December 6, 2017

The Nights are Long

As the year draws to a close, the nights are long.  We have time to reflect (ok, we make time to reflect since the nights are so long!). 

I hope you have had a full and fulfilling harp year.  My wish for you remains primarily that you enjoy making music, that you have learned and shared and grown and loved the time at your harp.   

I hope you are both pleased with your progress and that you hunger for more.   

I hope as you look back over the year you see your continued development and that you have begun to form new goals.  And I hope you have flourished and stabilized and that you are becoming the musician you want to be.   

I hope you are happy with yourself and with your journey and with your music. 

Reflect, and enjoy what you see!

November 29, 2017


The last bit of self care for November is injecting more of yourself into your music.  

Like a lot of music, holiday music tells stories. And like other music, it can get trite pretty quickly, especially since you get to play it repeatedly but only for a few weeks.   

One of the easiest ways to infuse life into the music (to alleviate boredom) is to become a storyteller with the tunes.  Think about the words (what could be easier – they’re all right there to read!) -

  • What is the mood?   
  • Where does the story go? 
  • Who is in the story? 
  • What is the action? 
Decide the story you want to tell – and use the music to share that story with your listeners.  You have all sorts of tools to tell your story – tempo, dynamics, techniques (p.d.l.t, harmonics, damping, ornamentation, arpeggiated chords, etc.).

Modify your arrangement so that you and your story come shining through.  And each time through, the tune can be a different chapter of the story. 

Stuck? Not sure how to start?  Try this: Play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  Now play it angrily.  Now play it playfully.  How about impishly?  What about as a march?  Now as a great tragedy. Finish it as a lullaby or as Wagnerianly as possible. 

Make yourself laugh…or cry… or feel pain! Relax and enjoy the story!

November 15, 2017

Practice Practice Practice (your selfcare)

It is all well and good to work on self care – you can get a (single) manicure or journal your practice once, but it is consistent practice of a self care routine that will bring you the most benefit.  So, yes, you must P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E your self care!  (stop – I see you thinking, “Oh great, something else she wants me to practice!”)

But self care that is only as frequent as a treat or something you only get when you occasionally remember isn’t self care at all.  So you will need to practice getting your self care into your schedule – and keeping it on the calendar.  That way you will not only develop the habit but will likely come to look forward to the time you will spend.

You already know how to get something onto your calendar. And you already know that you are more likely to honor an event, especially with yourself, if you actually place it on your calendar. So, get out your pen and get marking.  Select self care events that you can actually accomplish repeatedly.  Going to polish your nails?  Choose a day of the week to do it and schedule the 20 minutes it will take.  That way you are consistent and get it done.  Putting moisturizing lotion on the backs of your hands every day?  Write a reminder on your mirror (use dry erase marker!) so that you see it every day and you begin to build the habit.

As the time passes you’ll notice that choosing small self care events allows you to complete them without much angst and practicing that will build a habit that you can sustain.  A few of these little things will add up to a successful self care routine that fits into your everyday schedule – and that’s self care you can live with!