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Practicing Harp Happiness

#017: Choose Goals You Can Meet [Goal Setting For Harpists 2]

The first step in achieving a harp goal is believing you can achieve it.

On today’s show I interview Houston harpist and Harp Mastery® Certified Coach Caitlin Mehrtens. Caitlin is expert at helping her students succeed and she shares her advice on how to choose the right goals for you, as well as the two most powerful factors for success. You’ll also learn when to take a step back and refocus so you can move forward. This is a must-listen episode!

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

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#016: The Four Levels of Goals [Goal Setting For Harpists 1]

Do you resist setting goals for your harp playing?

Maybe setting goals feels like it will stifle your creativity or take the fun out of your harp playing. Maybe you think goals are only for “serious” harpists.

Today’s show reveals why goals are crucial for every harpist who wants to improve. You’ll learn the 3 types of goals, the 4 levels of goal setting and I’ll give you my exclusive Progress Planner so you can map out each step toward your goal.

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

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#015: Do You Fall Into the Practice Gap? [3 Steps to Finishing Your Music Faster]

Have you spent weeks or months practicing your piece and it still isn’t ready to play? You have fallen into the Practice Gap!

The Practice Gap is the divide between making your music better and making it music. If you’re taking longer than four weeks to finish a piece, you’re in serious danger of being stuck on the wrong side. Revamp your practice system so you never have to worry about getting tired of your piece before you can actually play it.

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

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#014: Taming The Terrible Thumb [3 Secrets to a Musical Thumb]

Is your thumb timid or a tyrant?

We harpists rely on our thumbs - just try playing a scale without them. They are our longest fingers and undoubtedly our strongest. They double our reach on the harp strings. But how musical are your thumbs?

In this episode, I will show you how your thumbs can be expressive with a supple, fluid sound that can make a melody sing or blend in beautifully with your other fingers, and how to fix common thumb problems.


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

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#013: Master Your Metronome [Do's and Don'ts for Metronome Haters]

Which would you choose: practicing with the metronome or sitting through your kid's favorite cartoon AGAIN?

If the metronome feels like torture, this show will save you from going click crazy. The metronome isn't just for playing fast; it's for creating time to be correct and musical too. You'll learn the proper (and nearly painless) ways to use the metronome - not as a paperweight- and save tons of practice time too! You can play along with me too!  

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

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#012: Three Steps to More Confidence [And Better Harp Playing]

Confidence isn’t something you're born with; it’s something you build. It’s gradually formed from experience. It’s bolstered with successes and sharpened with failures. If lack of confidence is holding you back, you have the whole thing backwards.

In this episode of the show, I’ll share some of my own struggles with self-confidence and the experiences which helped me grow and get stronger. I’ve also helped many students feel more confident in their harp playing and I will show you how you can follow those same steps on your own.

You will discover:

  • The hidden dangers of the “comfort zone.”
  • That it’s not really a lack of confidence that is holding you back.
  • How you can feel more confident when you can’t see any reason why you should.
  • The two most powerful words for building your confidence.

Are you feeling more confident already?

There’s no need to worry. I’m right beside you. Let’s do this!

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#011: Clair de lune [A Harpist's Guide]

music and meaning Aug 02, 2021

Some composers change music forever, Claude Debussy was one of those. 

Debussy is generally credited with the rise of the Impressionist movement in music. The Impressionists focused on the mood and atmosphere of music, conveying it through tone color and flow, rather than sharp musical detail. 

The paradox of this music is that, although it often seems outside of time even without a tempo or pulse, the very formlessness of it is written into the music. Following Debussy’s printed directions is often the easiest way to get the expression you want. You can and should approach this music in the same way you would begin a Bach or Mozart piece - but you need a little more information first.

On today’s show we will explore three features of Debussy’s Clair de lune. You will discover:

  • How Debussy uses them to create the moonlight mood of the piece. 
  • How they reveal Debussy’s intention for the piece.
  • The best practice techniques to employ so that you...
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#010: Beyond Dynamics [3 Keys to More Musical Harp Playing]

Musicality is so much more than dynamics. It is truly our own self-expression, our individuality revealed through our music. In our role as interpreters of music written by others, we often limit ourselves to following the indications the composer has written on the page. But with so many more tools and options for bringing creativity to our music, why should we stop at dynamics?

In this episode, I will reveal three ways in which you can make your music - any piece of music - more musically expressive. You will discover:

  • Why you need to focus on “dimensions” instead of “dynamics.”
  • How to practice playing more expressively whether you’re an expert or a beginner.
  • How adding more expression to your music may be the key to solving some of those trouble spots in a piece.

Plus, I think you’ll learn how to do the most creative and interesting practice you’ve ever done!

Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the...

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#009: Fingers on the Strings [Pointers for Placing]

Placing is the first thing we learn when we start playing the harp. After our first glissando, after we find middle C, our first discovery is that we must suspend our hands in mid-air and that placing is how we stay physically connected to our instrument. But placing brings its own set of challenges.

Are you a “Last Minute Letty,” getting on the right strings at the last second?

Maybe you are a “Not Ready Yet Nellie,” and you make the music wait while you find the right strings.

Or maybe you are a “Fumbling Freddy,” struggling to make your placing clean and correct.

The tips I share In this podcast episode will help you fix your placing issues and learn to help your fingers find the right strings, on time, every time.

You’ll discover:

  • The real purpose of placing, 
  • How to practice proper placing easily,
  • The “Rule of Ones,” my golden rule of placing, and
  • The magical marking that makes it all work.

Let’s get your...

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#008: Harp Playing Hiccups [How to Make Your Music Flow]

I used to worry about getting the hiccups while playing a concert. Fortunately, those hiccups never happened. But I have had plenty of musical hiccups and maybe you have too. It’s time to make our music flow.

Musical flow, or continuity,  can be hard to achieve, if you don’t know how. In this episode, I reveal what you must do to create continuity as well as what you must not do.  If you have struggled making your music sound seamless, expressive and effortless, this is the podcast episode for you. 

You will learn:

  • The three “must have” elements of flow.
  • Practice tweaks to instantly create more continuity in your playing.
  • My four step system that you can use to incorporate more flow from the very first day you start learning a piece.

If you'd like to go a little deeper, my 30 Days to Done course shows you exactly how to use those four steps to take a piece of music from bumpy start to seamless finish, in - you guessed it! - 30 Days. The link...

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