10 Ways to Cut Your Practice Time in Half

Oct 29, 2017

Practice time is probably the number factor in your music success.

Let me clarify – practice time spent efficiently and effectively is the number one factor in your music success.

Time is a precious commodity and trying to dedicate some of it to your practice can seem daunting. There are so many demands on our time, and practice can easily find itself falling to the bottom of our list.

So...

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Eat Your Vegetables – Review Your Music!

Oct 22, 2017

Do you review your music as a regular part of your practice, or a “maybe if I get around to it” part?

Do you review your music as a regular part of your practice, or a “maybe if I get around to it” part?

My totally non-scientific guess is that 9 out of 10 music students don’t include regular and systematic review of their past repertoire in their practice.

...

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Control: Why It’s Out of Your Hands

Oct 15, 2017

Life, especially in these hectic days, has become a search for control.

We look for more control over our calendar and our working days. There is an explosion of books, blogs and courses about productivity, all aimed at helping us bring more order to order lives.

We meditate, exercise and diet to gain control over our minds and bodies.

All the while, we know that control, at least the way we...

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I'm Stuck! What to Do When Nothing Is Working

Oct 08, 2017

I’m stuck!

We’ve all been there, when the piece you’re trying to practice and perfect just seems to go into neutral gear. No matter how much you practice or how focused you are, you can’t seem to get off the plateau.

Sure, you could keep practicing, hammering away at it, with the hope that eventually it will move ahead.

Or you could put it aside, give the piece (and your...

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Etudes: The Case For and Against

Oct 01, 2017

There are etudes, and then there are etudes.

In harp pedagogy, we have the basic fundamental studies like the Pozzoli etudes in the Grossi Metodo per Arpa and the flashy concert etudes of Zabel and Posse.

For those more familiar with the piano repertoire, these translate roughly as Czerny studies and Chopin etudes.

In fact, Chopin is likely the name we associate most with etudes, no matter what...

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Focus or Fixation: The Practice Rabbit Hole

Sep 24, 2017

Focus. What things we could accomplish if we could only focus!

Yet there are times that too much focus is as useless as too little when it comes to music practice. I’m talking about the “Practice Rabbit Hole.”

If you remember Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, you know that Alice’s adventures began when her curiosity led her to follow the White Rabbit down his hole....

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Cool Metronome Trick #17: Create Time

Sep 17, 2017

A metronome trick? Of course!

The metronome is a mystery for many musicians. We know we should use it and that it is “good for us.”  But that doesn’t mean we like it or even know how to use it well.

We know that those persistent ticks, clicks or beeps represent a steady beat and that they reveal how unsteady our own playing pulse can be. And the metronome is our primary...

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Adult Music Students: Myths vs. Facts

Sep 10, 2017

Adult music students are a special breed. They are enthusiastic and dedicated. They are eager and interested. Where young students might be more adventurous, adults are more likely to want to do things right the first time, bringing their life experience and maturity to their studies.

But adults are also more likely to be frustrated by what they perceive as insurmountable obstacles to playing...

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Agility for Your Fingers: the Pronking Approach

Sep 03, 2017

Agility is practically the Holy Grail for any musician. To have a facile and nimble technique is why we spend hours playing scales and exercises.

What does agility look like?

Picture a gazelle bounding across the African savanna, dodging roots and rocks, changing direction with effortless grace and athleticism. Strength, grace, flexibility and speed in motion, the very definition of agility.

...

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Fear and Uncertainty: the What-Ifs

Aug 28, 2017

Fear. Uncertainty. What would happen if you stopped “what-if-ing” and just did it?

Fear and uncertainty are the dream-killers for most people. Most of us have a “safety switch” somewhere that keeps us from going too far. The trick is in recognizing when your switch is triggered unnecessarily.

Our inborn reactions to danger are both necessary and appropriate. We naturally...

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