A Support System for Your Fingers

Aug 05, 2018

Do your fingers have a support system?

We rely on support systems daily, whether those systems are the people closest to us or the piers and pilings underneath the bridge we drive over daily. Those systems enable us to do our work more easily, with less frustration, danger or difficulty. They often work in the background, but without their strength, our accomplishments would be impossible.

Your...

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Traction! Ten Steps to Making Progress

Jul 29, 2018

Before you can get anywhere, you need traction.

Every year at about this time, my entire community where I live in Pennsylvania suspends its regular activities and heads for the fair. It’s one of those traditional state or county fairs with prizes for the most beautiful vegetables, most delectable baked goods and best livestock.

There are musical performances and magic acts, amusement...

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Find Your Fire

Jul 22, 2018

Suddenly her soul was on fire. It had been a long weekend, and she was clearly worn out from information overload. It looked to me like she had reached her limit. But then came the fire. She wasn’t just engaged or interested. She was alive. She was on fire.

This past weekend I attended and taught at the Somerset Folk Harp Festival in New Jersey. Hundreds of harp players gathered to...

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No Time to Practice? Try 15 Minutes!

Jul 16, 2018

You have no time to practice?

Perhaps you’re getting ready for a trip or you have a special project at work. Maybe a family member needs extra care right now. Or maybe things are just crazy.

Whatever the situation, if you can find 15 minutes, you can do enough practice to tide you over the busy period.

Can’t find 15 minutes? I can help you with that too. But first let’s talk...

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Independence for Your Fingers

Jul 08, 2018

We just celebrated another Independence Day here in the United States and I couldn’t help carrying the celebration over into the blog.

Technical facility is one of the skills every harpist must develop and maintain. A smooth, fluid technique not only allows us to play at faster tempos, but it gives all our music expression and polish. Technique is what makes even “Twinkle, Twinkle,...

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A Family Reunion, Harp Style

Jul 02, 2018

Have you ever attended a big family reunion, one of those massive ones where each branch of the family tree can be identified by the color of their T-shirt? If so, you know what an adventure it can be. You discover cousins you’ve never met, maybe never even knew of. You share meals and stories, play games, look at photo albums, discover connections. Maybe you simply relax and share the...

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Leave the Harp at Home: Guilt-Free Vacationing

Jun 24, 2018

“Have harp; will travel.”

That’s my motto for most of the year. My harp and I have watched more than one odometer tip the 200,000 mile mark, and one of my cars made it over 300,000 miles. You might think my harp and I are never separated.

Nevertheless, I always have at least one vacation each year that is harp-free. I figure it’s good for both of us. He sits at home...

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Change Up Your Warm Up: 10 Easy Tweaks

Jun 17, 2018

It’s just a warm up routine. No big deal, right?

For most musicians most of the time, that is probably true.

But your warm up could be an agent of change in your playing, an opportunity for growth. The trick is to take the “routine” out of the warm up.

Certainly there is comfort in the habit of a warm up routine. It becomes a tripwire for focus, clearing your mind and...

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How to Be a Successful Musician

Jun 11, 2018

A successful musician doesn't just happen. It’s not really about innate talent, and believe it or not, it's not all about practice. It is about three specific qualities that allow a musician to be able to practice effectively, play fluently and perform confidently.

The good news is that these are all qualities that can be developed. It's not a question of having them or not. Any musician...

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3 Skills Essential to Sight Reading

Jun 03, 2018

Do you want to improve your sight reading? Are your efforts not yielding visible results? Maybe you're going about it the wrong way.

Sight reading is an essential part of musicianship. When a musician can sight read fluently, he can learn music faster, saving practice time and developing more confidence at the same time. And while most musicians know they should be practicing sight reading, it...

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