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Welcome to harpmastery.com!

Welcome to harpmastery.com, my new blog. This is the place where I hope to inspire your musicianship, strengthen your playing and help you discover new insights about the way you make music and play the harp

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Why am I doing this? Because over my years (okay, decades) of performing and teaching, I find I have a lot of knowledge to share. I used to think I was the only one interested in my ideas about music, music study and playing the harp, but other people seem to find my thoughts helpful, and I’m glad to find this way to pass them along.

Who am I anyway? I’m Anne Sullivan, and I have spent my life learning and loving the harp. I am a harp performer and teacher. Formerly, I taught music theory and ear training at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia for nineteen years. You can find out more on the “About” page.

Lately I have been developing online study courses for harpists to...

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Big Picture vs. Little Picture Practice

aural skills practicing Jun 15, 2012

Sometimes we need a vacation to refresh our outlook on our work.  Last summer, I got the same benefit from someone else’s vacation.  That summer I was teaching Sara, an Italian harp student taking lessons from me while she was visiting relatives in Delaware, and she helped me rediscover some important truths about the way we practice.

©iiStockPhoto.com/narvikk

At home, Sara is expected to have her music for her weekly lesson memorized.  Yes, each week. Memorized.  And she is only a high school student. (Are you feeling like a lazy American yet?) When I was at Curtis, I knew pianists and violinists who were required to do the same thing, but it was easy to brush that off, telling myself that harpists are different. (Obviously, I’m one of those lazy Americans.)

My revelation came when Sara and I started to work on some new material in her lesson.  I watched her learn, just a measure or two at a time, a passage of a difficult piece of...

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