Are You Practicing Scales the Wrong Way?

Jun 29, 2020

In the previous blog post, I revealed how fluent scales are a critical factor in playing with more technical security, more musical flow and learning with more ease and confidence. Today I show you the four factors your scale practice must include to produce the results you want.

 

One of my favorite musicals is “The Music Man.” I love the setting, the characters and the...

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Flux-ibility: Staying Focused Through the Next Wave

Jun 15, 2020

The harpist and composer Carlos Salzedo strove to be an agent of change in the harp world. His aim was to bring the harp into the modern musical world of the early twentieth century, and he created new methods and new sound effects designed to revolutionize the traditional conception of the instrument. Some of his innovations have found a permanent place in harp pedagogy; others have been...

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Stuck in Practice Quicksand? Get Free with the Sight Reading Mindset

Jun 08, 2020

Lately I have been noticing a strange phenomenon. I have had several conversations with harpists who have been practicing diligently, only to find that their music seems to be getting worse instead of better. The more they try to fix the problem spots, the more problem spots crop up and before long, they can’t play the piece at all. They feel like their practicing is in reverse gear. Talk...

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5 Fingering Do’s and Don'ts

May 18, 2020

“To change the fingering or not to change it; that is the question.”

If Hamlet had been a harpist, his famous speech might have started with those words.

We harpists often struggle with the fingering markings printed in our music. Sometimes the fingering choices of the composer or arranger feel clumsy and awkward; at others they threaten to tie our fingers in knots. Often instilling...

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Finding the Finish Line: When Is Your Music Done?

May 04, 2020

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

This famous philosophical poser can be a starting point for a fun debate. Is it a physical science question or a metaphysical one or both? However you consider it, there is an element of mystery that can spark your imagination.

Here is another question that is similarly difficult to answer: If a piece of music...

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3 Right (and 3 Even Better) Reasons to Make a Plan

Apr 20, 2020

What is a plan? It’s a set of instructions for doing something you want to do. It is the single most important ingredient in your success in accomplishing your task. Don’t believe me? Just try putting a piece of IKEA furniture together without following the instructions.

Sure, you can always wing it. But you’ll be risking the failure of your entire project. 

When it comes...

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Why Keep Practicing? A Long Term Strategy

Mar 30, 2020

First there was the shock. What is happening? What am I supposed to do about it? How can I keep myself and my loved ones safe?

Then there was the feeling of a “snow day,” that surprise gift of a day when the snow has made travel impossible. Schools and offices are closed, and you’re stuck in the house. Once you sort out the cancellations and make that first cup of hot...

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Yes You Can! 12 Things to Do When You Can’t Practice

Mar 16, 2020

You just can’t do it.

It’s 9 PM and you’re finally finished with a non-stop day. You can’t even remember what you did today, but you know this is the first chance you’ve had to sit down and catch your breath. You know you should be practicing. But you just can’t do it.

They happen to all of us, even the most dedicated harpists, those days when you just...

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Repeat Ad Nauseam: Why You Aren't Finishing Your Pieces

Feb 10, 2020

When was the last time you felt like you really finished a piece of music you were learning?

 

Look at the music on your stand right now. I’m guessing that somewhere in that stack is a piece of music that you've been playing for longer than you care to think about. It’s a piece you love and really want to play. You started it in a burst of energy and worked through challenge...

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The Most Important Piece You Aren’t Practicing

Jan 20, 2020

This is the third in a series of posts focused on how to set - and achieve - goals. Be sure to check out the prior posts, Why Being a Better Harpist Isn't Good Enough, Three Disciplines of a Trustworthy Technique and read on to the end of this post for a special invitation. 

There is a pivotal discovery that every musician makes sooner or later: making music isn’t just about...

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