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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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May 2013

May 06, 2013
In this issue:
Breaking News
Q and A with Anne Sullivan
Summer performances
Harp in the Mountains Festival I nsider Focus for May
Subscribe to the HarpMastery blog
Breaking News… Watch for the May/June issue of Harp Column Magazine, with part one of a two-part series dedicated to tuning, written by Anne...
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An Open Letter to My Other Students

May 06, 2013

In a previous post, I wrote about what graduating music students need to be prepared for the road ahead. This post is dedicated to my other students, graduating college seniors who are not making music their careers.

Dear Students,

What a pleasure it has been to get to know you, and what a privilege to be a part of your time with the harp. You came to me with different harp backgrounds and...

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