Blog 2019 Fall Retreat Member Login Login

How to Practice Past Obstacles: Redefining Your Limits

There are things you do for your children that you would never have done for yourself. There are icky things, sticky things, difficult things, unusual things. For instance, I am pretty sure my father never would have dreamed about lugging a harp around if I hadn’t needed him to. For my son, I took karate lessons.

I’ve never been much of a sports person and I never would have thought of taking karate lessons for myself. My son was interested in karate but needed some encouragement, so we signed up for lessons together. As it turned out, I really enjoyed it and stuck with the lessons longer than he did. I loved the systematic approach and the discipline that is part of learning a martial art. And I absolutely loved breaking boards.

I know - it sounds like breaking boards would be bad for a harpist’s hands. But it wasn’t. It was only fun. We had a board breaking party one evening at the karate studio and we were all having fun - the little children and the...

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The Easy Way to Choose an Arrangement

“Can you recommend a good arrangement of XYZ piece?”

This is often a difficult question to answer. What makes an arrangement “good” for me, may be the exact opposite of what makes it “good” for you. I may like lots of notes; you would prefer a simpler texture. I may like unusual harmonies; you want something that sounds like you expect. I want chords; you want arpeggios. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

While there are some objective measures of a good arrangement, often the choice is purely a matter of taste. On the one hand, this makes choosing simple. You just have to choose one you like. There are a couple of other important considerations too, however, and even when you get those right, it’s still a bit of a hit or miss process.

Ideally, you would like to buy an arrangement, knowing that it would sound right to you, be playable for you and not take you too long to learn. 

The good news is that it’s easier than ever to find out what an...

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