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#100: How to Get to the Finish Faster

Music learning isn’t a race, we all know that. That doesn’t stop us from wanting to get to the finish line, to that magical moment when our piece is “done.” 

Ironically, if you ask a group of harpists exactly what “done” means or how to tell when you get there, you’ll get a few very indeterminate answers and more than a few hems and haws. Is the finish line the point when you can play the piece with no - or with very few - mistakes? Is it when you have it memorized or when you’ve played it for an audience? Is it whenever you want it to be? Is it when you’re so sick and tired of practicing it that you just want to put it away? 

When I started blogging in 2012, I had a mission to spread harp happiness, to help harpists enjoy their playing and their practice, to enable them to find and keep the joy in their harp playing. In my teaching in the years just prior to that, I had begun to notice an increasing number of frustrated harpists, particularly adult students. And the biggest frustration, one that was common to nearly all of them, was that they had no pieces they felt they could actually play. The finish point, that sense of musical accomplishment, was continually and distressingly elusive. And what seemed like a reasonable solution - more practice - actually seemed to make the problem worse. The finish line receded into the dim distance.

In order to help harpists find a system that would end this demoralizing cycle, I created a course called “30 Days to Done.” In that course, I systematized the steps that experienced harpists use to learn and finish music faster. I wanted to make the system clear and repeatable for any type of piece at any level. And the system works.

But there is a big question that the course doesn't answer fully and that’s the topic of our discussion today. The question is the one I alluded to a moment ago: what does “done” mean and how do you know when you’ve gotten there? And this 100th episode milestone for the Practicing Harp Happiness podcast seemed the perfect moment to talk about 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 and suggestions for future podcast episodes to me at [email protected] 


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