This is the second in a series of posts focused on how to set - and achieve - goals. Be sure to check out the prior post and read on to the end of this post for a special invitation.
Wouldn't you love to have a technique that you could trust? Fingers that wouldn't let you down, so that you knew that whatever you were playing, you could rely on them to do exactly what you wanted them to do?
There are three disciplines involved in creating that kind of dependable technique. Before you can start working on any of those, however, you need to understand that your technique is only as consistent as your mechanics.
Your technique starts with exactly how you move your fingers, how you hold your body, every physical movement and position necessary to playing your instrument. Mechanics are about consistency and efficiency, using your fingers exactly the same way each time so that there's no wasted movement or insecurity.
Mechanics are not a “learn it once” kind...
Is one of your New Year's resolutions to become a better harpist?
If so, you're not alone. When you think about it, music studies are bound to attract the self-improvement type. Practicing music requires you to be courageous, to face your mistakes, to self-correct over and over again. It's about improvement and progress. But I don't want you to waste a single minute trying to be a better harpist.
The problem with trying to be a better harpist, or a better musician of any ilk, is that you’re already doing that. Each day you practice you are taking another step toward being the harpist that you want to be. Your goal of becoming a better harpist is already in progress, and it likely was last year too.
The question to ask yourself is how can you make the right kind of progress this year, so that you can feel confident about being able to play the music you want? The answer to that question will give you a much more powerful and realistic goal.
BHAG versus VTUG
On a recent My Harp Mastery call we were talking about being relaxed while you play, when one of our members asked this question: “What about my face? It always looks grim when I play?”
That grim look is probably the face of concentration and intense focus. It’s natural, even if it’s not attractive. Forcing another expression, like trying to smile, can actually draw your focus away from the music. A better solution is to keep your mind focused on the musicality you want to convey through your playing. If the piece is sentimental, let your face reflect the calm sweetness of the music. If the music is fast and fiery, an intense expression will help convey that energy. The idea is to bring your entire self into the music you are making, to be totally aligned with it.
This idea of alignment has been on my mind recently in a different way.
I am a harpist not only by desire and training, but as my vocation. It is what I do as part of my personal mission...
Have you ever been sure that you just can’t do it? Maybe the problem is a passage that you can never play correctly or a tempo you think you can never achieve or a skill level that you fear will always be beyond you.
You tried to stay hopeful. You’ve stayed committed, putting in hours of work, but that end result still eludes you. The question that haunts you is this: “What if I just can’t do it?”
We all have doubts like this from time to time and they serve a purpose. They remind us to reassess our goals, plan our paths and direct our work. They can stir us to action when we get complacent. They can nudge us out of unproductive patterns and lead us to achieve. But we can only move forward if we face the doubts and are prepared to challenge them.
If you’re struggling with this, I’d like to show you a different way of thinking, one that will keep your positive energy flowing and possibly even help you find a way to alleviate your worries....