Pre-Holiday Performance Checklist

Oct 04, 2013

It’s still nearly a month until Halloween, but it’s not too soon to begin planning for your holiday performances. In fact, now is the time, before the craziness of the holiday season closes in, to get everything in order so that you can actually enjoy the holidays this year.

1. Check your calendar. Make sure all your dates are written in correctly in your calendar now. Don’t...

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Does Your Audience Like You?

Oct 02, 2013

              

 

 

 

 

     
 ©iStockphoto.com/Thinglass

“But how do you make an audience like you?”

I really thought I had heard wrong. I was at a meeting of experienced chamber musicians who had just been awarded very generous grants. My flutist partner Joan Sparks and I were among the grant...

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The Seven Habits of Highly Satisfied Harpists

Sep 30, 2013

With my apologies to Stephen Covey, I offer here seven habits that you need to develop to truly achieve the satisfaction you are seeking in your harp playing.

1. Tune every day. Why is this important? Your harp needs it to stay in shape, the same way you need to brush your teeth every day to stay healthy. And if you tune every day, you will be at your harp and hopefully inspired to practice....

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Fourth finger giving you problems? Five quick tips…

Sep 27, 2013

Often a harpist’s fourth finger is a matter for concern. Or rather, it isn’t a matter for concern until all of a sudden we need to use it.

It’s easy to get by using only three fingers a lot of the time. Even intermediate repertoire doesn’t call for much fourth finger work, and in my experience, students tend to avoid using it.

It isn’t that we don’t train the...

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Three Lessons from 32 Metronomes

Sep 25, 2013

This metronome video came my way on Facebook recently. If you haven’t seen it, it is amazing and beautiful, not usually words I apply to metronomes. And as I watched the video a second time, I was struck by some powerful principles it illustrated, truths for all musicians and all non-musicians too.

Here is the link to whole page; it’s worth reading!

1. Flexibility allows for...

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The Three Necessary Stages: Stage Two: Conscious Memorization

Sep 23, 2013

        © Yong Hian Lim – Fotolia.com

In a previous post I wrote about rote memorization, the repetitive process that can be summed up in the words “strong” and “long.” If you are “strong” in your repetition, meaning you repeat something correctly every time in practice, the chances that you will repeat it correctly on demand...

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Top 10 Reasons Every Musician Should Practice Bach

Sep 20, 2013

I would find it difficult to pick one composer to call my favorite. I love the way Mozart’s music glistens and the intensity of Tchaikovsky. I can get lost in the emotion of Ravel and revel in the clarity of John Field. But on most days, if I had to pick just one, I would pick Johann Sebastian Bach.

I never tire of listening to his music, to the mind-bending complexity of a fugue or the...

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Why Your Practice May Be Holding You Back

Sep 18, 2013

Here’s a radical thought – don’t practice so well.But wait! Isn’t careful practice what I am supposed to do, so I can play well, with a solid technique and mostly all the right notes?

The answer is of course, unless that’s the ONLY way you practice. Careful practice can be a trap. If our only focus is trying to play correctly, we will never learn to play much.

An...

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Taking Music Lessons? The Three Questions You MUST Ask Your Teacher

Sep 16, 2013
Lessons are not given, they are taken.
Cesare Pavese, Italian author and poet (1908-1950)
                                                    © polydsign – Fotolia.com

First, the facts.

1. Music lessons are foundational. Your teacher will...

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Nervous? 3 ways to stop focusing on performing and start playing

Sep 13, 2013

 Being nervous is a terrible feeling. It can be physically debilitating, with symptoms from cold, clammy hands to nausea and beyond. But by far, the worst damage that nervousness causes is the psychological. We worry about how our nervousness will sabotage our well-prepared and carefully practiced performance. And in the extreme, it can prevent us from performing at all.

When I was a...

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