Set the Bar Low for Your Next Performance

Apr 11, 2016

Set the bar low for your next performance.  What?!

We are taught to aim for the best possible performance. We are accustomed to setting the bar high and going for the gold. And that's a good thing, right?

Not necessarily.

Sometimes setting the bar high can create more pressure, more self-induced pressure. We practice harder and longer as the performance gets closer, and we sweat the...

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Aural Skills: Yes, They Really Matter!

Apr 04, 2016

 

I won't say I told you so, but...

I was reading a post on one of my favorite music blogs, The Bulletproof Musician, and was so excited to find someone else talking about one of my favorite subjects: aural skills.

The latest post begins by exploring the very real benefits of mental practice, meaning practice away from the instrument. My students have heard me talk about this before.

...
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The Amazing Practice Magnifier, Part 3

Mar 28, 2016

It’s one thing to talk about focus, and another thing entirely to find it. You can practice with focus and perform with focus, but what if you don’t really have something specific to focus on? How long can you create focus for yourself?

Focus, motivation, drive, inspiration. They are all slightly different manifestations of the same important element in music study: energy.

...

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The Amazing Practice Magnifier, Part 2

Mar 21, 2016

 

This blog post is the second in a three-part series of case studies that will show you how to bring more focus – and more harp happiness – into your practice and playing every day.

In last week’s post, Agatha learned how to stay more focused during her practice time and reduce the mental clutter that was preventing her from doing her best work.

In this week’s...

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The Amazing Practice Magnifier

Mar 14, 2016

Wouldn't it be great if you could make your practice more productive, more rewarding and more enjoyable? If you could magnify the results you got each time you practice?

It's possible - with focus.

Just like a magnifying glass can focus the sun's rays, you can focus your energies in your practice to get the kind of results you want.

This blog post is the first in a series of case studies that...

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Making a Smart College Choice

Mar 07, 2016

Center for the Arts, University of Delaware Photo by Jon Fox

(This post about college choices first appeared several years ago, but it's that time of year again. Here's to making a smart choice!)

With the incredible variety and number of options, how do you make a good college choice? How can you find the right music program to get you where you want to go? Is a music conservatory the...

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Method or Madness

Feb 29, 2016

“What method do you play?”

It’s part of the human condition to label, sort and divide. Classifying things makes them easier to understand.

We feel a bond with others that share our views. We form clubs and associations. We develop deep loyalties. We separate the sheep from the goats.

But labels can also cause misunderstanding and divisiveness. As a musician, no matter what...

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Do You Have a Harp Hero?

Feb 22, 2016

I need a hero.

A harpist’s life is not an easy one. I’m not complaining, mind you, just stating a fact.

The harp is a beautiful instrument, but one with lots of issues. Whether we are trying to tune it, play it or move it, we are not traveling an easy road.

Along my own harp road, I have encountered many people who have made my way much smoother, some simply by a thoughtful gesture,...

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Thinking Music in 3D

Feb 15, 2016

When you look at your music, is your vision bounded by the black dots, lines and spaces and the edges ofthe page?

Let’s get out of the flat two dimensional world of the printed page and look at music in 3D.

The Horizontal Dimension of Music 

Melody is horizontal dimension of music. It is the narrative voice of music. Melody tells a story, sings a song, or paints a picture.

Melody is...

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Your Metronome Speaks

Feb 08, 2016

You move that pile of music and there it is, underneath everything: your metronome. It stares mutely at you, reproachfully. You feel a brief pang of guilt, but you push it aside, telling yourself that the metronome is really too annoying and you’ll use it another time.

But your metronome is calling to you from under that pile of music. And if you would listen, you would hear it telling...

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