The GPS that we use everyday stands for Global Positioning System. It is a system of 24 satellites that orbit the earth, emitting radio signals. The GPS receiver in your car collects those signals and decodes them. If the receiver can detect signals from as few as three of the satellites, it can determine your location.
When you’re feeling lost, discouraged or in need of direction, musically or in another area of your life, you can use a different kind of GPS to get back on track. This three-step system will help you focus on where you are, where you want to go and how to get there.
Scenario #1: You go to a concert and hear a fabulous performance. You read the biographical information in the program and learn that the performer began studying at age 3. This player was also privileged to go to the best music schools and study with the greatest masters. You took piano lessons when you were ten years old but quit. You just got back into music study as an adult. You...
Deciding on a college can be nerve-racking. There are so many things to consider. Here are some of the tips I share with my students to help make their decision easier. At the end of the post, you will find a link to a free College Choice Planner PDF file you can download.
Phase one of the college choice process is the research you must do to decide which colleges to apply to. First you need to identify your career goal or goals. Then begin your research by looking for people who have careers like the one you want for yourself. For instance, if you want to play in a professional orchestra, find out who plays in those orchestras now. Read their bios. Find out where they went to school and who their teachers were. Do they teach somewhere? Do their teachers still teach somewhere? Record your answers.
You will likely see some names of teachers or schools appearing often on your list. Those schools or teachers have successfully trained their students for professional careers. They...
This is part four in a four-part series of posts designed to help you solve difficulties you may come across in your everyday practice. With a repertoire of techniques at your disposal, you can learn to solve nearly any practice difficulty. If you are not already a subscriber to HarpMastery, you can email me to receive the other posts in this series by email.
This post shows you techniques to try when two-handed chords are slowing you down.
Why this works: By removing some of the complexity, you can begin to master the passage, adding one note at a time.
What to do: Play the passage with either hand alone. Then add in the top note of the other hand and play again, keeping the tempo steady. Repeat the steps, this time adding the bottom note of the other hand. Add in two notes and then three as you become more proficient. See the example above.
One of the most common complaints of musicians and classical music fans alike is about the disparity between professional classical music and professional sports. Whether you look at salaries or ticket sales or audience sizes, classical music feels hopelessly undervalued. We wonder why this timeless art form that represents so much talent and achievement should be almost totally eclipsed in the popular culture.
With the biggest football event of the year coming up, I thought I would share some interesting intersections of sports and music. These are brief glimpses into the lives of three men, all of whom have played professional football, and all of whom share a love for classical music.
1. Max Starks: Pittsburgh Steelers, #78, Tackle. Height: 6-8 Weight: 345 Age: 31
“I’m sorry, Coach, I won’t fumble again.” No, Max Starks didn’t say this at football practice with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he did say that to the conductor at a Pittsburgh...
There is a simple equation for success. Not that success is simple; it isn’t. But the formula is not at all complicated. And the formula is the same, whether you want to be a successful musician or a successful auto mechanic.
What is success? Is it superstardom? I don’t believe most of us yearn for that. For most of us, success is being good at what we do. We don’t need to be superheroes. We just want to be proud of our accomplishments, and to have others recognize the value in what we do. We want to achieve a goal.
The formula for success is this: Patience + Diligence = Success
This formula is not revolutionary, but you can use it to revolutionize any aspect of your life and to be successful. Here is a brief look at each element of the equation.
1. Success: You must have a clear and realistic idea of what success looks like for you at that moment. Understand where you are and where you want to go. Perhaps you are learning to play the piano. A...
This is part three in a four-part series of posts designed to help you solve difficulties you may come across in your everyday practice. With a repertoire of techniques at your disposal, you can learn to solve nearly any practice difficulty. If you are not already a subscriber to HarpMastery, you can email me to receive the other posts in this series by email.
This post shows you techniques to try when one passage is a persistent trouble spot. Perhaps the passage is the one part of the piece that you can’t get up to tempo, or perhaps the notes or fingering are awkward. These techniques will help!
Why this works: Sometimes one passage just takes longer to prepare than the rest of the piece. By playing through the piece, but keeping that one passage slower, you can build in confidence and focus. The slow-motion time warp will help you begin to incorporate the difficult spot in a...
I don’t watch much television. There are some shows I love, (NCIS, I Love Lucy reruns, and Turner Classic Movies) and many I don’t. And it’s my personal policy never to watch celebrity reality shows or awards shows, not even the Grammy awards.
But although I won’t watch the Grammy’s, I do like to know what classical artists and recordings made the nominations list. I thought I would pass on a few of this year’s more unusual nominees that interest me. You can find the Grammy awards list here. (The classical music entries start in the 70’s.)
In 1991 I had the opportunity to be part of a landmark recording of Harry Partch’s opera “Revelation in the Courthouse Park.” It was my first exposure to the music of this free-thinking musical pioneer. Partch was no mere composer. He attempted to create a completely new tonal system, devising his own set of instruments, since conventional instruments...
This is part two in a four-part series of posts designed to help you solve difficulties you may come across in your everyday practice. With a repertoire of techniques at your disposal, you can learn to solve nearly any practice difficulty. If you are not already a subscriber to HarpMastery, you can email me to receive the other posts in this series by email.
This post shows you practice solutions to try when a passage won’t work hands together.
Why this works: Often the difficulty of hands together is in the amount of information that you’re trying to process at once. If you gradually work in some of the other hand, you increase the difficulty by small degrees only, working up to hands together in little steps.
What to do: Play each hand separately. Fix any technical issues in each hand alone. Start putting hands together by playing one hand alone and...
Auditions are horrible. If you’ve ever taken one, even an audition for the school chorus, chances are you had shaky knees, butterflies in your stomach and a head full of doubts. And if your auditions are of the kind where you feel that your whole future is in the balance, the nerves and upset might be a thousand times worse. And that doesn’t help your audition performance.
I have taken many auditions in my life, with varying outcomes. But as a teacher, I analyze audition preparation, performance and results through a different lens. I want my students to be prepared for the challenge, to be able to do their best and to come through the experience, no matter the results, with an attitude that will enable them to move forward.
For me the attitude is more important than the results. If the audition is successful, meaning that they “win,” then I want them to be able to analyze how they created the opportunity for them to win, so that they can have a blueprint for...
1.Metronome gives a consistent beat The metronome was patented in 1815 by Johann Maelzel (1772-1838). He described it as an “Instrument/Machine for the Improvement of all Musical Performance, called Metronome.” His design was suspiciously similar to an 1814 mechanical musical chronometer developed by Dutch inventor Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel.
2. The word metronome comes from the Greek words metron (measure) and nomos (regulating).
3. “Artists are going to be the metronome of society.” – Yoko Ono , artist, peace activist, experimental musician.
4. The metronome would not have been possible without the pendulum studies of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642).
5. Flutist/composer Johann Joachim Quantz used the human pulse as a reference point for tempo, using a rate of 80 beats per minute. (Versuch einer Anweisung die Flote traversiere zu spielen, 1752).
6. Beethoven was one of the first composers to...