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Sharpen Your Focus - 3 Quick Tips

Oct 30, 2016


The word always reminds of that amazing moment in the eye doctor’s office when he adjusts the machine in front of my eyes and everything comes into focus. I’m extremely near-sighted, so the change from my unaided eyes to the corrective lenses is startling and almost profound. The world is transformed from an impressionistic blur into well-defined reality.

I’ve had...

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Is it the Destination or the Journey?

Oct 23, 2016

“What stop please?”

When I was growing up in Philadelphia, I used to love to ride the public transit. I was too young to drive, and I needed to go from the suburbs into the city each week for my harp lesson. Each way my trip required one bus, one elevated train and one underground trolley, plus a nice six block walk. I felt so grown-up and free being able to negotiate the transit...

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Transitions: Working in the Spaces

Oct 16, 2016



Transitions make the difference.

In life, we admire those who appear to glide easily from one phase of life to the next.

In music, we applaud artists whose seamless performances create a musical momentum that carries us along its path.

How we handle the transitions we face is the difference between success and stress, flying through the notes or flubbing them.

Whether we are...

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How to Practice Etudes without Losing Your Sanity

Oct 09, 2016

Does practicing your études drive you crazy?

Maybe you feel like it’s a waste of your valuable or limited practice time. Maybe you don’t see the point. Or maybe you’d just rather be playing something else.

I remember dreading the études I was assigned to practice on the piano and the harp. I didn’t really understand why I needed them. It seemed more like a...

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2 Steps to Make Every Practice Session More Productive

Oct 02, 2016

You put your instrument down and stretch your arms. Shake out your hands. Rub your neck. That feels good. You got a lot done. Another productive practice session.

How often do your practice sessions feel like that? If your answer is “not often enough,” then let me help you with these two basic steps that could make all the difference.

Too often we think of our practice as a block of...

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You (Yes, YOU!) Can Read Music Better!

Sep 25, 2016

Yes, YOU can read music better – faster, more easily and fluently – whether you’re already an accomplished musician or just beginning your musical journey.

Why am I so certain? Because of what I learned in my 19 years of teaching that subject exactly at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music.

Having been a student at Curtis myself, I understood the students I was teaching....

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Are You Talented Enough?

Sep 18, 2016

The Young Mozart

“You’re SO talented!”

I always appreciate the thought behind the compliment but it chafes a little too, as if talent alone was responsible for the quality of my performance. My performance went well because, like all musicians, I practiced properly and prepared thoroughly. In fact, talent played only a minimal role. Most of my success was due to plain hard...

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Want a Great Lesson? 3 Must-Know Tips!

Sep 11, 2016

Did you have a great lesson this week?

I recently wrote an article for Harp Column magazine titled “Gold Star Student.” In it, I describe numerous ways that students can get the most from their harp lessons.

Today I’d like to look at lessons from a different angle with three tips that will help make each lesson a great one, and they apply whether you are the student or the...

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Making Music: a Labor of Love

Sep 04, 2016

Hard labor. Labor pains. Manual labor. Labor of love?

A “labor of love” sounds like an oxymoron, two seemingly opposite words. In terms of our musical studies, we might define it as the hard work we do in pursuit of excellence or in the service of our passion for music.  But this definition makes one critical assumption: that we will realize results that will justify our...

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In a Practice Rut? 7 Ways to Make Your Practice More Creative

Aug 28, 2016

Are you in a practice rut, feeling a little bored, unproductive or unchallenged?

We all get into a rut occasionally. Usually it’s not from lack of discipline. Actually, often the diligent workers are the first ones to feel stuck in the practice mill.

Sometimes our practice can feel directionless or purposeless, like we are practicing in circles. Sometimes we simply don’t know what...

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