• Summary

  • Is playing the harp harder than you thought it would be? Ever wish you knew the secrets to learning music that only the experts and the eight year old YouTube stars seem to know? Want to finally finish the pieces you start and play them with ease, confidence and joy? Harp Mastery founder and Harp Happiness expert Anne Sullivan believes every harp player can learn to play the music they want the way they want. Tune in as she clears the confusion around topics like fingering, technique, sight reading and practice skills and shares the insider tips that help her students make music beautifully. Whether you’re playing the harp for fun or you’re ready to take your playing to the next level, each Practicing Harp Happiness episode will reveal the strategies and insight you need to fire your imagination, enjoy your practice and love your harp playing.
    Anne Sullivan and ARS Musica
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Episodes
  • Aug 15 2022

    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.

    Let’s turn this around for a minute. What if this were the summer that I really enjoyed my harp playing? Not worked hard at it or put pressure on myself to get to that next level or learn that big piece, but just enjoyed it. I’m feeling the harp happiness buzz already. 

    I hope that sounds good to you too because on today’s show I’m going to share 10 of my favorite ways to create adventure in your summer harp playing - that’s right, adventure.

    Your music could be a time machine taking you to a distant place and time. It could be a magic carpet for traveling to far off lands. It could be the soundtrack to a movie or set the mood for a restful evening. If we stopped working so hard occasionally, quit struggling to get the music right, stopped fixing the music and started experiencing the music, imagine where it could take us. 

    Close your eyes for just a moment and think of one of your favorite pieces. What does it make you think of or where does it take you? How does it make you feel? 

    Today’s podcast is devoted to savoring the music we play. We won’t talk about technique or fingering or dynamics or even about practice. Instead we are going to explore ways to feel the magic of our music and create some musical adventures with it, right now before summer ends. 

    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 podcast@harpmastery.com

    LINKS NOT WORKING FOR YOU? FInd all the show resources here: https://www.harpmastery.com/blog/Episode-065

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    27 mins
  • Aug 8 2022

    Scales are so simple on the harp. 

    Unlike on other instruments all our scales have the same fingering.

    I remember being a young piano student and struggling with the fingering patterns that seemed different for each major and minor key. Those black and white keys caused a lot of fingering complications.

    But on the harp, all our scales are fingered exactly alike. All the changes are in our levers or pedals, not our fingers. It couldn't get any easier. 

    Ironically, this is the reason that many harpists don’t bother practicing their scales. After all, if they are this easy, what could be the benefit?

    Scales, along with chords and arpeggios, are one of the technical building blocks for every harpist. In every piece we play, our fingers need to move sequentially, as they do in a scale. They need to play evenly, smoothly and musically. They need to play fast. And the single best way to develop that level of facility is by practicing scales.

    So why aren’t you practicing your scales? Or are you practicing them but not seeing any improvement?

    As with most things, there are more effective, and less effective, ways to practice scales. On this episode, I will review the most important basics of scale technique. After all, if you don’t know the right way to play a scale, practicing them wrong won’t help. 

    Plus, I’ll share some ways to practice scales that will almost instantly add flexibility and speed to your fingers. Trust me, these scale patterns are fun!

    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 podcast@harpmastery.com

    LINKS NOT WORKING FOR YOU? FInd all the show resources here: https://www.harpmastery.com/blog/Episode-064

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    33 mins
  • Aug 1 2022

    Here is a cry for help that I received from one of our coaching students recently:

     “I'm feeling discouraged because I don't feel that I'm making the progress I want. No fault of my coach, she's excellent! I feel like I'll have really effective practice days then go backwards.” 

    We had a check-in call scheduled, so we were able to talk through some of her concerns, but I think what made the most difference to her was simply knowing that she is not alone, that we all feel this way sometimes, and that the backwards slide is actually a necessary part of the learning process.

    Progress on the harp or any instrument is a very forwards and backwards kind of thing. Often when we feel that nothing is going right, we are on the verge of a big step forward. It's not unlike a teenager's physical growth spurt where the joints hurt and everything seems out of whack and and then all of a sudden, they're several inches taller. 

    It takes some experience to realize that the most powerful moments in our practice are those moments when the piece we've been practicing hard seems to regress. It's usually the signal that we've reached a new level with it. It's frustrating in the moment, and unfortunately it’s the moment when a lot of harpists give up. They put the piece away or even worse, they put the harp away and feel like they’ve failed. 

    None of that is necessary.

    What is necessary is to know how to survive the slump, to help a backward slide turn into forward momentum. Today I want to equip you with understanding, reassurance and practical steps so you can avoid being mired in the practice Slough of Despond.

    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 podcast@harpmastery.com

    LINKS NOT WORKING FOR YOU? FInd all the show resources here: https://www.harpmastery.com/blog/Episode-063

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    35 mins

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