Never Have a Bad Lesson Again!

Sep 07, 2020

I’m going to make a bold assertion. You should never have a bad lesson.

Before you start feeling pressured to dash to the harp for some frantic last-minute practice, I need to explain. I didn’t fully understand this concept until I had been teaching for a while. As a student, I thought that a bad lesson was when I didn’t play well. When things didn’t go as well in my...

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One Book, 10 Ways to Become a Better Musician

Aug 31, 2020

“What about this chord?” he asked. He was so eager to learn, so excited by the possibilities, that the excitement was visible in his face. I was almost as excited. It wasn’t very often that a student brought that level of energy to theory class. This was a question worthy of a thoughtful answer.

Actually, he and I had this discussion many times, especially in his first year of...

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Practicing Differently: 4 Steps to Faster Learning

Aug 10, 2020

“Think different.” - Apple advertising slogan

We’re becoming accustomed to change. That doesn’t mean that change is any easier to live with. It is simply a condition of the times. 

Because we are bombarded by change, we cling more tenaciously to the few constants in our daily lives, particularly in our music, even when they may be detrimental to our sense of...

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Making Connections: I Vow to Thee My Country

Aug 03, 2020

The tune to the song “I Vow to Thee My Country” is a favorite of harpists everywhere, thanks in part to skillful arrangements by artists like Kim Robertson and Rhett Barnwell. The melody is one of the themes from “Jupiter,” a movement of Gustav Holst’s iconic symphonic suite, The Planets. As is often the case, the back story is nearly as compelling as the...

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Find Your Focus: Six Week Success Plan

Jul 27, 2020

I always have looked forward to summer as a more relaxed time. It’s a season when I can pause, slow down the pace of my work without guilt, knowing that I am refreshing myself so I can start the autumn with renewed energy and enthusiasm. 

This summer, however, is completely different.

We’ve all had too much time on our hands: time to work and time to worry, time that hangs...

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What To Do When The Applause Is Gone

Jul 13, 2020

You try to cover all the bases. You practice your technical drills, review your repertoire regularly, strengthen your musicianship; you’re doing all the right things. But it still may feel like there’s something missing. Possibly you don’t feel accomplished, or you don’t see your progress.

If you’re doing all those “right things” and practicing...

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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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