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Why Are You REALLY Playing Music? My Three Word Way to Reconnect

Jul 08, 2019

Do you know why you’re playing music, why you have chosen to make music an important part of your life?

Perhaps, like me, you’ve always felt the call to make music.

According to my mother, who wasn’t prone to making up these kinds of stories, I heard the harp on the radio when I was two years old. I asked her what it was and said that I wanted to play it. I started piano...

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Teach Your Fingers to Do Your Bidding

Jul 01, 2019

Harpists, do you ever feel like your technique practice is getting you nowhere?

You put in the time with your exercises and etudes, but your fingers still seem to have minds of their own. They falter, fumble, and flail. You can’t seem to get them moving faster than adagio, and when you do, you can’t rely on them to do what you want. It’s exasperating.

So you go on the hunt for...

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Finding the Meaning in Music: Quick Ideas to Build Musicianship

Jun 24, 2019

What is this supposed to be?

The jigsaw puzzle pieces were spread on the table and I had just completed the first critical phase in any jigsaw puzzle assembly, putting all the edge pieces together. My question arose from a discovery I had made along the way: the puzzle I was assembling was definitely not the one pictured on the box. The box had a beautiful view of Neuschwanstein, the famous...

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A Father’s Day Tribute to My Harp Dad

Jun 17, 2019

Yesterday was Father’s Day. According to Hallmark, it is the fourth largest greeting card holiday, right behind Mother’s Day, with approximately 72 million cards exchanged. As I was writing a message on the card to send to my dad this year (he is 92 years old), I reflected on the unconditional support my dad gave me, not just as my dad, but especially as a “harp dad.”

...

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Three Things Your Metronome Can’t Do For You

Jun 10, 2019

A metronome is a must-have accessory for every musician. It can help you speed up your music or slow it down. It can help you fix your technique or line up a complicated rhythm. It can help you prepare to play in an ensemble or train your inner pulse so your solo music has a steady flow.

But just having the metronome on while you practice won’t necessarily help you attain any of these...

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Healthy Practice for Harpists: Nourish Your Body, Mind and Music

Jun 03, 2019

I've written a lot about effective practice and efficient practice, creative practice and deliberate practice. I believe that practice, the right kind of practice, is the number one contributor to every harpist’s success. Harpists who practice correctly and consistently are able to play the music they want to play.

Today, however, I'm going to look at practice in a different way. I'd...

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Being a Living Memorial: Finding Your Roots

May 27, 2019

Today in the U.S. we are celebrating Memorial Day.a national holiday to honor the men and women who died serving in the country’s armed forces. Despite the day’s unofficial significance as the beginning of summertime, the holiday celebrations always include solemn ceremonies and commemorations.

When I was a child, the Memorial Day solemnity weighed heavily on me. The sense of loss...

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Unlearning Music: How Your Old Habits Are Holding You Back

May 20, 2019

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” - from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians

This very familiar quote from the New Testament speaks to the universal experience of growth and reaching maturity in one’s thoughts and actions.  Have you thought...

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Finish That Piece! 3 Myths about the Messy Middle

May 13, 2019

What is the “messy middle?”

In any project, the messy middle is the sometimes, boring, sometimes frustrating stage between the excitement of the beginning and the vindication of the completion of the project.

In your music learning, it’s the repetitive, too often mindless practice stage after the initial learning of the notes but before you feel like you can truly play the...

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Never Perform Again? How To Succeed After An Epic Fail

May 06, 2019

It looks so easy when other people do it. It’s not complicated; you practice a piece until it’s ready. Then you play it.

We all know it isn’t really that simple. There are difficult passages and techniques to conquer. You have to earn to play it fast enough or slow enough or steady enough. You need to express the dynamics and the musical flow. And you have to deal with...

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