Harp Column Academy CROSS-TRAINING

etudes and exercises for every harpist

July 29–August 2, 2019

Learn the exercises Harp Column Academy artists have created to develop technique and musicianship. Topics include strength building, arpeggios, scales, rhythm, improvisation, and creating your own exercises. Discover approaches for specific etudes from Bach, Pozzoli, and Hasselmans. Plus, conquer your nerves with bonus lessons on performance anxiety!

From Celtic to classical approaches, this summer’s curriculum might include videos you wouldn’t normally click on. But we recommend you try every video, no matter your background! You will discover new ideas that expand your technical ability and musical creativity. Sign up to receive our motivational daily emails all week long!

Day 1 lessons are FREE all week long! (Scroll down to watch free lessons)
To keep watching, join Harp Column Academy for full access to our complete library of over 350 harp tutorials.

Day 5

Today’s top technique tip:

Use your ears, not just your eyes

“Try not to stare at your hand . . . It’s always good to isolate your ears so that you can actually listen and find comfort in listening rather than in your eyes.”

—June Han, from “2 exercises for scales”

Arpeggios

“By changing the shape of the arpeggio, we’re stretching our fingers in different ways and we’re breaking muscle memory . . . to strengthen all of our fingers equally.”

Rhythm

“Doing any kind of focused rhythmic work like this . . . strengthens our rhythmic core in a way that’s applicable to anything you play.”

Improvisation

“This is your chance to be creative!”

Create-Your-Own

“Make up a rhythm that’s harder than the one you actually have to do. . . . That will force your fingers to act differently and control themselves far better.”

Scales

Learn June Han’s exercises to strengthen scale cross-unders.

From the Repertoire

“If you try to bring [the melody] out too loud, it actually shortens the value of the note because it will come out as an accent. . . .You have to create an illusion of ringing.”

Day 4

Today’s top technique tip:

Articulate quickly even when playing slowly

“Whether the note is a . . . 16th note or a whole note . . . the articulation is instantaneous. Instead of thinking ‘I’m going to play slowly’ and playing with a very slow or very labored articulation, instead think . . . ‘I’m going to play a quick note with a lot of space before I play the next quick note.’ And then . . . your hands are developing this very consistent, very immediate, and very responsive articulation.”

—Lynne Aspnes, from “Pozzoli Etude no. 1”

Strength Building

“It’s not about the amount of repetitions you do, it’s about the quality.”

Rhythm

“[This exercise] is a great way of challenging our minds and our hands!”

Improvisation

Learn Kim Robertson’s “musical sandwich” exercise for improvising with arpeggio patterns.

Arpeggios

“As always, when I’m doing technical exercises, I want to incorporate as much . . . musicality as I can.”

Scales

Use this “toolkit” of exercises from Nicole Brady to strengthen your crossovers and crossunders.

From the Repertoire

Learn Lynne Aspnes’s secrets for articulating quickly and working Pozzoli’s first etude up to speed.

Day 3

Today’s top technique tip:

Avoid Excess Motion

“If you move too much in any direction, you’re actually slowing down your eventual ability to play a scale quite quickly, which is what you want in the long term.”

—Nicole Brady from “8-note scales”

Arpeggios

“When we go up we have a position that enables you to go high [with] the thumb driving upward; when we come down . . . aim to shoot low with your second finger.”

Rhythm

“This melodic [scale] is going to shift [rhythmically] every [repetition] and therefore strengthen a different finger [every repetition] as we move up and down the harp.”

Improvisation

Learn to create beautiful improvisations by combining Kim Robertson’s “heartbeat” etude and large interval exercise.

Create-Your-Own

Use Nicole Brady’s demonstration of the 8-note scale to create your own scale exercises focusing on maintaining beautiful position and efficiency of movement.

From the Repertoire

“. . . I’m moving the thumbs towards the column and fingers into the hands so [my fingers] look like spiders legs on the strings while maintaining a very calm palm. . . . That’s what allows you to have a really controlled, even legato throughout this prelude.”

Bonus

“You’re playing for people, not playing in front of people—there’s a difference.”

Day 2

Today’s top technique tip:

Develop fluency with placing chords

“It’s really useful to first place the fingers [on the strings] and then come off the harp, holding that position, much like a cookie cutter . . . you have its firm shape, and you can put it right into the cookie dough (in this case our strings) over and over and over. . . . And then you can practice going from the soundboard up to make the cookie cutter and then place it on the strings. And that process is something you want to speed up [to be] something you can do in your sleep.”

—Nicole Brady from “Chords”

Strength Building

“By doing [this] exercise, you’re actually conditioning your hand and creating each individual finger [to behave] like an instrument, and this is really the secret of good tone on the harp.”

Intervals

“You’re working for tone . . . You’re looking for that beautiful sweet spot on your string and once you start actually playing tunes you’ll have done all this groundwork and your fingers will be confident in where they’re going and how hard they’re supposed to pull.”

Improvisation

“The secret with the right hand is to also copy that heartbeat feeling so [the two note intervals] are not equal. You don’t want it to sound like an exercise, you want it to sound like music. . . like that feeling of a heartbeat.”

Create-Your-Own

Use Nicole Brady’s basic troubleshooting techniques to customize your own exercises for developing fluency playing chords.

From the Repertoire

“When you are in the learning process, it’s very important that you look ahead of the next notes and you try to grab them all at once. . . .We need to make sure the right hand is not lazy”

Bonus

“The problem comes in when we equate the way we play the harp with our value and worth as a human being. . . . We have to . . . separate the two.”

Day 1

(Day 1 is FREE during the entire week of cross-training, July 29–August 2 2019!
For complete access to all the videos, join Harp Column Academy now.)

Today’s top technique tip:

Maintain space between 2nd finger and thumb

“If I play and I start to [collapse the space between my thumb and second finger], this weakens my thumb. And this is true in every scale you’ll ever play. You don’t want that [collapsing]; you want this open hand that maintains that [open space], and then you close efficiently and beautifully.”

—Nicole Brady from “4-Note Scales”

Strength Building

“You really only play as good as your tone!”

Rhythm

“I constantly count out loud, and I recommend that you do the same to make sure that your hands are getting placed exactly where they should be.”

Improvisation