Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year’s Harp Practice Resolutions

1.   When I sit down to play my harp I will have an achievable goal in mind. Some possible goals might be to memorize one phrase of a piece I am studying (not more); play an arpeggio in three different keys such as C, G and D; really study and learn 2 notes above the staff, etc.  Note that the goals are very specific and could each be accomplished in 10 or 15 minutes.   That would be time well spent! Of course, this goal should be reviewed every day until you achieve perfection!

2.   I will spend a minute in contemplation before beginning to practice making sure that I am relaxed.  I will shrug my shoulders a few times to get the kinks out.   I will pay attention to my state of anxiety and make it a point to stop as often as necessary to relax until playing in a relaxed way becomes a habit. 

3.   I will practice, learn, and memorize in small chunks without mistakes.  Every time I play a piece all the way through with the same mistakes (they’re small, right), those mistakes get better and better.  How big is a chunk?  Depending on the piece, it could be one measure or maybe even three – until you get it under your belt.  How many should I play it over and over in a row without a mistake?  Ten the first day – and so on until it becomes natural and easy.  Play it until you can play it without thinking. 

4.   I will decide on one achievable for the yearA goal such as memorizing one piece, or memorizing all the notes on and off the staff and their location on the harp so I can play them at a glance – a technique for improving sight-reading skills.   Make sure you choose a measurable goal.  A goal such as “improve my harp-playing” is not really measurable.  Be very specific in your goal selection. 

5.    I will decide on the one thing I can do that will make my harp-playing experience better – and work it into my daily practicing regimen until it become a habit.  

Harpy New Year!