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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?

What...

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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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How to Spring Back Into Performing - and Love It

May 17, 2021

The spring weather has been wonderful here this year. We’ve had plenty of sunshine, a little early warm weather and just enough rain to encourage all the trees and shrubs to flower extravagantly. It’s a gift to be able to get outside and enjoy the beauty.

Of course, not all the plants around my house are growing where I want them. Between the weeding, pruning and replanting, there...

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The Cure for Finger Lock-up

May 10, 2021

You may be suffering from finger “lock-up” and not even realize it.

Finger lock-up isn’t necessarily a physical freeze. It usually manifests itself in the third or fourth finger and it might be troubling you if you’re having trouble with uneven scales or arpeggios. Consider these common symptoms.

You may have finger lock-up if you notice that a finger:

  • Is out of sync...
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Three Reasons You’re Not Reviewing Your Music

May 03, 2021

Review your music regularly.

You know you should be reviewing the music you’ve learned but somehow you never get to it. I know; I don’t do as much review as I should either.

Reviewing the music we know should be the easy and fun part of our practice. Often, however, it’s the part we put off. We save it, as if it were dessert, until after we’ve worked on the pieces we...

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Permission to Play

Apr 26, 2021

Life is full of shoulds; your harp playing shouldn’t be. But I bet it is.

Do any of these sound familiar?

I should practice scales.
I should finish this piece before I start a new one.
I should warm up before I start playing.
I should learn this piece my teacher gave me, even though I don’t like it.
I should practice this piece slowly even though it’s driving me crazy.

I think we...

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Unlocking the Key to Key Signatures

Apr 19, 2021

I hate the Circle of Fifths. And I’m not the only one.

I was meeting with my Certified Coaches recently and we all voiced a similar feeling. The Circle of Fifths is a problem.

Before I explain myself, let me say that the coaches and I collectively have a fairly hefty set of credentials. All of us have music degrees; some advanced degrees. And of course, I not only graduated from the...

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