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How to Spring Back Into Performing - and Love It

May 17, 2021

The spring weather has been wonderful here this year. We’ve had plenty of sunshine, a little early warm weather and just enough rain to encourage all the trees and shrubs to flower extravagantly. It’s a gift to be able to get outside and enjoy the beauty.

Of course, not all the plants around my house are growing where I want them. Between the weeding, pruning and replanting, there...

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The Cure for Finger Lock-up

May 10, 2021

You may be suffering from finger “lock-up” and not even realize it.

Finger lock-up isn’t necessarily a physical freeze. It usually manifests itself in the third or fourth finger and it might be troubling you if you’re having trouble with uneven scales or arpeggios. Consider these common symptoms.

You may have finger lock-up if you notice that a finger:

  • Is out of sync...
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Three Reasons You’re Not Reviewing Your Music

May 03, 2021

Review your music regularly.

You know you should be reviewing the music you’ve learned but somehow you never get to it. I know; I don’t do as much review as I should either.

Reviewing the music we know should be the easy and fun part of our practice. Often, however, it’s the part we put off. We save it, as if it were dessert, until after we’ve worked on the pieces we...

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Permission to Play

Apr 26, 2021

Life is full of shoulds; your harp playing shouldn’t be. But I bet it is.

Do any of these sound familiar?

I should practice scales.
I should finish this piece before I start a new one.
I should warm up before I start playing.
I should learn this piece my teacher gave me, even though I don’t like it.
I should practice this piece slowly even though it’s driving me crazy.

I think we...

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Unlocking the Key to Key Signatures

Apr 19, 2021

I hate the Circle of Fifths. And I’m not the only one.

I was meeting with my Certified Coaches recently and we all voiced a similar feeling. The Circle of Fifths is a problem.

Before I explain myself, let me say that the coaches and I collectively have a fairly hefty set of credentials. All of us have music degrees; some advanced degrees. And of course, I not only graduated from the...

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3 Practice Myths That May Be Killing Your Music

Apr 12, 2021

I gave up on the “practice makes perfect” idea years ago. 

In my experience, it doesn’t matter how long, how diligently or how much you practice; “perfect” is not a guaranteed result. Musicians who persist in pursuing perfection face inevitable disappointment and frustration. The common alternate version of this saying, “Perfect practice makes...

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The Case for Memorization: Why It Matters More Than You Think

Apr 05, 2021

Every harpist I know has an opinion about memorization.


Some harpists swear by it as a learning technique and a performance aid. Others regard it as unnecessary and not worth the effort. Still others think that their memory just isn’t as good as it used to be, so why should they even bother?


When I was a student, playing from memory was expected and required. For most...

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How to Feed (or Find) Your Free Spirit – and Still Get Practice Done

Mar 29, 2021

Does this sound like you?

You love playing the harp but you aren’t sure you like practicing. You want to play well and make progress but sometimes practice feels like a chore that you dread. You make a practice schedule one day and break it the next. You wonder if you simply lack the self-discipline to play the harp. 

The truth is you don’t need massive self-discipline to play...

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3 Strategies for Left Hand Fluency

Mar 22, 2021

I used to envy harpists who were left handed.

I figured that being left handed would mean your left hand would be more coordinated at the harp. As it turns out, I was wrong.

Harp playing requires dexterity in both hands, but the more we play, the more our hands become specialists. Our right hand specializes in playing melodies fluidly and evenly. The right thumb learns to dominate when needed...

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A Harpist of Firsts: Micheline Kahn

Mar 15, 2021

Have you ever wanted to be the first to do something ground-breaking?

Think about what it might have been like for Neil Armstrong to first set foot on the moon. Or to be Charles Lindbergh flying solo across the Atlantic. Or to be the first person, and to date the only person, to win a Nobel prize in two different scientific fields. (That person is Marie Curie, by the way.)

Perhaps it’s a...

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