Harp Mastery Notes and Quotes

Jun 05, 2013
This is an “odds and ends” sort of post with some important news, some blog post updates and a couple of quotes to motivate you.
Practice, which some regard as a chore, should be approached as just about the most pleasant recreation ever devised.
– Babe Didrikson Zaharias, American athlete (1911-1956)

Post Update: Lawrence had a great addition to the Schubert Ave Maria blog...

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Develop Your Glissando Color Palette

May 31, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

     © Brian Santa Maria iStockphoto

Not long ago, I played a contemporary cantata at a church. The piece had an uncomplicated harp part, and I settled myself comfortably for an easy rehearsal. My first entrance was a simple glissando upsweep, and as I played it, I got the little electric thrill I always get when I play a glissando....

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Schubert’s Ave Maria – the Real Story

May 28, 2013

It’s wedding season again, and time to dust off all the tried and true ceremony music, from the Pachelbel Canon in D to the Mendelssohn Wedding March. And surely at least once this season, there will be the beloved Schubert Ave Maria.

I have always considered this an interesting wedding selection. Without question the music is sublime, and it makes a lovely setting for the medieval Latin...

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My 500 Word Commencement Address

May 24, 2013
This post was inspired by Kim Rowe’s May 18 blog post on the Harp Column website.
No, I was NOT asked to give a commencement address to music school graduates. But if I were asked, this is what I would say in 500 words:

Dear New Music Graduates, Congratulations! You are about to embark on the exciting adventure known as a career in music. Don’t listen to those who tell you that the...

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5 Steps to Building Your Repertoire

May 19, 2013

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had some music you could just sit down and play?

Like most young music students, I learned to hate when my parents had visitors. The reason? I knew I would be asked to play for them. I used to protest that my pieces weren’t ready. My parents countered with, “What about that piece you learned last month?” Unfortunately, I’d already...

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Interesting Stopping Points

May 17, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

A painting is never finished – it simply stops in interesting places. – Paul Gardner, arts writer

I heard this quoted at a university commencement ceremony this week. The speaker was making the usual point about the ceremony marking the beginning of a new life phase, not merely the end of school. Absolutely true.

But how many times...

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The Big Secret about Ear Training

May 15, 2013

Ear training is a subject that makes people either shrug their shoulders or shudder. The many different approaches breed confusion and the methods inspire fear.

I should know. I taught ear training at the Curtis Institute for 19 years. I was the mean solfège harpy that made Catholic school nuns look like Mary Poppins. Ok, not really.

But ear training is no student’s favorite...

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3 Cool Metronome Techniques

May 13, 2013

The metronome is an essential tool for any musician. It can help you build your rhythmic confidence and keep a steady beat. You can use it to check your subdivisions or to solve a problem. I never practice without one handy.

Here are three ways you might not have thought of to use your metronome:

1. Click on the offbeats. We are used to hearing our metronome click on the beginning of every...

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20 Places to Share Your Music – and Make Money

May 10, 2013

Are you inspired to take your music to the masses? Or at least find a place to play? Here are twenty . These are not venues that will hire you. They are places where you can play just by asking permission. You will gain experience, build a fan base, get exposure. Some places may pay you. Other places may let you play for tips.

So grab a tip jar, some business cards and your best smile, and go...

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Work on Your Technique – a Four-Part Practice Strategy

May 08, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

         Technique practice

We all want to work on technique, so we play a few scales, do a few exercises, learn some etudes. Often we take a rather haphazard approach. Is there a better plan?

Like any other part of your music study, your technical work should be focused and goal-driven. You should know what you want to accomplish,...

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