I was having a discussion with several of my harp students this week. They each had a 'performance' of some sort coming up and asked me about calming your nerves before hand. Here are some of the tips we discussed.
* Be prepared. Know your music inside and out. This might include memorizing it.
* Practice your music starting in different places. Do not always start at the beginning. This will actually help you know the music better and also teach you different starting places.
* Move your harp to another room, change the lighting, wear different shoes!
* Play for your friends. Tell them you are getting ready for a special event and you need different experiences playing for others.
* Remember to have fun. I do not tell people "good luck". It is about enjoying playing and sharing the music with others.
* One student told me "I play my piece just fine until Mr. Smith comes in to listen." So, when you are at your event, focus on your own space, just you and your harp. Do not put yourself across the room where Mr. Smith is, just stay in your own place.
I hope these tips are helpful to you. If you have some tips of your own, let me know and I will publish them in a future edition of my e - zine, HARP MATTERS.
I'm not a pro, I just play in church and a wedding or two."
I ran across this pedal harp the other day, as you can see, it was dropped at one time. Could it be that it has not been repaired is because the owner does not carry insurance on the harp? On an instrument which has a replacement value of $30,000? Sadly, one day the poor owner of this harp may come home from work to find it in pieces on the floor. Please folks, insure your instruments, I promise the cost of the insurance will not drain your savings account.
I am excited to tell you that I have been preparing a radio show called:
"Harp Matters, Matters of the Harp" !
The show will run from August 22nd to December 30th and will play on Monday mornings at 10:30 (Eastern time) and Friday afternoons at 2:30 (Eastern Time).
It will be featured on Owens Community College Radio (OCCR), the Music Business Technology degree student run radio station at Owens Community College. You can listen online or you can download the OCCR App. Here is the link: http://www.owens.edu/fpa/owensradio.html
Special "Thank you" to my producer, Ms. Yvette Stephens. Couldn't do it without you, Yvette!
Recently, I attended the annual Summit of the Music and Entertainment Educators Association in Washington, DC. It was an exceptional and inspirational weekend. I met many new colleagues from across the United States and beyond while heard a number of keynote speakers. Among the speakers included folks from places such as the US Copyright Office, Sound Exchange, Peer Music Publishing and the Recording Industry Association of America. During a time when we hear of "The Arts" being cut or reduced from schools, I was especially taken by just one sentence from one of the speakers. Although the speaker was talking about music in particular, this carries over to all the arts. He said: "Everyone uses what we do." Think about it. Use it if someone challenges you about the value of the arts.
Thoughts for a February Friday... Most of my harp students are adults; those who "always wanted to play the harp." We have a great deal of fun.
One of the challenges for adult students is the idea about playing with or for others. Young students typically are in a studio which presents a recital or two a year, but this is just anot a good fit for adult students. Let me offer some 'performance' ideas for adult students. * Play for your family. Perhaps they are visiting for a special occasion or they are just over for dinner. Tell them you would like to play a little concert for them during dessert! * Play at your church. Most churches will be thrilled to have you play a few harp tunes during the Prelude time before the service. No matter what, they always love you in church! * Plan a special sharing of talents with a group of friends. Perhaps you have some friends who are also taking music lessons. Ask them to come together in one place and all will share a musical number or two. What better encouragement than that from your friends who are coming from a similar place as you! * Join or create a Harp Circle or Harp ensemble in your area. Harpists are often so isolated, and it is so much fun to get together with others to play music! * Attend a harp festival or harp camp (maybe The Harp Gathering!). This is another chance to get together with other harpists to play, perhaps in a 'jam' or even an ensemble experience. Drop me a note (email@example.com), and tell me of the playing experiences you have enjoyed as an adult student of the harp. I will share them here on the blog! Oh, and Think Spring!
Thoughts for a Thursday... Technology has made it available for composers and arrangers (including myself) to publish their own music compositions and arrangements. I see a lot of music because I write for this blog as well as for two, quarterly publications. Based on my experiences, I would like to offer a few 'tips' . . .
* Be sure to consider page turns when setting up your lay-out. If you have to move a measure or two over to the next page, or vice-versa, it is well worth it to those playing your music. * When you choose the paper to print on, be sure it is heavy enough so that the music does not show through to the other side. * Find someone to look at your creation and give you feed-back. It could be another harpist, or even another professional musician. (plus it is great to get that encouragement as you go along!) * If you are un-sure how to properly notate all or part of your creation, seek help from someone. Again, it might not even be a harpist, just someone who is knowledgeable about how to notate music properly. * When you publish your wonderful creation, be sure to include your copyright information, as well as contact info so people can find you. Someone may need more copies, or maybe they want to ask you any variety of questions!
Perhaps you have other challenges as an arranger/composer. Please drop me a note and we can chat and share more ideas!