The holidays are over and now it’s time to get back to work. But for harpists January can mean little work and lots of down time. So what better time to tackle those harp projects you’ve been putting off? Maybe you’ve got a list as long as your arm, or maybe you’re looking for ways to get inspired. If so, read on for our Top Ten Harp Resolutions for 2016.
10. Change Bad Strings
How can this not be near the top of any harpist’s January to-do list? Let’s face it, no-one has time to think about changing strings in the heat of the holiday season. Now’s the time to switch out those nylons and wires (techs recommend once a year for this task) and check for worn guts that have seen better days.
9. Learn a New Big Piece
We’re not talking background music or fluffy gig music, but an actual repertoire standard that you’ve been saving “for the future.” Knock knock. The future is calling.
8. Learn a Bunch of Fluffy New Gig Music
Think of it as your dessert for tackling that big piece. Plus, you’re probably sick to death of everything you played last season. (Hint: Hasselmans never disappoints, and you can download a lot of his stuff for free on IMSLP.)
7. Update or Launch Your website
With the myriad of do-it-yourself web building tools out there today, there’s virtually no reason for any musician to be without an up-to-date version of this essential marketing tool. Square Space, Wix, or WordPress (my personal favorite) all offer easy ways for anyone to get started.
6. Market Yourself
Now that you’ve got your website sorted out, think about how you can market yourself to your target audience. Do you want to book weddings? Sign up for bridal shows. Looking for students? Contact schools or local parent groups. Want an orchestra gig? Send out your resume. The phone’s not going to ring by itself.
5. Plan Your Student Recital
If you teach, now is the time to think about hosting a spring recital or masterclass for your students, along with what they will play. Set the date, book a venue, and map out a repertoire plan. If you’re a student, initiate a conversation with your teacher about what you’d like your next performance goal to be.
4. Make an Arrangement
Stay one step ahead of the wedding game this year by trying to anticipate what will be the most-requested new songs of the season. (Have any ideas to share? Post them in the comments here!) Jot down some simple arrangements now so you can avoid scrambling for piano sheet music at the last minute.
3. Digitize Your Library
If you haven’t yet hopped onto the iPad-as-music-reader trend, now is the perfect time. The new iPad Pro has a large enough display to rival actual sheet music. Spend time scanning your library now, and you’ll be a happy camper come wedding season. (Don’t know where to begin? There’s an article for that!)
2. Get Inspired
We’ve all seen those inspirational blogs from sites like Harpmastery, Bulletproof Musician, and—ahem—Harp Column pop up in our Facebook feed. Now’s a great time to re-read and absorb all the excellent advice motivational bloggers have to offer.
What’s the best use of your time in January? Indulge yourself in some real one-on-one time with your instrument and remember why you became a harpist in the first place.