May 28, 2014

What will you do on your summer vacation?

As occurs about this time each year, it’s about time to plan your summer vacation.  There are many options, but here’s a harp opportunity for you to consider – come join us!

This is the 19th year of Lever Harp Camp 2014!  This year we will hold Camp 15 -17 August in South Central Pennsylvania.  This year’s theme is The Game of Music.  Harp Camp is easily accessible to harpers from anywhere and at any level. 

I am delighted to be teaching with my Co-Director Kris Nystrom Snyder again.  Harp Camp is a highlight in my year and I really look forward to it!  We work hard to bring you a highly personalized, fun-filled, supportive environment where you can extend your technical skills no matter where you are in your harp journey.  In addition you will be able to enhance your appreciation for our wonderful instrument. We also encourage all participants to try new things in a safe atmosphere and give you an understanding of the skills necessary to reach your individual performance goals.

Our format is tailored to you – no frustration of “not getting” material you aren’t ready for, nor will you be waiting for people with less experience to “catch up”.  You will experience three days filled with creativity and fun.  Workshops cover diverse topics from learning to performance to composition and improvisation.  We will have (music) Games, Creative and Directed Ensemble and other age appropriate activities that you are sure to enjoy!

We keep Harp Camp small and have a capped attendance policy.  This allows our class sizes to remain small – giving our attendees the personnel attention for which we are known.

DON’T MISS OUT!!  For more information, Contact us

May 21, 2014

Stretching – just do it!

I don’t know about you, but I hate thinking about stretching.  Which is silly because stretching usually feels really good.  And yet we, many of us, skip this essential step.   

We know that when we practice we are working hard.  Nevertheless, we often finish, stand up, and walk away.  But stretching at the end of your practice is a smart thing to do and a good way to finish up.

Be sure to stretch within your range of motion.  Don’t keep stretching if you feel pain.  Stretch all of you – your neck, back, arms, shoulders, chest, and hands.  But just as importantly, stretch your glutes, your hip flexors, hamstrings, and all the way down to your feet.  Breathe while you’re stretching. 

You may need some deep breaths because so often when you’re working hard at your harp you are holding your breath.  

Make time for this – plan it into your practice time just like warm ups and exercises.  Make it a non-negotiable part of your time with your harp.

May 14, 2014

Teaching helps make you a better learner.

When you are in a workshop, the instructor seems to have the easiest bit of the day – that person already knows the tune – it’s the participants that are trying desperately to learn the music being shared.  But is it actually easier to teach than to learn?  And what could be more fun than sharing a tune so you’ll have more people to play it with?  To get to that point, you’ll have to teach it!

Still, many of us have experienced the very real challenges that teaching to someone else poses.  Trying to share a tune with someone else highlights just how well we know it ourselves.  To teach a tune, you have to have a complete understanding of the tune. Well, at least it helps.

And so, sharing a tune with someone else will help you make sure you have that tune down rock solid.  If you want to teach it well you will also have to think through all the patterns, the fingerings, and the intervals.  You will have had to think about the phrases, how they related to one another, how many there are, how similar or different they are to one another, and whether those phrases are reminiscent of other tunes (thus, of course, increasing the confusability quotient!).

Wouldn’t be easier if you started out that way?  What if you took approach learning the tune as though you will turn around and teach it?  To get to that, you'll have to be sure to really look and really listen.  Find the patterns or repeats, note how many phrases there are, look at their structure.  And think from early on how you’re going to teach it on to someone else – soon!