Are Your Fingers Failing You? 10 Quick Fixes

Sep 30, 2019

When was the last time you said this: “If it weren't for those 2 measures in the middle, this piece would be no problem for me?” 

We've all been frustrated by those spots where our fingers always seem to miss the strings or fumble or trip over each other. And it seems that no matter how much we drill them, they still feel unreliable or shaky. 

It's a fact that some...

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Are You Living Your Harp Dream or Just Thinking You Are?

Sep 23, 2019

On a recent My Harp Mastery call we were talking about being relaxed while you play, when one of our members asked this question: “What about my face? It always looks grim when I play?”

That grim look is probably the face of concentration and intense focus. It’s natural, even if it’s not attractive. Forcing another expression, like trying to smile, can actually...

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Don’t Practice Your Orchestra Part – Prepare It!

Sep 16, 2019

It was one of those flashback moments.

I was helping a student prepare for her first orchestra experience and suddenly, I was twelve years old, in my teacher’s studio, hearing her tell me some of the very same things.

My teacher was Marilyn Costello, principal harpist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, so obviously she was an expert at orchestral playing. Despite the thorough preparation she...

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The Easy Way to Choose an Arrangement

Sep 09, 2019

“Can you recommend a good arrangement of XYZ piece?”

This is often a difficult question to answer. What makes an arrangement “good” for me, may be the exact opposite of what makes it “good” for you. I may like lots of notes; you would prefer a simpler texture. I may like unusual harmonies; you want something that sounds like you expect. I want chords; you...

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The Musician’s #1 Labor-Saving Strategy

Sep 02, 2019

We have been taught that hard work is the key to success. As James Cash (J. C.) Penney quipped, “I do not believe in excuses. I believe in hard work as the prime solvent of life's problems.”

As musicians, we understand the value of hard work, of putting in the practice time. When we encounter passages that confound our technique, we “take it to the woodshed” to put in...

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Practice Friend or Practice Enemy: The Great Cell Phone Debate

Aug 26, 2019

It’s gone beyond a fad.

In 2015, Fortune magazine reported that 54% of e-book buyers were reading them on their smart phones. In 2017, Fortune reported on a newer survey that showed that 85% of adults were reading their news on a mobile device. And smartphone ownership and usage continues to rise. In fact, the chances are good that you’re reading this on a smartphone or mobile...

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How to Audition a Teacher: 3 Critical Questions

Aug 19, 2019

How do you “audition” a new harp teacher?

Maybe you’ve moved to a new city, or perhaps your teacher relocated. Maybe you’re new to the harp, or you’ve been playing a while but it’s time to get back to lessons. Whatever your reason for looking for a new teacher, you can feel a little confused about how to make the best choice.

While no one can offer you a...

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12 Great Arpeggio Pieces – That Aren’t “The Little Fountain”

Aug 12, 2019

“The Little Fountain... again?”

Perhaps that question has gone through your mind at a student recital as yet another proud harpist steps up to show off his or her arpeggios with this perennial favorite. And it is a favorite, but it’s not the only arpeggio-rich piece in our harp repertoire.

So in case you feel like a change in your arpeggio music, I offer 12 possibilities that...

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The Ripple Effect: 7 Keys to Better Arpeggios

Aug 05, 2019

“Throw a stone into the stream and the ripples that propagate themselves are the beautiful type of all influence.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

The ripple effect is generally understood to mean the expanding impact of a single action, for instance the increase in good feeling from a single good deed.

In harp playing, we seek a different, but no less impactful, type of ripple...

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10 Musical Adventures To Enjoy Before Summer Ends – And They’re Free!

Jul 29, 2019

Let’s talk summer vacation for your music! No, not taking a break, exactly. I’d like to invite you to put some of that adventurous vacation spirit into your music-making this coming month.

I want you to take some time to stretch yourself, without worrying about extra practice or wrong notes or fixing your technique. I want you to find new ways to explore and enjoy making music. And...

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