February 23, 2011

16th Annual Harp Camp is coming!

Harp Camp is 16 this year!  Old enough to drive - and believe me, it has been a driver in my life since my first Harp Camp experience! 

Director Kris Snyder has invited me to teach with her again in the lovely Glen in Southeastern PA and I am very excited to be returning!  In addition, Lucy Stevens, the wonderful arranger and performer, will also be teaching with us. I am so excited - we have gotten together to do all the preliminary planning - and boy do we have a great workshop planned for you!
I cannot express what an honor it is to be invited back to teach.  Harp Camp is a fantastic learning environment - warm, supportive, fun, creative - and has launched the careers of more than one harp player in the region!  And if you know of harpwishers (people who wish they played the harp but don't know how to get started) this is an great opportunity for them.  People who have never touched a harp have the chance to begin to play at Harp Camp!

Harp Camp will be in its 16th year, is conducted in a beautiful setting, and allows you to learn with and from some amazing harp players of all levels and ages.  One of my favorite parts of Harp Camp has always been watching students teach each other and learn from one another - it is always humbling to realize the gifts each student brings - both to learn and to teach.

We have a variety of learning experiences, exploring basics of music, technique, performance, as well as creativity, ensemble play, arranging and writing, improvisation, and other aspects of being a solid musician.  We also play games, enjoy good company, and play a lot of great music together.  It's a busy workshop - jam packed with harpy goodness!

We're updating the website so all the particulars are not out there yet, but they will be soon and I'll post here when the information is avaiable. 

In the interim, I highly encourage you to save the date and join us for Harp Camp 2011 28, 29, and 30 July! 

February 16, 2011

Be Passionate!

I assume you play the harp because you have a passion for it.  And if it is a passsion, then you should give it all you got...so, beyond the "work" that we've talked about previously, you have to bring some passion to it too.

To really flame that passion you need to start with beliving in you and concentrating on your vision of you in your passion.  This will help you really get there!  And of course, once you have that vision, you will be able to set your goals (where you're going) that help you achieve your passion.  Throughout all this, you will have to be realistic...ensure you can do something toward your goal everyday (practicing is a good start).   In additional you'll have to realize that you can not give up - its your passion, it'll keep you going...Do what you love!

February 9, 2011

February Check-up

It's been a few weeks since the excitement and invigoration of the New Year.  We've cleaned up after the parties, put away the decorations, written the thank you notes for all our lovely gifts received, and set our goals for the coming year.

And by this point in time, most of us have already forgotten the goals (or resolutions) we set for ourselves.  I challenged you to set yourself some music and musicianship goals for 2011...did you think of some?  Did you write them down? 

From William Jackson's wonderful Land of Light lyrics I find these particularly captivating, "Now dawns the age, now comes the call". Now is the time!  Take out your goals, review them, remind yourself of the excitement you came into the year with.  Evaluate your promises to yourself - are they realistic in the cold light of February?  Will you be able to make progress on those goals?  Have you set enough goals to keep you focused and few enough that you'll be able to progress?

And remember to make a plan for those goals - you have to have a workable plan - workable for you!  Keep on it, and don't worry, I'll check back on you!

February 2, 2011

but what about me?

You might be thinking, "well, none of this applies to me, I don't want to start my new career as a brilliant musician...I just want to play my harp in peace!"

Because all that we've talked about so far has been a lot of hard work.  And to some extent you are right - you don't have to work so hard...but you still need to work at it to become as good as you want to be.  But just like people striving to be "the best" there are number of things we can all do to improve our practice - to make it more deliberate:

First, you have to focus so you can be "present" when you are practicing.   You have to work beyond the easy - stretch!  You have to give it time - spend time on that bench!  The more time you spend at your harp, the more comfortable you will be (even with the hard stuff).   You still have to collect feedback - seek it from your peers and those with more experience.  Feedback helps you grow - even in places you didn't know you needed work.  But never forget the importance of your own feedback - really watch yourself, and assure you make your goals.

So, no matter if you want to play in Carnegie Hall or if you are just playing in your hall - be deliberate in your practice so you'll make the grade you choose!