Where Perfection Meets Possible

Apr 10, 2017

Perfectionism has a bad reputation.

We have heard about all the evils of perfectionism – the frustration, the self-doubt, the endless critiquing.

But is perfectionism the same thing as trying to get your piece correct, trying to make it right and without mistakes?

And if we allow that we can’t achieve perfection, what’s the point in trying? Do we stop practicing at some point...

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3 Mind Blowing Ways to Practice Etudes

Apr 02, 2017

Mind blowing? Maybe not exactly that, but these ways to practice your etudes will make your practice time much more effective and even more fun. In the video I mention the Etude a Day Challenge, If you want to check it out, you can find it at HarpHappiness.com.

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Practice: A New Definition

Mar 27, 2017

Let me give you the scenario. I was 13 or 14 years old and my friend was on the phone wanting me to go to the movies with her. I was completely resentful of the time I was going to have to spend practicing instead of being able to go to the movies. You might have imagined that I always loved practicing, but my parents usually had to threaten me, even in my early teen years, in order to get me...

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7 Surprising Benefits of Memorization

Mar 20, 2017

Do you memorize your music? You should.

Let me be clear. I don’t believe it’s necessary, or even desirable, to memorize every piece you learn or to play all your repertoire from memory. But I do think it’s a good idea to practice your memorization skills. And the best way to do that is…to memorize.

I have written before that memorization is less about remembering than...

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New Piece? Try This Starter System!

Mar 13, 2017

A new piece! There is nothing quite as exciting as that promising and as yet unsullied page.

I have been asked several times lately, “What’s the best way to start a new piece?” And I have given some evasive answers, saying that it depends on the piece and the player. While that is certainly true, I do have some “best practices” (and one you should avoid!) that will...

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Your Creativity Engine – Is It on Idle?

Mar 06, 2017

Creativity is not something we generally associate with music practice.  Our practice is more often about repetition and correction than about exploration and discovery.

Many music students don’t think of themselves as being “creative” in their music. They follow instructions, striving to become more proficient, to improve and to play well.  Creativity is something...

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Posture Perfect – It’s Not Just Sitting Straight

Feb 20, 2017

Good posture is the first thing we musicians learn. You may have started playing music so long ago that you have forgotten your very first music lessons, or possibly you remember your teacher’s first words to you: “Now sit up straight…”

The very first technical element in playing any instrument or in singing is good posture. And although there are specific technical...

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Eliminate the Negative - 3 Bad Habits to Stop Now

Feb 13, 2017

 

The Andrews Sisters

"Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative..."

These motivational words are the opening lyrics of a 1945 song by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer The song won the Academy Award that year and was a huge hit for Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters.

Negative thinking is one of the hidden dangers in music practice. It can masquerade as perfectionism, striving to be...

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Wrong Notes Don’t Fix Themselves: 4 Steps to Getting Them Right

Feb 06, 2017

Wrong notes! You made another mistake!

What do you do when you make mistakes as you practice? Do you find the same errors happening over and over again, even after you thought you corrected them?

What most of us do when we have made a mistake is to go back to the spot and play it many times, trying to make it not only correct, but also reliable and secure.

That’s a good start, but it is...

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Tame Your Tension – 3 Good Reasons to Relax

Jan 30, 2017

Is your tension preventing you from playing the way you want?  Relax!

Playing music isn’t supposed to be so hard. Of course, practicing is hard work, but there should come a time when you can just relax and play, right?

Precisely because practice is such hard work, especially if you do it right, it is essential that you learn to play with relaxation instead of tension. Tension makes...

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