Why You Need Headroom

Jun 15, 2015

Philadelphia, PA, USA – June 5, 2011; The front of the peloton of female professional cyclist participating in the 27th edition of the Philly Cycling Classic are seen attacking the steep ‘Manayunk Wall’ in the NorthWest section of Philadelphia, PA. (photo by Bastiaan Slabbers)

“Give it everything you’ve got!

” But how can you be sure that “everything...

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To Stop or not to Stop? Practicing for Continuity

Jun 08, 2015

I remember when I was young playing the game “Red Light, Green Light.” It’s a simple game; other people call it “Statues.” Everyone is allowed to move around however they want, until the leader calls, “Red light!” Then they have to freeze and not move until the leader calls, “Green light!” The leader tries to time the calls to confuse the...

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Kaleidoscope Practice – One Year Later

Jun 01, 2015

I wish it had come like a flash of lightning. Or maybe an earth tremor or even a giant light bulb. But really, there was no one moment when I realized what was wrong with the way I was practicing. Just all of a sudden, I knew the real point of practice, and it changed the way I learned music and the way I taught it.

What I had learned wasn’t a new discovery, just an important one.

So much...

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Why Are You Taking Lessons?

May 18, 2015

Music lessons aren’t cheap. Preparing for the lessons isn’t easy. And sometimes the lessons themselves are challenging.

So do you know WHY you are taking lessons?

If your only answer is “because I want to improve,” you probably need to get a little more focused in order to get the most out of your lessons.

Obviously, the essential point of music lessons is to help you...

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All Thumbs? 4 Quick Thumb Fixes for Harpists

May 04, 2015

Do you feel like you’re all thumbs?

Thumbs can just plain get in the way. Sometimes our thumbs make us feel clumsy and slow when we play. They get tense; they don’t place accurately. Thumbs can be hard to control, and it can be even harder to make them sound beautiful and musical.

But with a little understanding and a little attention, your thumbs can be as nimble and expressive as...

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Practicing Past the Dots

Apr 27, 2015

Are you practicing the big picture, or do you get stuck in “the dots?”

Music is an art, a joint creation by composer and performer, designed to communicate to a listener. As a performing medium, music is also an art “of the moment.” When we hear live music, we hear something that will never exist again. That note is over, that crescendo is gone, that sublimely beautiful...

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Power Your Dynamics with the Three C’s

Apr 13, 2015

We musicians hear the word “dynamics” and automatically think soft, loud or in-between. But the root of the word dynamic means power, and that’s what our dynamics should be bringing to our music: expression with the power to move a listener.

Musical dynamics bring the same energy to a piece of music that an engine brings to a car or motorcycle.At times we might choose dynamics...

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10 Ways to Not Get Bored with Your Recital Piece

Apr 06, 2015

You are a good student. You practice regularly; you don’t try to cram at the last minute for your recital. So you are prepared in good time, and now you have the oddly  task of keeping your repertoire fresh until the recital.

The paradox is that the more prepared ahead of time you are, the more comfortable and confident your performance will be UNLESS you get so bored with your music...

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7 Reasons You Need to Learn to Love Your Metronome

Mar 30, 2015

Whether you love it or hate it, the metronome is an essential tool for every musician. That’s right – I said “essential,” as in, MUST have one and MUST use it.

If you’re a metronome fan, you already know the benefits of working with the metronome. If you’re one of those who would rather visit the dentist than try to play with the click, read on to find out...

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5 Shortcuts to Learning a New Piece

Mar 23, 2015

That moment of excitement, the crisp, unsullied page of music full of promise. It’s a brand new adventure – the starting of a new piece. When I was a young student, it was the moment I loved most. My teacher would put that new music book on the stand, and I could hardly wait until I was at home and could begin to learn it. I was always an eager, if not always a careful, student. I...

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