Why You Need to Stop Following the Fingering

Aug 24, 2020

“Hurry up! You’ve taken enough pictures. They’re already in the next room!”

 

I heard this refrain constantly on one European trip. Actually, I didn’t hear it; I said it. My husband is always the one lagging behind the tour group to capture an interesting photo. In those moments, I’m always afraid we’ll miss what the tour guide is telling us, but...

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Creating Perspective: Giving Your Music Depth

Aug 17, 2020

It’s a pleasure to listen to music that is well-played. Of course, some performances go beyond being well-played. They are often described as moving, emotionally affecting or profound. Thee performers speak through the notes in a way that communicates with the soul. They give the music dimension and depth.

 

Is the ability to create this kind of musical depth a special gift possessed...

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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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All Opposed! Training Your Thumb to Play Well With Others

Jul 20, 2020

The fingers must be educated, the thumb is born knowing. Marc Chagall

 

In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God's existence. Isaac Newton

 

Naturally, as a human, I am grateful for my opposable thumbs. But as a harpist, I often wonder why my thumbs often seem to do the opposite of what I want.

 

When I want a seamless scale, my thumb fumbles...

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The Failsafe Fix For Fast Flexible Fingers

Jun 22, 2020

What harpist wouldn’t want fast, flexible fingers? Just imagine if your fingers were agile and even sounding, so that your music would have flash and sparkle. 

You may be like many harpists in search of the elusive trick to a facile and nimble technique. You might even believe that you’ve tried everything, and you will have to accept the fact that your fingers will never get...

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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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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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Floppy Fingers? Develop Strong Fingers the Smart Way

Mar 09, 2020

No harpist ever had floppier fingers than I did. 

I had been playing the harp for eight years, and still my fingers were all over the place. Every knuckle bent the wrong way. My double-jointed thumbs slid off the strings. I didn’t know how to fix them, but it was clear to me that unless I straightened my fingers out, my dreams of being a harpist were going to stay merely dreams....

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Rich, Warm, Round: How to Create Your Sensational Harp Sound

Feb 03, 2020

I always envied my harp teacher’s sound.

My harp teacher for nearly all of my harp studies was Marilyn Costello, former principal harpist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. As you can imagine, she was a fabulous harpist, but it was her tone that was so compelling. Her sound was lush and plummy, liquid and full. I could recognize her playing anywhere just by the sound. In fact, if you study...

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Three Disciplines of a Trustworthy Technique

Jan 13, 2020

This is the second in a series of posts focused on how to set - and achieve - goals. Be sure to check out the prior post and read on to the end of this post for a special invitation. 

 

Wouldn't you love to have a technique that you could trust? Fingers that wouldn't let you down, so that you knew that whatever you were playing, you could rely on them to do exactly what you wanted...

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