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One Book, 10 Ways to Become a Better Musician

Aug 31, 2020

“What about this chord?” he asked. He was so eager to learn, so excited by the possibilities, that the excitement was visible in his face. I was almost as excited. It wasn’t very often that a student brought that level of energy to theory class. This was a question worthy of a thoughtful answer.

Actually, he and I had this discussion many times, especially in his first year of...

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Why You Need to Stop Following the Fingering

Aug 24, 2020

“Hurry up! You’ve taken enough pictures. They’re already in the next room!”

 

I heard this refrain constantly on one European trip. Actually, I didn’t hear it; I said it. My husband is always the one lagging behind the tour group to capture an interesting photo. In those moments, I’m always afraid we’ll miss what the tour guide is telling us, but...

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Creating Perspective: Giving Your Music Depth

Aug 17, 2020

It’s a pleasure to listen to music that is well-played. Of course, some performances go beyond being well-played. They are often described as moving, emotionally affecting or profound. Thee performers speak through the notes in a way that communicates with the soul. They give the music dimension and depth.

 

Is the ability to create this kind of musical depth a special gift possessed...

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Practicing Differently: 4 Steps to Faster Learning

Aug 10, 2020

“Think different.” - Apple advertising slogan

We’re becoming accustomed to change. That doesn’t mean that change is any easier to live with. It is simply a condition of the times. 

Because we are bombarded by change, we cling more tenaciously to the few constants in our daily lives, particularly in our music, even when they may be detrimental to our sense of...

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Making Connections: I Vow to Thee My Country

Aug 03, 2020

The tune to the song “I Vow to Thee My Country” is a favorite of harpists everywhere, thanks in part to skillful arrangements by artists like Kim Robertson and Rhett Barnwell. The melody is one of the themes from “Jupiter,” a movement of Gustav Holst’s iconic symphonic suite, The Planets. As is often the case, the back story is nearly as compelling as the...

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Find Your Focus: Six Week Success Plan

Jul 27, 2020

I always have looked forward to summer as a more relaxed time. It’s a season when I can pause, slow down the pace of my work without guilt, knowing that I am refreshing myself so I can start the autumn with renewed energy and enthusiasm. 

This summer, however, is completely different.

We’ve all had too much time on our hands: time to work and time to worry, time that hangs...

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All Opposed! Training Your Thumb to Play Well With Others

Jul 20, 2020

The fingers must be educated, the thumb is born knowing. Marc Chagall

 

In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God's existence. Isaac Newton

 

Naturally, as a human, I am grateful for my opposable thumbs. But as a harpist, I often wonder why my thumbs often seem to do the opposite of what I want.

 

When I want a seamless scale, my thumb fumbles...

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What To Do When The Applause Is Gone

Jul 13, 2020

You try to cover all the bases. You practice your technical drills, review your repertoire regularly, strengthen your musicianship; you’re doing all the right things. But it still may feel like there’s something missing. Possibly you don’t feel accomplished, or you don’t see your progress.

If you’re doing all those “right things” and practicing...

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Beyond Fear: Daily Acts of Harp Courage

Jul 06, 2020

I know many courageous harpists. They aren't necessarily the ones featured on the magazine covers or the YouTube performers with the most likes. They haven’t overcome catastrophic physical disabilities or circumstances. They are simply harpists, people like you and me who have chosen a path that challenges themselves and inspires others. 

Most of them wouldn't consider themselves...

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Are You Practicing Scales the Wrong Way?

Jun 29, 2020

In the previous blog post, I revealed how fluent scales are a critical factor in playing with more technical security, more musical flow and learning with more ease and confidence. Today I show you the four factors your scale practice must include to produce the results you want.

 

One of my favorite musicals is “The Music Man.” I love the setting, the characters and the...

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