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#101: Quick Fix Episode: Teaching Your Fingers To Play When You’re Not Looking

What would you do if you were playing the harp in a concert and the lights went out?

I’m sure many of you have stories about playing the harp when there was a sudden power outage, and I have several myself. I remember one wedding when a neighborhood-wide blackout occurred just as the newly married couple kissed. The priest didn’t miss a beat, directing the acolytes to lead the bride and groom in a candlelight recessional to the back of the church. My fellow musicians and I were missing lots of beats however, as we struggled to keep playing the recessional music in the dark. 

Fortunately it was a familiar tune, but even so, the other musicians finally gave up, leaving me to carry on by myself. Because I knew the piece, the notes weren’t the problem; obviously the real difficulty was not being able to see the strings.

Today’s Quick Fix podcast episode isn’t about memorizing your music or carrying a spare music stand light with you. It’s about something more important, a skill you should use even when the lights are on. It’s about trusting your fingers to know where the strings are. 

In case you are thinking this doesn’t apply to you, here are some questions for you to ask yourself. Do you sometimes lose your place on the page when you look away from the music to see the strings? Do you have to memorize parts of your pieces so you can make sure your fingers get to the right strings? Do you find music learning slow because you have to look back and forth between your hands and the music? Are you a poor sight reader? 

All of these things might be the telltale signs that you haven’t taught your fingers to play without you looking at them. And that’s exactly what I will show you how to fix on today’s show.

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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