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#040: Moving Up: How to Find the Next Rung of the Ladder

Today you are going to get a promotion. Or rather, today I am going to give you a promotion. Or even better, today you are going to give yourself a promotion.

A promotion is exciting. It may come with a new title, or a certificate or a diploma. It likely entails new responsibilities and new challenges as well as new and as yet unimagined opportunities. It signifies a higher level of competence and the confidence that others, at least, have in your achievements to date and in your potential. And that gold star, that new job title, that salary raise is proof of your accomplishment.

But where is the proof of your harp accomplishment? How do you know that you’re making progress, or keeping pace with whatever goals or timelines you have set for yourself? Where’s the guidebook that says, “You are here,” and shows you how to get to “there?” 

Yes, we do have some ways to gauge our progress. Music exam systems, like the ABRSM or RCM exams, provide an organized way to be “promoted.” You work through the curriculum and move from one grade level to the next. And you get your paper that certifies your promotion.

But for those not following an exam system, which is most harpists, where does the assurance of growth and progress come from? We may not need that piece of paper to prove our accomplishment, like the scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz,” but our harp happiness depends on our faith in our momentum. If we don’t think we’re getting anywhere, we tend to stop trying.

So what we are doing today is creating some clarity, clarity about the mysterious “levels” of harp playing, the specific signature skills that you need at these levels and how to create your personal plan for promotion. 

Now, if you’re thinking that because you are really only playing for yourself or that this discussion is only for “serious” harpists” or young people, you couldn’t be more wrong. Frankly, it’s easier for young students or harpists with a clear path to find those next rungs on the ladder. The course for them is clear. 

This discussion is for everybody else, those who want to take things at their own pace and want to enjoy their harp playing. Why? Because the path isn’t as clear so the progress levels aren’t as clear either. And if you don’t have markers for where you are now and where your next step is, you end up going around in circles. And that’s where frustration can creep in.

So let’s give you a promotion today. We’ll talk about those markers so you can find your next step forward, your next rung on the ladder. And then you give yourself that gold star or certificate or special treat that will mark your promotion. You deserve it.

Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the podcast episode: 

Get involved in the show! Send your questions for future podcast episodes to me at [email protected] 


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