October 28, 2015

Daylight Savings Ends – Five Ways to Stay Motivated!

Daylight Savings Time ends in the US on Sunday morning – don’t forget to set your clocks back and enjoy another hour of well deserved sleep.

And get prepared because that early darkness at the end of the day can be extremely unmotivating – it will feel like you should be in bed when it is only 5pm! Yikes.  In addition, it’s also the beginning of the "Curl up on the Couch with some Tea and a Cozy Throw" days which makes it so easy to flop down and watch TV or read a book.  But you know that you need to practice and that every day you do not practice means it will be that much longer until you get where you want to be.

So, here are five ways for you to stay motivated during the dark time -
  • Don’t wait until the end of the day to practice.  It will be just as dark in the morning but changing it up might be just what you need to stay engaged and practicing!
  • Fool yourself.  Add more lighting to your practice area to fool yourself into feeling like it’s not the middle of the night.
  • Plan your time.  If you know what you’re going to do when you’re practicing, it won’t feel so much like it will never end!
  • If you can’t think of anything to work on, make something up (stretch yourself, prepare to play for a new audience, push yourself to grow).
  • Start with easy stuff you love…and then doing the hard work (exercises).  Make it enticing to sit down, start with the fun (and then knuckle down!).
If you can “fake it ‘til you make it” through the first few weeks, you’ll get through the tough end of daylight saving and you might even be well on your way to an even better holiday repertoire.

October 21, 2015

On the road to Nationals!

I am so honored to have judged the Scottish Harp Society of America's 2015 US National Scottish Harp Championship!  In addition, it was exciting to have the opportunity to work with Seumas Gagne (the Distinguished Judge, friend, fab performer!) as well as the organizing coordinators of the Harp Competition at the Stone Mountain Highland Games.  And, of course, a special thank you to the Title Sponsor - Clan Currie Society whose generosity has significantly contributed to the success of the comp.

So this week's post is short while I continue to bask in the glow of having gotten to see some amazing talent, meet some new people, see old friends, play and share and laugh, and get hand cramps from my pathetic penmanship (or pencilmanship really!).  Concerts, fun, and of course, an EXCELLENT competition with a large field of competitors. 

What could be more fun?

October 14, 2015

Happy Boss’ Day!

It's Boss’ Day – certainly a holiday worth celebrating!

“Why?”  you might ask – because at your harp – You are the boss of you!

You make all the decisions at your harp.  What will you play? How will you play it?  How long will you practice? When will you take lessons?  From whom will you learn?  What new tunes will you tackle?

You are the decision maker…and you have all the responsibility!  You should do all those things good bosses do:
  • Be appreciative of hard work
  • Acknowledge a good effort and reward good performance
  • Point out areas for improvement in a constructive way
  • Deliver useful and appropriate feedback
  • Encourage growth and development
  • Encourage creativity
  • Expect good work
After all, you need to be a good boss – you can’t fire you!

October 7, 2015

Planning for everything

Recently, a harp friend died.  This was a tragedy as she was a lovely person and a very good harp player. I had known her almost all of my harp life.  
Not long after that, her family wanted to move on and part of that was to assure that her harps went to good homes.  And so I was fortunate to be able to help the family in finding each harp a new loving home.  But it got me to thinking.

It was very difficult for the family – it’s a difficult time as it is, but having to figure out how to move these harps along was just another burden for them.  Because we love our harps and our harp friends/family so much, we may forget that to our “real” family isn’t as plugged in to our harp world.  They don’t know how we communicate, how to “shift” a harp, where to go for help, how to move on.

In addition, while our families might try to meet all our wishes, we may not have shared what we would like to happen to our harps (and their assorted detritus!).  You may want to be sure that your harps go to a chosen friend or you might want them embedded in a local organization’s harp rental program, or you might want your local (or favorite) school to receive your bounty.  But if you don’t tell anyone, no one will know.  Be specific – remember that it is likely a loving, non-harper will have to attempt to do what you want, so guidance from you would be a big help!

Therefore it is important to document and share your harp wishes with your family.  Think about (and plan for) where you’d like all your harps to find a new place when you will no longer need it. If you will donate to an organization – be sure that the organization knows it will eventually receive your bounty.  Be as lovely and generous as you always have been and others will appreciate your kindness.