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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How to Practice Past Obstacles: Redefining Your Limits

Nov 04, 2019

There are things you do for your children that you would never have done for yourself. There are icky things, sticky things, difficult things, unusual things. For instance, I am pretty sure my father never would have dreamed about lugging a harp around if I hadn’t needed him to. For my son, I took karate lessons.

I’ve never been much of a sports person and I never would have thought...

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How to Play Four Note Chords Without Finger Fumbles

Oct 21, 2019

There are many dividing points in life, moments when you know you have reached a new phase or growth stage. They are the thresholds that you cross, knowing that nothing will be the same afterward. Passing your driver’s test, getting married, having your first baby are some of the huge milestones in life.

For a harpist, one of those milestones, and one that is absolutely essential to their...

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Are Your Fingers Failing You? 10 Quick Fixes

Sep 30, 2019

When was the last time you said this: “If it weren't for those 2 measures in the middle, this piece would be no problem for me?” 

We've all been frustrated by those spots where our fingers always seem to miss the strings or fumble or trip over each other. And it seems that no matter how much we drill them, they still feel unreliable or shaky. 

It's a fact that some...

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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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