December 25, 2012

December 19, 2012

Happy YOU!

It's that time of year - the run up to the holidays.  Everyone is stressed!  If you are like most people you are way behind in your shopping, your decorating, your baking, and possibly running short of good will toward your fellow man. 

In the midst of what is, for most people certainly, chaos, it is important for you to take a little time for yourself.  Do something you enjoy.  Breathe.

Why don't I feel like that?

If you're reading this, it is likely that you find playing your harp to be a great way to take some time for long as you are not preparing for a gig or struggling to play a piece of music you find challenging.  This is a great time to play those Christmas carols you love, the tunes you know really solidly, and to indulge in the simple pleasures of the easy tunes (Twinkle, anyone?).

Take some time to remind yourself why you play.  Use it as a time to fall in love with your harp again (especially if the two of you haven't been seeing eye to eye when your stress level has increased!).  Play barefoot to let the vibration tickle your feet! Just play with your harp - and enjoy.

And if what is best for you is to take a little time away from your harp - do that.  Read a book, take a walk, bake come cookies.  Do something you enjoy just for the joy of it - to help refresh yourself.  You know the new year will bring new goals and challenges - so take a breather now!

December 12, 2012

Christmas shopping?

Are you looking for just the right gift, one that will fit perfectly, amaze the recipient and thereby delight you?  Looking for that perfect gift that a harper or harp-lover will enjoy immensely? 

Give the gift of travel -
Come with us on the 2013 Harp the Highlands and Islands Tour! 

We will be traveling in September which is a wonderful time of year - long beautiful days and lovely tunes to share.  All the information is available on

Need more inspiration or a good reason to go?  Watch this: - this isn't a my video, but it made my heart go pitter-pat and I can barely wait to go to Scotland.  I hope you'll join us!

December 5, 2012

Where do good ideas come from?

It's that time of year when you need a good idea - at the holidays we play the same music over and over.  It's the same music everyone else is playing for the same holiday celebrated every year.  It is tradition but that doesn't mean it has to be boring.  So it is essential that we do something to make the tunes fresh - so our listeners can bear to hear them again and so we can bear to play them again.  But where do those good ideas come from?

Everyone knows that good ideas come from the shower!

There's something about taking a shower that seems to steam open the pores of creativity.  Actually while it isn't the shower itself, there are a number of elements that you can recreate to get to the same outcome:

1. Easy tasks that are repetitive and require no thinking.  These tasks allow your mind to wander into more interesting areas - and that seems to help you come up with ideas.  You can do the same thing taking a walk, knitting, or practicing scales.  Set yourself up to let your mind wander - wash dishes (or your car), take that walk, or get in the shower!

2. Quiet (ok the shower isn't really all that quiet, but it is relatively quiet).  Be quiet in quiet - turn off the radio while driving, be outdoors, or find another way to have some quiet to let your mind be quiet - the quiet seems to attract new ideas.

3. Time alone - 'nough said.  Even the most lovely people can be a distraction (caveat - sometimes they can also be an inspiration - there are no rigidities here!)

4. No expectations - you don't go into the shower thinking that by the end of the shower you will have developed a completed composition (or solved world hunger).  Be fanciful - in effect you can have your own brainstorming session with no idea rejected until a later phase.

So, if you need help to generate good ideas for arrangements for Christmas music, generate a virtual shower: and (this is important) capture the outcomes (so you can build on them).  If you are actually in your shower, you can use a grease pencil or water based marker to write on the tile or just keep singing a motif to yourself!