder
what make Shakespeare and Beethoven great,
Him I could love till I die.
Lyrics from “My White Knight,” from The Music Man

One of the first musicals I fell in love with was The Music Man by Meredith Willson. My parents had the original cast album which featured Barbara Cook as Marian the librarian. Barbara Cook’s voice was warm, clear and agile and...

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Cracking the Code: The Better Way to Read Music

Oct 12, 2020

Did you ever have a secret decoder?

I’m remembering the scene in the movie "A Christmas Story” when Ralphie uses his secret decoder pin to decipher the message on the Little Orphan Annie radio show. Ralphie was sure that the secret decoder pin was his entry into the inner circle of Annie’s followers.

Those decoders worked on a very simple principle. When you knew the starting...

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If I Were Starting Over

Oct 05, 2020

First, you need to know I’ve been playing the harp a long time. A very long time, as in over half a century. So it’s been a very long time since I started the harp, and when I started I was very young.

Naturally, starting young had numerous advantages, among them a relationship with my harp that seems to be at a cellular level. But I do not believe that you must begin young to play...

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Are You Sitting Too High, Too Low or Just Right?

Sep 28, 2020

Every harpist has a seat preference. It may be a bench, a stool, a chair. Obviously comfort is key. But what are the factors that go into sitting comfortably at the harp?

There are a few clear requirements. Your seat needs to be flat and stable. A certain amount of cushion is nice, but too much will impede the abdominal support that is critical to sitting well at the harp. Naturally, your chair...

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Centering Yourself at the Harp: Where You Sit Makes a Difference

Sep 21, 2020

Let’s find your center.

No, this is not a post about meditation or focus or concentration. It’s about something much more practical: how you should center your body at the harp.

Maybe you’ve had an experience like this one. You watch a video of yourself playing the harp. It’s difficult enough to watch and listen to yourself but what makes it even worse is that something...

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5 Steps to Expand Your Vision and Achieve Your Goals

Sep 14, 2020

Everyone needs a dream.

 

Perhaps you have felt the way I have lately, like we have too many worries and not much to dream about other than getting back to normal. That’s not helpful for creating growth and momentum. It’s not even healthy.

 

Usually at this time of year, we are excited about resuming school, work and performance schedules after a summer break. This year is...

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Never Have a Bad Lesson Again!

Sep 07, 2020

I’m going to make a bold assertion. You should never have a bad lesson.

Before you start feeling pressured to dash to the harp for some frantic last-minute practice, I need to explain. I didn’t fully understand this concept until I had been teaching for a while. As a student, I thought that a bad lesson was when I didn’t play well. When things didn’t go as well in my...

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One Book, 10 Ways to Become a Better Musician

Aug 31, 2020

“What about this chord?” he asked. He was so eager to learn, so excited by the possibilities, that the excitement was visible in his face. I was almost as excited. It wasn’t very often that a student brought that level of energy to theory class. This was a question worthy of a thoughtful answer.

Actually, he and I had this discussion many times, especially in his first year of...

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Why You Need to Stop Following the Fingering

Aug 24, 2020

“Hurry up! You’ve taken enough pictures. They’re already in the next room!”

 

I heard this refrain constantly on one European trip. Actually, I didn’t hear it; I said it. My husband is always the one lagging behind the tour group to capture an interesting photo. In those moments, I’m always afraid we’ll miss what the tour guide is telling us, but...

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