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Where Creativity Finds Direction: the Teacher-Student Partnership

Aug 10, 2015

Sometimes tension is a good thing.

Tension happens at the place where two opposite forces or desires meet. At that place or in that moment, the forces are equal. The tension is resolved either when one of the forces prevails over the other, or the forces work together.

Picture the surface of a pool of water, calm and undisturbed. A leaf floats down to the water and the surface tension of the...

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Forget the Fingering!

Aug 03, 2015

What?! Forget the fingering?!

 We harpists need our fingering so that we can play smoothly and musically, and so our practice will be efficient. Those fingering marks are essential for us, right? Not really, or at least, not as much as you think.

Consider this paint by number illustration. Those numbers in the picture show us which color to put where. When we follow the numbers, we can see...

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Is There Life After Music School? Part 2

Jul 27, 2015

In the last post, I presented the first part of my seven step checklist for those of you who are “Waiting to Hit It Big.” That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re waiting to be discovered by Hollywood music producers. This is for any musician who is someplace between the graduation parties and a paycheck. You may be ready to start your music career, whatever that looks like...

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Is There Life After Music School?

Jul 20, 2015

Congratulations, graduate! You are now a real musician, with the degree to prove it, and you’re ready to set the world on fire!

But what will your life be like after music school? And how will you keep from ending up living in your parents’ basement?

You have plenty of talent, education and dreams, but no job in sight. Maybe you’re waiting for your big break into the music...

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Unrealistic Expectations

Jul 13, 2015

It’s not the first time I’ve done this, and it probably won’t be the last, but it caught me by surprise again.

I have been slacking off lately when it comes to exercising. I’m too busy or my day is too hectic or I can’t get up early enough. And the exercise strategy I’ve been using for years just wasn’t motivating me to get up and get it done.

But...

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7 Reasons You’re Not Practicing Note Reading

Jul 06, 2015

Note reading is one of the basic skills that we musicians all seek to develop. It helps us learn more music faster and helps us sightread. The problem is that for many of us, we quit developing it after our first year of music lessons.

Do you remember when you first started music lessons? Your teacher gave you special books with big notes that helped you learn the names of the lines and the...

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What Does It Mean to Be a Harpist?

Jun 29, 2015

What do you think it means to be a harpist?

I usually don’t ask myself that question; probably you don’t think much about it either. Mostly, I just know I am a harpist. I’ve been one nearly all my life.

But every now and then I have felt the need to examine it. What do I do as a harpist, and why? What is my purpose? What keeps drawing me back to the harp, even when things are...

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The Feet First Guide to Better Communication

Jun 22, 2015

No, this post is not about how to improve your pedalling. It’s about the brisk walk I took last week that reminded me of the importance of good communication, not just in our music making, but in everything we do.

I had been asked to perform for a corporate event. It was a fairly last minute booking, and some of the important details weren’t finalized until three days before the...

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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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