Design Your 2019: The Sorting Hat

practicing technique Dec 24, 2018

In last week’s blog post, Design Your 2019: Write Your Movie, you created your movie trailer, your description of your harp vision for yourself. You identified your happy ending as well as some of the obstacles you might encounter along the way.

Your next step is to look at what you will need to do and NOT do in order for your vision to become your reality. Most people would begin by setting out the steps they need to follow. Unfortunately, it’s easy to bog down in that process; there are so many steps that it’s hard to know where to start.

You probably won’t be surprised to know that I have a different approach for you to try. We will use the Sorting Hat.

If you know the Harry Potter books or movies, you’re familiar with the Sorting Hat. As each new student enters Hogwarts Academy, the Sorting Hat is placed on his or her head and the hat assigns them to one of the four houses: Gryffindor for the courageous, Hufflepuff for the humble and hard-working, Ravenclaw for the academically gifted and Slytherin for those who are cunning and ambitious.

Our Sorting Hat process will not classify you. Instead, in just three steps it will organize the things you need to accomplish in order to achieve your goal and greatly reduce the confusion and overwhelm.

Step One: The Brain Dump

Let’s get it all down on paper – every single step.

Every great project starts with a list of everything that needs to be done and your harp project is not an exception. On a sheet of paper list the component tasks that are part of your project.

Don’t get too detailed here; there will time for that later. Just list the major categories. For instance, if your goal is to learn a specific piece, your list might include learning the notes, getting it to tempo with appropriate musicality, memorizing the piece, performing it. The trick is to include all the main steps without letting the details of each step worry you right now. Leave some room under each item, however, for listing some component tasks later.

Step Two: The Three Categories

Here is where the sorting begins.

Look at each of the items on your list. You will classify each item according to ­at least one of the following three categories.

Time and Energy. These are things merely require doing.They are tasks or skills within your abilities and your experience. You can handle it; you’ve done this before.

Growth. These things require you to move up a level (or more) in a skill or an area you are unfamiliar with or apprehensive about your ability to complete

Habit-Driven. These items will require you to make a change in your habits – more practice time, more focus in your practice would be two common ones.

As you consider each item on your list, consider that some of the component tasks of that item may fit in different categories. For example, learning the notes may be simply a “time and energy” task for you, but getting it up to tempo may be a “growth” skill.

Next to each item on your list, and next to each sub-item as well, write a “T,” a “G” or an “H” to indicate the appropriate category for the item. Note that some items may belong in multiple categories.

Step Three: Review

Review your list. Let several days go by before you look at it again. Add items, change categories if you like. Give yourself some time to reflect on your choices. Next week we will use your list to set out your action steps so you can plan your harp happiness path for 2019 using the ____________________


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