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Practicing Harp Happiness

#020: Finger Agility For The Accident Prone: Your Guide To More Facile Fingers

Do you think you’re too old or too uncoordinated to have agile fingers? Think again.

Agile fingers aren’t just for the young or the gifted and they don’t happen by magic. Developing finger facility is key to faster learning and more stumble-free playing. Listen and discover the three things you need to stop doing and the three you need to start doing now to teach your fingers to play with more speed and security at any age.

Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the podcast episode: 

Get involved in the show! Send your questions for future podcast episodes to me at [email protected]

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#017: Choose Goals You Can Meet [Goal Setting For Harpists 2]

The first step in achieving a harp goal is believing you can achieve it.

On today’s show I interview Houston harpist and Harp Mastery® Certified Coach Caitlin Mehrtens. Caitlin is expert at helping her students succeed and she shares her advice on how to choose the right goals for you, as well as the two most powerful factors for success. You’ll also learn when to take a step back and refocus so you can move forward. This is a must-listen episode!

Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the podcast episode:

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#016: The Four Levels of Goals [Goal Setting For Harpists 1]

Do you resist setting goals for your harp playing?

Maybe setting goals feels like it will stifle your creativity or take the fun out of your harp playing. Maybe you think goals are only for “serious” harpists.

Today’s show reveals why goals are crucial for every harpist who wants to improve. You’ll learn the 3 types of goals, the 4 levels of goal setting and I’ll give you my exclusive Progress Planner so you can map out each step toward your goal.

Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the podcast episode:

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#014: Taming The Terrible Thumb [3 Secrets to a Musical Thumb]

Is your thumb timid or a tyrant?

We harpists rely on our thumbs - just try playing a scale without them. They are our longest fingers and undoubtedly our strongest. They double our reach on the harp strings. But how musical are your thumbs?

In this episode, I will show you how your thumbs can be expressive with a supple, fluid sound that can make a melody sing or blend in beautifully with your other fingers, and how to fix common thumb problems.


Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the podcast episode: 

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#013: Master Your Metronome [Do's and Don'ts for Metronome Haters]

Which would you choose: practicing with the metronome or sitting through your kid's favorite cartoon AGAIN?

If the metronome feels like torture, this show will save you from going click crazy. The metronome isn't just for playing fast; it's for creating time to be correct and musical too. You'll learn the proper (and nearly painless) ways to use the metronome - not as a paperweight- and save tons of practice time too! You can play along with me too!  

Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the podcast episode: 

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#010: Beyond Dynamics [3 Keys to More Musical Harp Playing]

Musicality is so much more than dynamics. It is truly our own self-expression, our individuality revealed through our music. In our role as interpreters of music written by others, we often limit ourselves to following the indications the composer has written on the page. But with so many more tools and options for bringing creativity to our music, why should we stop at dynamics?

In this episode, I will reveal three ways in which you can make your music - any piece of music - more musically expressive. You will discover:

  • Why you need to focus on “dimensions” instead of “dynamics.”
  • How to practice playing more expressively whether you’re an expert or a beginner.
  • How adding more expression to your music may be the key to solving some of those trouble spots in a piece.

Plus, I think you’ll learn how to do the most creative and interesting practice you’ve ever done!

Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the...

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#009: Fingers on the Strings [Pointers for Placing]

Placing is the first thing we learn when we start playing the harp. After our first glissando, after we find middle C, our first discovery is that we must suspend our hands in mid-air and that placing is how we stay physically connected to our instrument. But placing brings its own set of challenges.

Are you a “Last Minute Letty,” getting on the right strings at the last second?

Maybe you are a “Not Ready Yet Nellie,” and you make the music wait while you find the right strings.

Or maybe you are a “Fumbling Freddy,” struggling to make your placing clean and correct.

The tips I share In this podcast episode will help you fix your placing issues and learn to help your fingers find the right strings, on time, every time.

You’ll discover:

  • The real purpose of placing, 
  • How to practice proper placing easily,
  • The “Rule of Ones,” my golden rule of placing, and
  • The magical marking that makes it all work.

Let’s get your...

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#006: Minor Keys [A Scale of a Different Color]

 Have you ever thought of your music as having colors?  Or thought about a color difference between major and minor? 

Maybe to you a minor key is just another key.

But to me a minor key is so much more. As a musician, I first learned to listen critically with minor keys. As a teacher, I have seen that minor keys (much more so than major keys) open the door to understanding music theory. And as a harpist, I appreciate minor keys for the creativity they allow me, again more than major keys. And I love the way minor sounds, its tonal color.

Today's episode isn’t just about the facts of minor but also its color - what makes minor sound like minor and what makes it sometimes sound almost like major. Major and minor are more closely related than you might think. But it’s not all rainbow talk today. 

You will also learn: 

  • My 3 number system for making sense of minor key signatures and scales.
  • The 5 essential minor keys for harpists to know. ...
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#004: What Does a Shaky Technique Really Cost You? [3 Surprising Ways Your Fingers May Be Holding You Back]

Fast flashy scales and graceful arpeggios are one sign of a strong harp technique, but they aren’t the only indication.

In fact, even if you never expect to play fast music or super-difficult music, you need a strong technique.

Technique isn’t just for speed. For instance  if you struggle to make your music flow smoothly or be more expressive, these could be signs that you need some technique work. 

In this week’s episode, I reveal the 3 most important reasons - not including speed and security - you need a stronger technique and how to begin developing it without hours of drudgery.

Even if you’ve never been a fan of exercises and etudes,  when you listen to this episode, you’ll discover:

  • How your musical expression depends on your technical level.
  • The skill you need to strengthen to create more flow in your music.
  • How to prepare your fingers for that next piece you want to learn. 

Plus, when you listen, you’ll have access...

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