September 25, 2013

Are you out there?

I’d like to take a moment to thank you for reading and following my blog. I hope you’ve gotten something for your efforts! I enjoy sharing what I know (or sometimes don’t know) with you. And I look forward to your questions and comments as well.

But sometimes, you’re very quiet and I then I feel fairly lonely. So I ask you to let me know –

Which posts of you enjoyed the most?

Which posts have you enjoyed the least?

What would you like to know more about?

What topics you are interested in seeing?
What content you are interested in?

What other blogs do you read?

Do you check in, or are you a subscriber?

Other comments or questions you might have?
Please leave a comment below.  I look forward to your feedback, and working with your suggestions. Thanks for being a great community!

September 18, 2013

Hang out with people who play better than you do.

Every once in a while it is gratifying to be the most accomplished person in the room.  But the good news that it doesn’t last!  There is a lot of pressure on you when that happens.  So, the remedy is to hang out with people who are more accomplished than you are – or as we say colloquially, people who are better than we are!

Why? Because research shows that hanging out and playing with people who are better than you are will raise your game and help you develop.  Playing with them makes you be better because you have to work hard to try to keep up.
Those better players may be other harpers but it is also possible that they will be playing some other instrument.  Either way, you always have a lot to learn, so get in there!

It can be daunting (trust me, I know!) but it can also be exhilarating and just plain fun!  It is intimidating but if offered the opportunity, take it!  Don’t let your insecurity get in your way. Don’t second guess yourself or fill yourself with fear.  Take it as it comes, enjoy the time (it will be fleeting), and learn as much as you can from the experience.  Use what you learn to make yourself better. 
And when the day comes that you are the most accomplished person in the room, share with the same grace others have shown you – and make someone’s day!

September 11, 2013

Get back to your harping

The summer is, for all intents and purposes, over.  The kids are back in school, everyone is back on a tighter schedule, the days are noticeably shorter and (at least in some places) starting to be cooler.  You might have spent less time at your harp while you enjoyed the beautiful summer.

But cooler days have the potential to mean more time to be at your harp.  There it sits, all gorgeous and beckoning.  But just like getting the kids out the door early is a challenge at the beginning of the school year, getting back to your harp after a summer holiday can be difficult.

Autumn means returning to schedules – often tightly choreographed schedules.  That schedule thing can really get you, making you realize how much you have left to get done in the (noticeably shorter) day.  You have to fit practicing in – you know you’ll be getting the inevitable holiday requests sooner than you are ready.  You have a tool to help you, you just have to use it. 

To get more out of your time at the harp, use your calendar to your advantage.  Here are four ways to help you get your practice time in, reduce the “it’s a chore” feeling, and make some progress:

1. Mark it down – write practice time on your calendar.  Just like you would any other appointment.

2. Make it a priority – sitting to your harp is good for your physically and mentally so make (and keep) that appointment with yourself.  Don’t cheat yourself – make your harp time a priority.  Does your time at the harp rates above other pressing tasks like washing the newspaper or reading the dog.

3. Plan ahead – spend a little time planning what you will do when you get to your harp.  What do you need to practice?  What do you want to work on?  What deadlines do you have coming up?  Make sure you have a little time to work on those things you need to work on.  And don’t forget to have fun – it shouldn’t be all work!

4. If it can’t be a priority, make peace with that – there are times where other things are more pressing, or we make them more important, or we allow them to take more of our time. That’s ok, but accept that and work with it.  If your harp priority has shifted lower, for any reason, do not beat yourself up about not practicing, just acknowledge that right not you will spend less harp time each day and accept the loss you will experience (in tune memory, in technique, in strength, etc.). 

After all, you’ll get back to your harp…when the time is right!

September 4, 2013

End of Summer

Happy Labor Day!  Whether you're celebrating or simply watching the waning summer - enjoy the holiday and take your harp to the beach (or at least think about it!).