Tips for Painless Performing

Mar 14, 2014

There’s really only one secret to performing. Do it a lot. You get better at it. That being said, there are skills you can actually develop that will make it easier.

Too often, students are thrown into difficult performance situations without really being prepared for them. If things go well, everyone’s happy. If things go badly, the damage can be difficult to repair. I think...

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Do You Practice Your Why?

Mar 10, 2014

“Why?” is the biggest question in the world. It’s annoying when a toddler asks it incessantly. “Why?” is your frustration when your computer chooses the worst possible moment to crash. And it’s the question that almost never has an answer.

“Why” is also a popular question. Simon Sinek’s book “Start With Why” presents the bold...

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Why Études are Important

Mar 07, 2014

"And your étude for this week…”

Etudes When I was a young student, hearing my teacher say those words made my heart sink. An étude meant boring. dull and possibly difficult work that seemed unrelated to the music I wanted to play. As a piano student, I hated the Hanon book. And as a young harpist, I loathed the LaRiviere.

Piano technique is no longer something I...

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5 Qualities of Successful Freelance Musicians, or How to Love Your Work

Mar 03, 2014

We often talk about what freelance musicians need to DO: make phone calls, send out contracts, talk to clients or potential employers, keep a music stand in the car. But the long list of tasks seems less daunting when you distill it and realize that there are habits and attitudes that you need to develop to be successful in the freelance market. It doesn’t matter whether you’re...

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Insights from the Kaleidoscope Challenge

Feb 28, 2014

© Zdenek Precechtel – Fotolia.com

Recently, a group of dedicated harpists and I finished the “Kaleidoscope Challenge.” “Kaleidoscope Challenge.” This online challenge was 4 weeks of practice techniques and FaceBook camaraderie designed to make our daily practice more efficient, focused and effective. The techniques were part of the “practice...

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What is Musicality?

Feb 21, 2014

What is musicality? Is it something you are born with, or something you can develop? And if you can develop it, how do you go about doing that?

Merriam-Webster defines musicality as “sensitivity to, knowledge of, or talent for music.” That’s great as far as it goes, but it’s hardly the sort of definition a practicing musician would find helpful.

There’s no question...

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Creating Practice Space – Do You Know What You Need?

Feb 17, 2014

Do you have practice space?

Not just a space where you can practice, but space in your life for practice. Creating space for your practice is perhaps the most important thing you can do if you want to make progress with your music.

“I just can’t practice right now.” Maybe you have said that from time to time; I know I have. There are days that are too hectic and times when I...

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How You SHOULD be Using Your Metronome!

Feb 03, 2014

The metronome. I can see my students repress a shudder each time I reach for it in their lessons. I remember that feeling, the feeling that you have to keep up with that infernal clicking , but you can’t keep up and why can’t you just turn it off and play the piece?

In contrast, I can’t recall the exact moment that my relationship with the metronome changed. At some point, I...

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Three Musical Lessons I Learned from my Computer Crash

Jan 31, 2014

Musical lessons from a computer crash? Absolutely! Read on…

My laptop’s hard drive died this week. The data on the drive is unrecoverable. This is an incredible inconvenience, and one that many people face everyday. As we entrust more of our lives, our work and our memories to these technological marvels, we discover how dependent we become on them. And in those first few hours...

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No Teacup Pinkies!

Jan 29, 2014

We all know that the harp is a four-finger instrument. Our pinkies are just too short to be useful, no matter how much we might long for just one more finger to help us out.

This leaves us with the problem of what to do with those diminutive digits. The proper thing to do with your pinkies is to let them follow your fourth finger like a shadow. Those two fingers should move in tandem, opening...

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