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Harping on Pinterest

I’m new to Pinterest.

It usually takes me awhile to figure out new social media sites, but Pinterest intrigues me. I love to learn about people, places and ideas. I could wade through web pages for hours looking for an elusive bit of information or possibly just exploring, looking for a serendipitous discovery.

And Pinterest is the perfect “bulletin board” for organizing and sharing some of those discoveries.

Today I would like to share just a few of the quotes I have collected about things related to music, music practice and performance and the harp.

I have “pinned” them on my pinboard. Please feel free to share and re-pin. I expect to keep updating the collection as it grows, so don’t forget to check back!

In case you can’t visit the board right away, here are some of the quotes I have pinned so far:

A note of music gains significance from the silence on either side. – Anne Morrow Lindberg

We are what we repeatedly do....

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Why not pretend to be organized?

music miscellany Aug 29, 2012

© Gabriel Blaj – Fotolia.com

I pretend to be organized, and I think you should too.

If you’re one of the few truly organized people, this post is not for you.

But if you’re like me, you want to be organized, but it’s a constant struggle. With concerts, students, family and just daily life moving so fast, there’s no time left for organizing. At the same time, I know I can’t afford not to be organized. I used to feel guilty and embarrassed.

But not any more. I follow three simple rules, and I pretend to be organized.

Before I share my three rules, I want to explain the power of the word “pretend.”

First, there is magic in make-believe. Remember the commercial in which the boy dressed as Darth Vader tried to use the Force on everything in his house? Part of the emotional appeal of that ad was in the boy’s belief in his costume. We have all felt that feeling – when you put on the costume, you put on...

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Allow Enough Preparation Time in Your Music Practice…

…or, You Can’t Rush the Pig

Trying to hurry through your music practice? When practicing music for a concert, or even for your weekly lesson, it is vital that you allow yourself enough preparation time.

Lately in this blog, we have discussed how to create your personal musical vision statement. This process includes setting intermediate goals as steps toward your ultimate vision, each goal with a specific time frame. Today, I would like to remind you how important it is to give yourself enough preparation time, and give you some guidelines for success in figuring out how much time you need.                                     © DerL – Fotolia.com                                                               ...

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The Value of a Personal Musical Vision Statement – Part 2

©iStockphoto.com/AnsonLu

Do you have a personal musical vision statement? By turning your dreams and goals into your own musical vision, you can achieve more, enjoy productive practice time, and take more pleasure in your playing.

In part one of this two-part blog post, I explored the differences between dreams, goals and vision. Here in part two, I will help you create your own personal musical vision statement.

If dreams are the fruit of our imagination, we can think of vision as a dream with a commitment. Your dream becomes a future reality. When it becomes a vision, it becomes a destination, one you can arrive at if you know the route. And goals are your route, your waypoints on the path.

The basic formula is this: Your dream is where you think it. Your vision is where you see it. Your goals are how you do it.

And you start with creating your vision statement. It will be a written statement that commits you to the actions required to achieve your vision within a...

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Musicianship Rule #11 – Practice with Your Brain

©iStockphoto.com/hidesy

Practice with Your Brain, my Musicianship Rule #11, is all about “informing your performance.” It means bringing the best of your musical knowledge to your practice and paying attention to everything on the page. It means going beyond just playing the notes, and seeking to understand everything you are able about the piece of music you are learning.

Over the years I have developed some rules of musicianship that I try to keep in my practicing, performing and teaching. Like Gibbs’s rules on NCIS , my list isn’t complete and it’s completely arbitrary. The rules aren’t always easy to follow, but every time I try to skirt the rules, I pay a price. Sometimes it’s just a little embarrassing; occasionally it’s more painful.

I was caught in a Rule 11 violation this past weekend. I was playing the Tournier “Sonatine” in a church service, the first movement as a prelude, the second movement during the...

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The Value of a Personal Musical Vision Statement – Part 1

Do you have a personal musical vision statement? By turning your dreams and goals into your own musical vision, you can achieve more, enjoy productive practice time, and take more pleasure in your playing.

In part one of this two-part blog post, I explore the differences between dreams, goals and vision. In part two, I will help you create your own personal musical vision statement.                                                   ©iStockphoto.com/AnsonLu

Helping students set goals is an important part of my harp teaching. We all need to have a goal to work toward, an “end” to the practice process. Without short-term and long-term goals, it is difficult to measure progress, or even be fully committed to a practice schedule.

Here near the end of summer, my students and I take some time to set goals for their harp study during the year. At...

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Harp Care When its Hot, Hot, Hot!

We have just survived the hottest July on record, and there’s no reason to expect August to be any cooler. Try these harp care tips to get you and your harp through the dog days of summer.

In the Philadelphia area where I grew up, the three H’s – hazy, hot and humid – are an almost daily constant in the summer weather forecast. And in my parents’ house, we didn’t have air conditioning. There were many days when inside the house didn’t feel that different from outside. All of us complained about the heat, including my harp.

Half the strings broke and the other half sounded terrible. The harp felt sticky. I stuck to the bench when I practiced. It was miserable, but I learned a lot about how to care for a harp when the sultry weather hits.

1. Harps are happiest indoors. This one’s obvious, but you should pay attention to your harp’s indoor environment. Your harp should not be in direct sunlight or in the direct breeze of an air...

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The Aeolian Harp

music miscellany Aug 10, 2012

©iStockphoto.com/marlenka

The Aeolian harp  is a stringed instrument that is played by the wind. It is named after Aeolus, the ruler of the winds in ancient Greek mythology. You have heard one if  you have ever had your harp outside, and heard the breeze play the strings by itself.  Enjoy this short tribute to the Aeolian harp.

The Aeolian harp summerhouse shown here is in Pyatigorsk, in the Northern Caucasus Mountains in Russia. It was constructed in 1828, designed by the Bernardaccy brothers who also designed the town’s mineral baths and fanciful Diana’s Grotto .

The harp inside the pavilion was not strictly an Aeolian harp. Instead of relying on the wind to stroke the strings, the two harps mounted on the floor of the pavilion were played with a device attached to the weathervane on the dome. When the wind turned the weathervane, the device played the strings. The sound could be heard throughout the valley:

On one of the loftiest...

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Don’t Lose Momentum on Your Vacation

No room for a harp!

You deserve a vacation, some time off away from everything, even away from practicing the harp. But how can you make sure you don’t lose momentum when you’re not able to practice for a week or two?

Some instrumentalists have it easy. They can grab the handle on their instrument cases and go.

Not so for us harpists. If you have a little harp or a Harpsicle, you can take that along to keep your fingers in shape. But it won’t really help you practice the Salzedo “Variations”, if that’s the piece on your music stand.

So how can you vacation and not feel guilty about not being able to practice? Let me share a few techniques that I have used to help keep working on technique, repertoire and musicianship when I couldn’t get to an instrument.

1. Technique. Most of us have little finger games that we use to warm up or shake out our hands and arms which improve flexibility, strength and coordination. These at LiveStrong.com are...

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Michael Phelps: The Greatest Olympian of All Time

This past weekend we saw Michael Phelps win his 22nd Olympic medal, earning him the title “Greatest Olympian of All Time.” What does that incredible achievement mean for the other athletes who compete in these and future games? How can they or any of the rest of us ever expect to be “the greatest”?

http://youtu.be/gHFhGDWP9Fs

In sports, it is often easy to identify the great ones. The numbers tell the story. The greatest have faster times, more hits, longer leaps or higher scores than the rest. It makes it easy for us to identify the best.

In music, greatness is usually more subjective. Who was the greatest composer, Bach or Beethoven? Or Mozart? We can point to the numbers of pieces written, or the age of their earliest achievements or the enduring nature of their work, but in the end, “the greatest” is a matter of opinion.

But whether your hero is Mozart or Phelps, there is a question you must answer if you wish to achieve: do the greatest give...

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