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Musical Extravagance: The Ultimate Holiday Gift

‘Tis the season of extravagance.

  • Never settle for one string of lights when you could use twenty.
  • You must bake seven kinds of cookies so everyone has their favorite..
  • The wrapping needs to be as impressive as the gift inside.
  • Every corner of the house should sparkle, glitter, glow or twinkle.
  • Overspend now and pay it off next year.

It’s a wonder that we continue to get caught up in the overabundance of the holidays when we repeatedly acknowledge that the spirit of the holiday lies in simplicity and humility. We resonate with the sentiment of “The Little Drummer Boy,” yet we tend to overextend ourselves in our own music making. More impressive, more difficult, more complex seem to be the hallmarks of our Christmas music.

But what if it were just one small musical offering like that of the drummer boy that made an impact, that embodied the holiday spirit, that brought harmony, beauty and joy? What if we worried less about the piece and more about the...

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How Holiday Music Can Make You a Better Harpist

The most wonderful time of the year is here. The decorations, the lights, the parties, the food, the gifts, the music all create an almost magical atmosphere. Surely part of that magic is due to the break from the usual, the temporary release from our everyday routine.

But perhaps you experience a little impatience with it too. I certainly do. I’m always anxious to get back in the groove with my practice and my teaching. 

Everything seems to go on hold during the holidays. While I realize that’s the point, sometimes I have to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the break. One of the things I have found helpful in relieving the itch to get back on track is remembering the ways in which the holidays actually help my harp playing. 

If you’re feeling the pressure of too much gingerbread and not enough progress, maybe my perspective will help you discover how all that holiday harping might truly be moving you closer to the growth you want.

Benefit #1: Change...

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Plan Now for Peaceful Holiday Performances

Plan now for Christmas? You might be thinking that most of your holiday harp playing was planned long ago, possibly in the middle of the summer. I have always liked to prepare much of my holiday repertoire then too. But that’s just the first step.

What I want to share with you today are my three most powerful strategies for making sure that you don’t lose the ground you gained when you started practicing your music. Your holiday playing should be an enjoyable part of your holiday, not a source of extra stress.

For a long time, it seemed to me that no matter how prepared I felt at the beginning of November, things started to fall apart as the weeks went on. I didn’t have as much practice time as I expected, or choir directors added music to their programs, or something unexpected happened that created havoc in my jam-packed schedule. Despite my careful planning, I was harried and stressed.

But then I found the key to eliminating the crunch and the last-minute...

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