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What You’re Not Practicing (and you should be!)

uncategorized Dec 16, 2014

We are coming up to a new year and a time for new beginnings. We make resolutions, committing to creating new habits and achieving new goals.

If you’re like me, you have a stack of new music that you want to learn in the new year. I love the idea of starting something new and exploring the musical possibilities and challenges that I may find.

But are you planning ahead for the finish line? Do you expect, based on past experience, that you will finish that piece and be able to play it to your satisfaction?

If crossing the finish line hasn’t been your experience to date, you probably need to change the way you’re practicing. Ordinary repetitive practice alone will not give you the performance results you are looking for. You need to do what the athletes do, and practice for the finish.

Professional athletes in every sport have rigorous practice schedules. Their workouts, their diets, their sleep routines are all carefully modulated to help them work at peak...

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Are You a Greyhound or a German Shepherd?

uncategorized Aug 25, 2014

Are you a Greyhound or a German Shepherd, musically speaking?

Let me start with a story:

There once was a music teacher who had two students, approximately the same age and skill level. One week, she assigned each student the same new piece. The students were equally excited about learning the piece. When the students came back for their lessons the next week, however, there was a significant difference in their results.

The first student walked in saying, “It was so much fun – I learned the whole thing!” And though the student was able to get through the whole piece, there were countless misread notes, uneven tempos, rhythmic mistakes and thoughtless dynamics.

The second student started by saying, “I made pretty good progress.” This student had only learned the first section. It was very slow, but all the details were there: fingering, dynamics notes and rhythms. Good progress, yes, but it would clearly take many weeks before the end of the piece...

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Kaleidoscope Practice is here at last!

uncategorized Jun 21, 2014

Kaleidoscope Practice: Focus, Finish and Play the Way You’ve Always Wanted

Have you ever felt stuck in your practice? You know the feeling, the one where you believe that the music will never get any better. You don’t know what to practice; you don’t even want to practice any more.

Or maybe you just need a new approach, something to put the spark back in your practice and playing. You would like someone to show you how to do better practice in less time, so that you can get on with the rest of your busy life and not feel guilty about it.

The Kaleidoscope Practice system is designed to help you solve those practice dilemmas. This revolutionary way to look at music practice frees you from rote learning and mindless repetition. It uses five focus areas to direct your practice to learning the music, not just the notes. Yes, music practice can be musical! And because Kaleidoscope Practice is directed to helping you actually finish your pieces, you will learn more music...

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May 2013

uncategorized May 06, 2013
In this issue:
Breaking News
Q and A with Anne Sullivan
Summer performances
Harp in the Mountains Festival I nsider Focus for May
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Breaking News… Watch for the May/June issue of Harp Column Magazine, with part one of a two-part series dedicated to tuning, written by Anne Sullivan. Don’t miss it!
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Featured on the Harp Column Website: Q and A with Anne Sullivan.
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Allow Enough Preparation Time in Your Music Practice…

…or, You Can’t Rush the Pig

Trying to hurry through your music practice? When practicing music for a concert, or even for your weekly lesson, it is vital that you allow yourself enough preparation time.

Lately in this blog, we have discussed how to create your personal musical vision statement. This process includes setting intermediate goals as steps toward your ultimate vision, each goal with a specific time frame. Today, I would like to remind you how important it is to give yourself enough preparation time, and give you some guidelines for success in figuring out how much time you need.                                     © DerL –                                                               ...

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Competition Tips from the Judges’ Table

uncategorized Jul 25, 2012


Recently, I was privileged to be a judge at the Young Artists’ Harp Competition in Rabun Gap, Georgia. If you or your students are planning to enter a competition, these are some tips from the judges’ table that will help you make your best impression.

There’s an old Joni Mitchell song called “Both Sides, Now.” I couldn’t help recalling it when I watched all those talented young harpists play their hearts out for the judges. Although it has been many years, I too was a contestant once. And even though it has been a long while and I have judged other competitions, I can still feel what it was like to step on that stage knowing this was your one chance to get everything right.

So I offer to all the hopefuls four tips from my experience as a contest judge:

1. What a judge listens for. Your performance should reflect thorough preparation, meaning correct notes, solid technical skills necessary for...

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