Why Do You Play the Harp?

Mar 09, 2015

Why do you play the harp (or whatever instrument it is that you play) ?

How long has it been since you thought about that, since you really reconnected with your musical “why?” We tend to be so involved with the “what” of practice and performing that we lose track of our “why” and without that, it is easy to lose our way.

I really don’t remember not...

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The Way You Do the Thing You Do: Mechanics, Technique and Method

Mar 02, 2015

Have you ever thought about how you play music, about how you do what you do?

 It’s not just about style. The way you play, what you actually do to make the music happen has much more significance than just style.

And it’s not magic either, not pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Musicians work and practice hard to be able to produce flowing melodies, rippling scales and arpeggios,...

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Do You Do Positive Practice?

Feb 24, 2015

Positive Practice is something I work on for myself and for my students. I define it as practice that is focused, time-efficient and goal-oriented. Even my younger students are able to practice in a way that is more interesting than mere repetition and yields faster results.

This is the story behind my Positive Practice system: When I was in college, I had hours to practice. Practicing was how...

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Revolutionize Your Practice by Learning from the Inside Out

Feb 16, 2015

When you think about it, “inside out” starts in the most important part, the center.

Consider the maze in this picture. Those twisty paths full of dead ends confuse you on your way to the center. But if you were able to start from the center, it would be relatively simple and much faster to find your way out.

When we practice, we envision the final performance or finished piece as...

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How to be the World’s Worst Music Student

Feb 09, 2015

Many music teachers have rules for their teaching studio. Some publish their rules as a list of do’s and don’ts; others as a contract between teacher and student. The rules usually reflect the teacher’s expectations for practice and behavior in the lessons, commitments to performances, etc.

And the rules are usually designed to support the happiness of both teacher and...

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Are You Facing a Moment of Truth?

Feb 02, 2015

Have you ever questioned whether you can ever play music the way you want?

It’s a moment of truth: when your desire to play music butts heads with your current level of accomplishment. It is that moment when the pleasure you found or hoped to find in making music is all but gone, replaced by frustration and disappointment. It is the time when you are forced to consider making a...

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You CAN Improve Your Sightreading

Jan 26, 2015

For some musicians, sightreading remains the last great mystery. They can practice; they can perform. But the idea of sightreading still makes them break out in a cold sweat.

There are limited occasions in life when you actually must sightread. It is often required at auditions for colleges, sometimes at competitions and music exams, always for orchestra position.

But even if you aren’t...

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Essential Chord Techniques

Jan 19, 2015

What's in a chord? Or more to the point, how do I play this chord and make it sound the way it should?

The harp was made to play beautiful chords, and yet they are a source of frustration for many harpists.

In this post I describe the four essential ways in which we encounter chords and what you need to do to make your chords the best they can be.

Be sure to get the one page PDF Chord...

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Is There a "Perfect" Practice Routine?

Jan 12, 2015

I love organizing things. I remember as a teenager using the wee hours of the morning to organize my dresser drawers. My mother didn’t approve of my being awake so late, but she loved opening my closet. (Not so much my brother’s…)

I love organizing my practice too. I like experimenting with different etudes, exercises and warm-up routines, new practice schedules and...

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The Year of the Snowball

Dec 29, 2014

One of the things I love about living in the mountains is our annual snowfall. Each year, I can count on having significant snow on the ground by December, a guaranteed white Christmas. Granted, I’m tired of the snow long before our spring arrives, but for most of the winter, I find peace and energy in our wintry woods.

This year, however, our November snow disappeared, and we have...

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