January 28, 2016

It’s practically right around the corner!

Just six months until the Highlands and Islands tours.  I’m excited and those of you that have already booked tell me you are too.  I hope you’ll join us!

Not a very experienced harp player?  No worries!  This is not a school – it is a vacation!  Play as much (or as little) as you like.  We’ll be having fun.  Not a harper but love traditional music?  No worries!  We don’t discriminate.  Bring your own small traditional instrument along (whistle, concertina, fiddle, guitar, etc.).  We’re happy to have you too.  We’ll learn and play together.  We’ll share some great tunes and play in some incredible places.  Our music appreciating guests (who are not playing an instrument) are welcome to sit with us as we play but also have opportunities to see and do additional things – and they tell us they enjoy these little escapes!

But if you just don’t fancy playing the harp all over Scotland all week, you might prefer to join us for the Highlands and Islands Distillery tour.  We visit six different distilleries, each very special and different in its own right.  We’ll enjoy the sites and tastes of the Highlands and Islands learning all about the “uisge beatha” and its place in Scotland historically and today. While we don’t play music on this tour – we do have a great time sampling, learning, and having fun.

For more information click on http://www.jeniuscreations.com/tours-of-scotland/ and book the trip that is just right for you! 

January 20, 2016

Well, it’s one thing to say it…

I’m sure that you’ve already at least thought of the goals you’d like to work on throughout the year.  And that’s all well and good.  If you don’t give your goals some thought, you won’t be able to identify where to focus your efforts.  And of course, not thinking about your goals doesn't mean you won't have any - it just means you won't know when you get there.

You already know that you will make small steps toward your goal each day.  But watching for achievement can sometimes feel like watching your nails grow - you know it’s happening, but you can't actually see it.  Many of your harp goals will be like that – you make progress but you can’t see it as it’s happening.  If you capture that progress, you will be able to see it better – it will be in a single place and will highlight how far you’ve come.

But to really make progress you need to make those thoughts physical.  There are a number of ways to capture your progress.  You could:

  • write it down in a journal
  • build an inspiration board or mood board
  • scrapbook
  • develop a chart
  • use an app for that
  • made a progressive audio file
  • or some other method that speaks to you
The point of documentation is not to add to your workload but rather to allow you to see your progress over time.  Seeing your progress will help you remain motivated, make corrections, seek feedback from others, and keep moving forward.  And you might even have fun doing it!  Enjoy the journey.

January 13, 2016

Follow that Goal!

This year, I had a couple of good ideas for goals and it was difficult to choose between them.  But I have settled onto a single overarching goal.  I finally decided to select the one with the least probability of success.  Foolish possibly, but I determined that it was a better fit for me.

I set this year’s goal to be able to play two hours of fast tunes.  Not that you’d ever want to do that – that would be sort of hard to listen to if you were in the audience.  But, even so, it was important to me to be able to pull it off if challenged.  Of course, no one is likely to make that challenge to me – except me!

I think this is a smart goal because I used the “SMART” principle to develop it.  That is, this goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timed.  How's that you say?

Specific – I want to focus on fast tunes.  Not that I won’t play or learn slow airs or songs, but I want to primarily learn jigs, reels, hornpipes, slipjigs, marches, strathspeys, barndances, and polkas!

Measurable – I just have to fill two hours and I have a watch!

Achievable – I calculate that two hours will require about 80 tunes. While that’s a lot, I'm not starting from zero!  I'll build on the tunes I’ve already learned, so that significantly reduces the number of tunes left to learn!

Realistic – OK, this is the furthest from “locked in”.  Life gets in the way, and this means that I will have a lot of music to learn – but I’ll do the best I can. And I developed a new strategy to be exposed to tunes I wouldn't likely find if I was floundering around for tunes so that will propel me forward.

Timed – This is a leap year, so I get an extra day to work on this! 

What are your goals this year?  Are they SMART?  Let me know what you are planning to work on this year!