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How to Build Your Curriculum

Sep 10, 2018

In last week’s post, I showed you why I think that creating a curriculum for your harp studies – as opposed to simply practicing – is an essential key to progress. If you didn’t read the post, you can read it here, but basically the idea is this: begin with a goal, then create a plan and a timeline. Add in benchmarks to measure your progress and you have the fundamental...

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Why You Should Go Back to School

Sep 03, 2018

It’s back to school time. You may not be headed into a classroom yourself this autumn, but you might find this is a great time to re-organize your harp studies. I’d like to suggest that you create an actual curriculum.

You might remember from your school days the first days of every semester when each teacher handed out a curriculum or syllabus, a detailed plan for the...

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Strengthen Your Fourth Finger

Aug 27, 2018
 

Is your fourth finger a good team player?

If you're like most of us harpists, your fourth finger might sometimes feel more like a liability than an asset. It can be weak when you're trying to play an even scale, or it might be too strong when you're trying to balance a chord. 

We also tend to undervalue the functions our fourth fingers fulfill. Although they may behave like bad boys, they...

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Debussy Dilemma

Aug 20, 2018

Clade Debussy

This week we celebrate the birthday of composer Claude Debussy, born on August 22, 1862. Although Debussy himself would be 156 years old this week, his music still sounds as fresh and magical as it did when he composed it.

And his music still poses problems for many musicians. I have worked with numerous students who, on their first encounter with a piece by Debussy, are puzzled...

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The Line Between Difficult and Too Difficult

Aug 13, 2018

“Is this piece too difficult for me?”

When students ask me this question, I know it’s not because they’re lazy and don’t want to have to work hard.

On the contrary, I know they are ready and willing to put in the practice time needed to be able to play the piece. They just want to be assured that their time and effort will get them results. Why spend hours...

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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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