Practicing Harp Happiness:
Music and Meaning Collection
Discover deeper musical connections to inspire every moment of your harp playing.
#068: Mindset Reset: Keeping the Play in Your Playing
Today is Labor Day in the United States. The very first Labor Day was celebrated exactly 140 years ago today on September 5, 1882. It was intended as a holiday for the general working population in recognition of their contributions to the country’s prosperity and strength. At that time it was decided that the celebrations should include a parade to showcase the trade and labor unions and a picnic for the workers and their families.Listen Now
Episode #065: 10 Harp Adventures To Create Before Summer Is Over
Summer is flying by for me, and I imagine for you too. I always make big plans for the summer. I tell myself that this is the summer I will start my Christmas music early or seriously work on my technique or get that recital program memorized. But no matter how good my intentions are, the summer just seems to slip through my fingers without anything to show for it other than a sunburn. It can feel pretty disheartening.Listen Now
Episode #062: Your Guide to Perfect Octaves
Octaves are everywhere. There are very few harp pieces that don’t include octaves somewhere, and with good reason. Octaves add richness to a left hand accompaniment or to a right hand melody. The added resonance of the string played an octave lower or higher makes the entire harp come alive with sound. We harpists love octaves and we play them all the time. So why are they often the hardest intervals to play well?Listen Now
Episode #061: Masterclass: Making Sense of Meter Signature Changes
Has this ever happened to you? You’re sailing along, playing through a new piece. You’re feeling pretty good because the piece is actually flowing along. You can tell you’ve been making progress because a year or so ago, this piece would have felt difficult. Just about the time you’re ready to pat yourself on the back and imagine yourself tackling that piece you’ve always thought was too hard, your playing comes to a screeching halt.Listen Now
Episode #055: Overcoming Fears, Doubt and Misgivings: Take the Long View
What have you done lately that was courageous? I hope you shouted your answer, said it loud and proud. Okay, now answer this one. What would you have done recently if you hadn’t been so fearful? That’s not exactly a “loud and proud” moment. But we all do it; we let our fears, our doubts, our nerves get the better of us.Listen Now
Episode #054: An American Romantic:The Music of Stephen Foster for Harp
Stephen Foster is often referred to as the “Father of American music,” or “America’s first songwriter,” neither of which is strictly true. However, Stephen Foster’s extensive output of songs and the strength of their popularity more than 150 years later attests to the powerful connection his music creates. The homespun appeal of his words and music evokes gentle images of family, home, love and longing that are in sharp contrast to his more difficult reality.Listen Now
Episode #048: Three Questions Your Teacher Wishes You Would Ask
A harp lesson is hard work, for both the student and the teacher. It’s a time to acknowledge progress and challenges, to take what’s going well to the next level and to find ways to make the rough patches smoother. It’s not a performance where your teacher will judge you on how well you play that day. And it’s not a cozy get together for tea and encouragement, although those could be part of a lesson too. A lesson is for learning.Listen Now
Episode #046: Taking A Second Look at Salzedo’s Music
What famous harpist has his 137th birthday this week? Carlos Salzedo, that’s who. This harpist and musical innovator was born in Arcachon, France on April 6, 1885, and on today’s show I would like to introduce you to a side of his music you may not have encountered, including some music not only playable but even suitable for lever harp. Before we get started, you will need to know a little of my own background.Listen Now
Episode #043: Three Irish Composers You Should Know (But Probably Don’t)
It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, a day which is important to many of us, not just because we’re Irish (my last name is Sullivan, after all) or maybe just Irish for a day. As harpists many of us raise a glass on St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate the amazing legacy of the Irish harpers and to the modern day harpers who continue this rich tradition.Listen Now
Episode #035: The Genetics of Musical Genre: Do You Have to Choose?
If all music uses the same basic elements, why do musical styles sound so different? And why do some connect with us so powerfully and others leave us cold?
Some harpists love to experiment with diverse musical styles.Others prefer to stick with what they love. Today’s episode explores elements of musical style. Discover why your favorite music touches you, and learn how to connect with styles new to you. Musical adventures await!
#032: My 2022 Harp Happiness List
I’m going to get a little personal about harp happiness and it will probably surprise you. On this last podcast of 2021 I share my favorite harp moments of the past year and my harp goals for 2022. They aren’t the type of goals you probably imagine. Yes, there are some achievement type goals but there are more esoteric ones too. I hope they may inspire you to decide on some 2022 harp happiness goals for yourself. Here’s to a Happy New Year for all!Listen Now
Episode #030: Conquering Cantique de Noel: An Arpeggio Study
If we harpists had to choose one technical skill to have sharp for the holidays, it would have to be smooth, even arpeggios. Learn four different arpeggio styles and the best practice tips for each, revealed through four different harp arrangements of the beloved Christmas favorite, “O Holy Night.” Whether the arpeggios go up, down or all around in your own favorite arrangement, you’ll discover the strategies you need to make them sparkle.Listen Now
Episode #029: The Adult Harpist: 3 Reasons Starting Late Can Be An Advantage
Slower fingers and mental processes are part of aging but that doesn't mean that music and harp learning needs to be slower too. On this show, Anne reviews the “just for grown-ups” learning techniques which help her adult students experience faster and more rewarding progress.Listen Now
Episode #025: Schubert, Bach or Gounod? Who Wrote Your Ave Maria?
“Which Ave Maria?” I asked the bride. I could see the panic in her eyes. “You mean there’s more than one?” Whether it’s for a wedding, a funeral or Christmas Eve, all of the Ave Maria settings are beloved favorites. On today’s show we’ll discuss the two most requested ones: their histories, similarities, differences, plus practice ideas and performance tips including my secrets for making those awkward rhythms smooth.Listen Now
#011: Clair de lune: A Harpist's Guide
Some composers change music forever, Claude Debussy was one of those. Debussy is generally credited with the rise of the Impressionist movement in music. The Impressionists focused on the mood and atmosphere of music, conveying it through tone color and flow, rather than sharp musical detail.Listen Now
#007: Music of Revolution: The Liberty Song
Music has the power to inspire, to encourage and to unite. No song reveals this more clearly than the one written by a Philadelphia lawyer in 1768.Listen Now
Episode #003: Canon Law: A Harpist’s Guide to the Pachelbel Canon
What’s the one piece any harpist could name after just the first two chords? It’s the Pachelbel Canon of course. Whether you’ve played it a thousand times or have yet to learn it, the Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel has become standard repertoire for harpists.Listen Now