June 26, 2013

Off to OSAS

It is Ohio Scottish Arts School week!  Always a great week -  playing tunes we have learned before, learning new ones, staying up too late, practice, jamming, and a lot of laughter! 

Each year we look forward to a week of learning from amazing tutors - this year is no exception with Corrina Hewat and Abby Palmer, Sue Richards Ann Heymann and Charlie Heymann bringing their unique perspectives and experiences...and wonderful tunes!  It's difficult to not be effusive! 

And there is the broader view, sharing and hanging out with other harpers as well as fiddlers, dancers, pipers, and drummers.  What looks like a fun jam session will also be a full rich opportunity to learn skills all musicians need, to practice musicality, adaptability, and flexibility.

Start of last year - photo unceremoniously pinched from Steve Schack, a fellow OSAS alum

If you've been to OSAS before but weren't able to come this year, be there in spirit by playing through the tunes from your summer and brush them up and remember the great times you had. 

And if you've never been before, I sure hope you figure out a way to work it into your schedule next year.  It is not just a learning experience but also just  FUN!

I'll trying to remember to take photos to share with you - but sometimes I get too caught up in the fun so no promises!  Thanks for understanding!  See you soon.

June 19, 2013

Keeping track

It is very easy to stay I am forward looking.  We are often suckered into only looking forward without equally considering our progress.  This is not a very good way to go about assessing one's progress in any endeavor.  It can also become discouraging.

So, how does one overcome this?  How do you collect information on progress (without swelling your own head with details of only successes)?  Here are three ways to collect useful documentation of your development that will help you not only improve but also assure you you’re not wasting your time (oh, come on, we’ve all had that feeling on particularly bad days!):

1.      Journal – keep a record of your practice and performance.  Make notes about your (honest) assessment of your practice, things that have gone well and not so well, what you would like to focus the next time.  Use what you write to help you.

2.      Record – this is fairly foolproof – record yourself (you can use your phone!) and listen…and learn.

3.      Perform – this is a double edged sword…there is a lot of focus in performing and it isn’t necessarily on collecting useable feedback.  However, there is feedback everywhere – accept the comments you receive and weight those carefully against your overly accurate accounting of any inconsistencies you might have had.

Any way you select, be sure to make careful assessment of not only where you're going but the path you have followed to get there. 

June 12, 2013

Harpa 2013

I am so fortunate - lucky really - to have participated in the 2013 Harpa Tour.  It was a wonderful opportunity to travel and work with some amazing musicians. I'm back now and still reveling in the glow of memories.

Here are just a couple of photos (which the other performers shared on facebook) that really sum up the fantastic vibe we had going - a great group, a lovely place, and lots and lots and lots of tunes!

Isn't just playing for fun the point!
Of course playing for an audience is a real joy too!

We had a successful kickstarter campaign and warm appreciative audiences at every venue.  What more could you ask! 

Look for the CD later this summer! There will also be a DVD that will be a snapshot of the fun we had.  While Beth says never again - I think you might be surprised...

If you're looking to have your own Harp Adventure this year - there isn't much time remaining to get in on the Harp the Highlands and Islands tour! Go to http://www.jeniuscreations.com/harp-tours-of-scotland/tour-2013/ for details and information. 

June 5, 2013

Regulation Nation

Just as important as it is to take care of ourselves, we need to care for our instruments.  This includes a lot of small things like carrying insurance, keeping an even temperature and humidity in the room, and tuning frequently

But it is also important to do the longer term maintenance.  Yup, we're talking about Regulating your harp.  Although it sounds mysterious, regulation is simply "tuning up" or "calibrating" your levers (or discs if you're of that persuasion) so that you get equally dulcet tones on an open string or an occluded string.

How do you know its time to regulate? Listen to your harp - it will tell you !  If when you are well tuned on open strings and you then set your levers and you are out of tune - it's time.  Don't put it off, do not pass Go, just get your harp regulated...and enjoy all your notes!

You can do it yourself or take your harp to a qualified luthier - whichever approach you want is good as long as you follow it!