December 28, 2016

Happy New Year!

Hope you're having a great holiday season - and playing your harp to say good bye to the old year and hello to the new year!

December 14, 2016

Thumbs up to the end of the year

The year is winding to a close, so it’s a good time to take stock.  You may be playing a lot with the events of the holidays or you may still be working on material for your family get together or to impress your cats. It is also cold and dry which is tough on your hands. Meanwhile, there is just a lot going on and everyone is busy.

All of those things certainly don’t make playing any easier.  So it might be a good time to check in with the basics and see how you’re doing.

Are your thumbs up? Are your fingers and hands relaxed?  Are you sitting up and breathing?  Do you keep up doing all the good techniques while actually playing?

You know good technique is important – making it possible for you to play better, longer, stronger.  But good technique requires awareness - and what better time than the present to give yourself the present of making sure you’re doing well?

Check in, and be sure to have your thumbs up as a strong end to the year!

December 7, 2016

Still Shopping?

There are so many things to do in the holidays season - so much shopping to do, so many presents to get.  And harp players can be so hard to buy for! 

What would be the perfect present? How about the Harp the Highland and Islands Tour in 2018?

Plenty of time to plan to enjoy the beauty of Scotland while learning some wonderful tunes! Easy to wrap and any harp player (or traditional musician of just about any ilk) would be delighted to receive the gift.  If you, or someone you know, would love to find the Harp The Highlands and Islands Tour in their gifts, contact me for more details (before they are presented on the website).

November 30, 2016

Holiday Shopping!

There are not that many shopping days until the holidays are upon us!  Have you finished your shopping?  

Are you sure?  Do you know someone who would like a (stress free, no strings attached) opportunity to see if they are really interested in learning to play the harp?   Or, would you like to give yourself a present of lessons? Consider lesson Gift Certificates!

You can buy a single lesson or a string of them.   

There are many reasons to take a lesson.  You can sharpen your skills, brush up on your technique, learn a new tune, work on arrangements or develop new compositions.  Or you can have an intensive lesson – no trying to cram a lot into a short lesson!

And now through 24 December, receive a 10% discount.  Imagine - buy, print, wrap - and you're done!  For more information or to buy your gift, just contact me and finish up your shopping!

November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you all the best on Thanksgiving - 
enjoy the grateful feeling of playing such a beautiful instrument!

November 16, 2016

The Switch in the Seat

Have you ever noticed that when you go to see your physician you have a number of questions to ask, but as soon as you sit on the seat in the office you can’t remember any of them? There’s a switch in the seat that makes you forget everything you came in for – I’m sure of it!

Your harp lesson can also be like that, with the switch being strategically located in the bench.  You will have practiced all week and struggled with some aspect of something you were working on – tricky fingering, a rocky rhythm, a set of chords that are particularly difficult to read accurately and quickly.  But as soon as you come in for your lesson, you forget what specifically was the problem.

You fumble through trying to explain what you couldn’t get.  Even worse, try though you might, you cannot remember what you already tried even though you spent all week on it!  And you can't remember why you think it didn’t work. 

(Of course, even worse is when you did remember what didn’t work but you didn't spend any time during the week thinking about what that might mean!) 

What can you do to make sure you and your teacher work on the things that give you trouble? How can you capture your specific questions, the remedies you have already tried, and the explanations for why those haven’t worked?

A Mnemonic is helpful.  A mnemonic is a device that helps to aid memory.  It should be simple and easy to remember (go figure!) – and if it is related to the content to be remembered, all the better. So, here is a mnemonic for the next time something is giving you a hard time: HARPO.  Work through each of the elements, note the answers and you'll be that much more prepared for your lesson.  The elements are:
  • H – Headache – What isn’t going right? What are you not getting? 
  • A – Attempted – What did you already try? What about that didn’t get you where you meant to be?
  • R – Reuse – What do you already know (from another piece of music) that you could bring to this?
  • P – Practice – What specifically did  you do during practice to overcome the issue?
  • O – Outcome – Did that work or do you need to try something else?

Note your HARPO answers in your practice journal so you will have them when you get to your lesson.  This will successfully deactivate the switch in the bench and you’ll be able to make some progress!

November 9, 2016

Happy Veterans Day

This week we celebrate Veterans Day.  Originally Armistice Day celebrating the end of World War I the day eventually became a celebration of all those who had served in the US Armed Forces.

Thank you to the US Military – the largest employer of musicians in the world! And thank you to all our veterans throughout the years!

This is a great opportunity – go play at a Veterans Hospital or Nursing Home or play on the street with a sign telling people that you’re celebrating or play a benefit and donate to a Veterans charity.  Snap a photo and share it with us while we show appreciation to those who pledged their lives to defend ours.