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3 Strategies for Left Hand Fluency

Mar 22, 2021

I used to envy harpists who were left handed.

I figured that being left handed would mean your left hand would be more coordinated at the harp. As it turns out, I was wrong.

Harp playing requires dexterity in both hands, but the more we play, the more our hands become specialists. Our right hand specializes in playing melodies fluidly and evenly. The right thumb learns to dominate when needed...

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Get Strong Fingers the Smart Way

Feb 22, 2021

Harpists, how strong are your fingers? How strong do they need to be?

It seems instrumentalists of all sorts try to develop stronger fingers and not just in recent times. In 1836, Henri Herz patented the Dactylion, a mechanical contraption designed specifically for pianists. Schumann was reputed to have ruined his fingers trying to strengthen them with a finger strengthening machine he made...

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Glissando Magic: 4 Ways to Make Your Glissandos Move

Jan 18, 2021

Anyone can play a glissando on the harp. You just run one finger across the strings. With one simple strum, the harp bursts into its rich, liquid song. It’s a magical experience.

Maybe that magical experience was the start of your harp journey. The sound of the harp, the feel of the strings, the sense of having all that music at the tip of your finger is almost irresistible. Yes, there is...

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4 Harp Rules You Can Break

Jan 11, 2021

Allow me to start with a disclaimer: If you are a young harpist, an aspiring harpist entering competitions or a virtuoso performer setting the standards for others, don’t read this article. If you’re one of the rest of us, however, read on!

If you've been studying the harp for any length of time, I’m certain you’ve discovered the endless list of what I can only describe...

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Breaking the Speed Barrier: 3 Strategies for Playing Faster

Dec 14, 2020

Sometimes the impossible...isn’t.

 

In 1954 when Roger Bannister became the first person to run a mile in under four minutes, he didn’t just break all the records. He demolished an idea that had long been held to be a truth: the idea that human beings were incapable of running a mile in under four minutes. 

 

John Bryant, a British journalist and himself a runner,...

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Four “Smart” Finger Patterns You Must Know

Nov 16, 2020

I have an entire closet filled with music. It’s organized and filed in boxes, or at least most of it is. And four of those boxes are dedicated just to etudes and exercises. 

Considering the importance of technique, those three boxes aren’t a very big proportion of my music collection, but they are filled with the wisdom and advice of literally centuries of harpists. I have...

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Are You Sitting Too High, Too Low or Just Right?

Sep 28, 2020

Every harpist has a seat preference. It may be a bench, a stool, a chair. Obviously comfort is key. But what are the factors that go into sitting comfortably at the harp?

There are a few clear requirements. Your seat needs to be flat and stable. A certain amount of cushion is nice, but too much will impede the abdominal support that is critical to sitting well at the harp. Naturally, your chair...

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Centering Yourself at the Harp: Where You Sit Makes a Difference

Sep 21, 2020

Let’s find your center.

No, this is not a post about meditation or focus or concentration. It’s about something much more practical: how you should center your body at the harp.

Maybe you’ve had an experience like this one. You watch a video of yourself playing the harp. It’s difficult enough to watch and listen to yourself but what makes it even worse is that something...

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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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