Move That Mountain – Do One Thing

Oct 10, 2012

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Sometimes we have a task before us that seems to much to tackle. All we see is a big mountain of work and we don’t know where to start. The secret to creating momentum and getting the job done is simple and only one step – you just need to do one thing.

The inspiration for this came from a blog post by author and thought leader Seth...

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No Time for Music Theory in a Lesson? Try Telescope Teaching!

Oct 05, 2012

 

When I was a student, I used to think a one-hour lesson was long. When I started teaching, though, I realized that there was much more work to be done than would fit in sixty minutes.  Often I spent lesson time helping the student practice when I wanted to help them learn larger musical concepts.  There is so much more to teach  besides just  notes. That’s why I...
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The Five-minute “Anti-Stress” Daily Technique Boost

Oct 03, 2012

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It sounds delightful, boosting your technique in just five minutes with no stress. When you think of any of the famous exercise or etude books that you may have studied, one image probably comes to mind: a dark page full of ink representing a lot of notes, notes in finger-bending combinations to be performed at lightning speed. And though I know that...

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Harpist DOs and DON’Ts

Oct 01, 2012

You’ve heard the expression “I don’t do…whatever.” Well, harpists have their own special do’s and don’ts, things we can or can’t do because we play the harp. We have peculiar ways of looking at the world and music. Here are a couple of examples:

We DO ramps. We DON’T do spiral staircases.

We DO Tchaikovsky. We DON’T do Beethoven. (If...

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Waltz of the Flowers Cadenza–Jumpstart Your Practice

Sep 28, 2012

This is a re-post of a podcast interview I did last year with Mindy Cutcher, principal harpist of the Pennsylvania Ballet. Mindy speaks about playing for the ballet and specifically the famous “Waltz of the Flowers” cadenza in The Nutcracker. She shares her thoughts and tips on learning and performing the cadenza, as well as some great anecdotes from the pit.

You can listen to the...

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Can You Be a Successful Working Musician?

Sep 24, 2012

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Some people might tell you that a "successful working musician" is a mythical being. But those of us who are successful working musicians know that it is possible with hard work and determination. Those jobs, whether they are wedding gigs or an orchestra chair, don't just fall into your lap. You have to pursue them with a focused strategy.It takes some...

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House Concerts, or Harp Without Borders

Sep 21, 2012

At a house concert in Tennessee

While you may not have thought of it this way, we all start out playing house concerts. It's that first holiday after you have started taking lessons when your mother asks you to play for your relatives. If you continue your music studies, you may play for women’s club luncheons, made infamous by the musician/comedienne Anna Russell. You may play for local...

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Learning and Teaching Key Signatures: Step 2

Sep 19, 2012

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In Step 1, you learned the essential pattern for key signatures – movement by perfect fifth. And you are now able to recite the major and minor key signatures in order, as well as the sharps and flats that form key signatures.

If all you wanted to do was to memorize the key signatures, you wouldn’t need to do more. In fact that’s where most...

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Play Through a Mental Block

Sep 17, 2012

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In a recent post, I discussed how to practice when you couldn’t concentrate. I offered some techniques for overcoming the mental block that may be keeping you from focusing on your work. Today I wanted to share with you an experience I had that demonstrated how powerful a mental block could be, and showed me the best tool we have for overcoming it.

I used to study...

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Organize Your Sheet Music – What’s Your System?

Sep 14, 2012

“One of these days, I’m going to organize my music!” I have heard that threat many times from students and colleagues, and sometimes myself. Nothing is more frustrating than to be in a hurry to leave the house and be searching frantically for that one piece you thought was right in that stack under the table.

Everyone has their own preferred system to organize their music, but...

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