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#155: Shaped, Stable, Supple: A New Approach to Technique

Have you ever had one of those moments when you wonder if you’ve been doing it all wrong? It might be something you have taken for granted, a habit maybe, or a process, something you thought was the perfect system. You always have done it that way, but suddenly you have a moment of doubt. Maybe it felt like a blinding flash of clarity; the clouds part and suddenly you see the thing in a new light. But just as quickly that clarity fades, and you are left with a nagging feeling that you’re missing something important. 

Maybe it’s just me. But I don’t think so. I think we all encounter things that we thought were working, until we see that maybe they aren’t.

I think that many of us actually feel that way about our harp technique. We go along just fine for a while and then we hit a wall. There’s a piece or a performance that shakes things up and all of a sudden our technique doesn’t seem so trustworthy any more. We need to strengthen it, to sharpen our skills, maybe even rethink our technique altogether. 

I think that’s the right time to take a step back and look at what we really want from our technique. I’m not just talking about playing faster or with more control or having fingers that work better under pressure. Of course, we want all that. But at the most fundamental level, we don’t want a stronger, more reliable technique itself. We want what that technique will do for us. We want our fingers to make beautiful music.

So today, we’re going to talk about technique a little differently. We are going to look at what our technique should do for us and then look at any changes we might want to make to our technique through that lens. And I have a new way to consider this, with the three s’s. I’ll give you some practice ideas too, and I promise - no exercises today!

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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