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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

© Andrey Ushakov

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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How to Practice When You Don’t Want To

Sep 12, 2012

We all have times when we don’t want to practice. We wish we wanted to practice, but for whatever reason, we seem to have lost our self-discipline. Maybe the house is too messy, the piece is too hard, we are worried about something else, the weather is too nice, the weather is too rotten, we didn’t get enough sleep, or we have too much homework.But the practice must be done.

©...

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Learning and Teaching Key Signatures: Step 1

Sep 10, 2012

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Many music students hate learning key signatures. It can seem too much like “homework,” and too little like playing music. As a teacher, my job is to make sure that students learn key signatures thoroughly; it’s both necessary and important. (For the “WHY” of key signatures, see this previous blog post.) When students have mastered...

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Don’t practice for perfection!

Sep 05, 2012

 

© Ingor Normann – Fotolia.com

If you are practicing for perfection, working to make a piece or an excerpt note-perfect, you may not be using your time wisely and you may be missing out on the real benefits of good practice. You may be frustrated, and even setting yourself up for failure.

A music student was telling me about his practice. He was discouraged; the things he...

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Harping on Pinterest

Aug 31, 2012

I’m new to Pinterest.

It usually takes me awhile to figure out new social media sites, but Pinterest intrigues me. I love to learn about people, places and ideas. I could wade through web pages for hours looking for an elusive bit of information or possibly just exploring, looking for a serendipitous discovery.

And Pinterest is the perfect “bulletin board” for organizing...

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Why not pretend to be organized?

Aug 29, 2012

© Gabriel Blaj – Fotolia.com

I pretend to be organized, and I think you should too.

If you’re one of the few truly organized people, this post is not for you.

But if you’re like me, you want to be organized, but it’s a constant struggle. With concerts, students, family and just daily life moving so fast, there’s no time left for organizing. At the same...

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