April 15, 2015

Summer’s a’comin' in

While it’s all well and good to be planning, dreaming and thinking about the upcoming opportunities that summer brings, you’ve got to be ready before it gets here!

I think the “workout to look good in your bikini” stories and catalog layouts are a good point in time to start preparing yourself so you can be ready for all the fun that summer workshops bring.  But “what could you possible do to prepare to have fun?” you might ask.  The best answer is, “Plenty!”

Here are five things you can do to be sure you’re ready to focus on learning instead of focusing on how you don’t feel well:

  1. Start doing  legwork – spend an appropriate amount of your practice time working on the things you need to work on – scales, chords, transitions, speed, agility, sight reading – whatever “legwork” you need to have in your head and in your hands so you’re ready to learn and don’t have to be watching the basics.
  2. Build your stamina – most of us don’t have the luxury of spending an entire day at our harps – which also means me probably don’t have the stamina to be at our harps all day.  Start early from where you are with practicing and SLOWLY build up to a much longer time on the bench. Practice sitting, upright, in good alignment and with your harp.
  3. Build your strength -  most of us don’t get to spend a long time playing so while building up your stamina, play gently to allow your fingers to build strength (and to toughen up those callouses) so you have the tolerance to spend all that time not just sitting at your harp but also playing it.
  4. The best beginning comes out of a good ending – start mindfully stretching after each practice. Build in time in your schedule and in your thinking to actively stretch yourself after sitting and working hard at your harp.  Be sure to work all the areas you exercised including your neck, shoulders, legs and glutes – and don’t forget your arms and fingers!
  5. Thimk – be sure to spend some of each practice time practicing practicing.  Build within yourself good habits that allow you to spend your workshop time actually learning something.  Spend this pre-workshop time identifying what you need help with so you can ask questions of the workshop tutors and be aware of your strengths and weaknesses so you can build from what you learn. 
Being prepared for the arduous work of having fun will help you have a more enjoyable time and will assure that your time and money were well spent on the workshop you chose!

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