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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3 Steps to Making a Video You Can Be Proud Of

May 25, 2020

With lockdown restrictions still in effect, you may be deciding to make your very first harp video. Perhaps you have tried before, but found the process too difficult. In this post, I show you how to streamline the process and like - possibly even love! - the result.

Any experienced musician will tell you that making a recording is far more difficult than playing in front of an audience. There...

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5 Fingering Do’s and Don'ts

May 18, 2020

“To change the fingering or not to change it; that is the question.”

If Hamlet had been a harpist, his famous speech might have started with those words.

We harpists often struggle with the fingering markings printed in our music. Sometimes the fingering choices of the composer or arranger feel clumsy and awkward; at others they threaten to tie our fingers in knots. Often instilling...

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A Storyteller’s Guide to Musical Expression

May 11, 2020

There’s an art to telling a good story. Famous yarn-spinners like Mark Twain or the legendary Scheherazade knew how to captivate their audiences. It didn’t seem to matter what the story was about or how far fetched the premise was.The storyteller’s art is less about the material than it is about the delivery.

Children know this instinctively. I can recall countless sleepover...

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Finding the Finish Line: When Is Your Music Done?

May 04, 2020

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

This famous philosophical poser can be a starting point for a fun debate. Is it a physical science question or a metaphysical one or both? However you consider it, there is an element of mystery that can spark your imagination.

Here is another question that is similarly difficult to answer: If a piece of music...

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