hello, i am having a very hard time practicing my harp. i been playing for about seven to eight years and its still so hard for me to sit and play. i love playing harp and im very skilled and talented. its something i never want to give up. i had many set backs and obsticles in my life but i dont want that to be my excuse for not advancing. i was raised in the city surrounded by poverty and i picked up harp at a public city school and the harp teacher immediately start giving me free lessons because she saw something in me. now,
my goals are to become a professional harpist and to teach. i going to get my masters and hopefuly have my own music school. its like my harp is there but i can never get enough strength to get up and practice. i would play my harp a little then get so frustrated and down and just stop playing. i start thinking about my lack of practicing and how bad it is not to practice.
If you feel you need discipline, and easily become frustrated when at your harp. perhaps if you took a break after a half-hour, and listened to a recording of a harpist playing the same genre that you are in (classical, folk, sacred, popular, whatever) while you had a cup of a stumulating beverage (for me, it’s tea) and nibbled on some dark chocolate (they say this is nutritious for us) it may make you want to go back to your harp. Slowly but surely work out the rough spots that bothered you, while learning all you can about the harmony of those spots such as chord symbols and progressions. With more knowledge of what is on the page, the inspiration of the harp recording,
Excuse me, but something sounds fishy about this original post. You’re a senior in college and a music major and you have never figured out how to practice? In addition, your own appraisal of your ability is that you are “very skilled and talented?” Something here just doesn’t add up.
Although I agree with Carl, I imagine this isn’t so uncommon. For instance, take a young prodigy. He is skilled, talented, and playing advanced pieces. The thing about many prodigies, however, is that they fizzle out – and a lot of research says that they fizzle out because they reach a point in their musical studies at which they must learn to actually work to produce the high quality results that have been flowing effortlessly and naturally for years, and that roadblock is very discouraging. The same thing actually happened to me this past year, but not in music (and I was by no means a prodigy in the field). It sounds like the same situation here, and would also explain why the student hasn’t learned how to properly practice.
I don’t really have any advice that would be worth giving if you truly have not learned how to practice, since that information is best conveyed in person and other the course of many lessons instead of one written forum posting. However, it sounds like if you learn how to practice in such a way that you continue getting satisfactory results, that will help. However, I really don’t know what to say about motivating yourself to practice. Perhaps if you learn to practice properly and see results, you will become more motivated.
Sam- Nice post, and it was great seeing you at the conference BTW. I have a slightly different theory about why many prodigies fizzle out. There are many skills that are needed to play a musical instrument and a prodigy has many or all of them built into his or her system. A natural manual dexterity, an extraordinary memory, incredible hand/eye coordination, a natural ability at sight reading, with all these skills being naturally far above the normal student. So the prodigy, when he or she practices, achieves far more in the same amount of practice time than the rest of us mortals.
But having all of these skills doesn’t necessarily mean that the prodigy loves music or making music. They can have the skills, but the love of music that is the engine that drives a performer just isn’t there. So as child prodigies, they may bask in the attention that their abilities give them. Or they may play the instrument just because there is a lot of pressure to do it. When they reach adulthood, they realize that they just don’t enjoy it and are not self-driven to pursue music and that’s when they fizzle out. They may also enter adulthood realizing that music deprived them of a childhood and be very resentful. I can name a half dozen harp child prodigies that I knew who were incredibly talented and then, around the age of 20 or 21, gave up the harp, got married to the first guy that came along, and sold the harp. Several of them, years later, came back to it as amateurs or semi-professionals, a mere shadow of what their potential had been as children. The most recent case of this is the young Russian woman who won Israel several years ago. She sold her harp and entered a convent.
I think a lot of those prodigies who start very young also rely (and get promoted) on the fact that this adorable kid is playing the Tchaikovsky violin concert etc., and the industry and audience only require that they be young, preferably cute, and play technically difficult music with hoops to jump through. Not required to develop musicality, indeed there might be no time since they need to cash in on this kid before puberty and need to ramp up the repertoire to hit the tour, once they outgrow the child prodigy appeal they might not be complete enough musicians, assuming they can still stand to even look at the instrument at that point.
There’s a good blog post on child prodigies at http://dropera.blogspot.com/2012/01/about-those-child-opera-singers-heres.html. It focuses on child singers, the worst case since so many of their voices are physically ruined from overuse.
i have tried to schedule my practices and sometimes, thats what makes me angry aswell because as soon as i miss one, i immediately beat myself up for it. but i missed it because i didn’t do what you say do which is go to the harp no matter what so i’ll start doind that. thank you so much for the helpful advice.
Kreig- I think you’re absolutely right and actually that fits well within the theory that I posted. What you describe is the pressure that is put on these kids when they are most salable. It seems to me that the child should be the one to decide the pace and intensity of his/her musical studies. If the kid is really talented, the talent will be there and waiting when the kid gets older and makes the decision to pursue music seriously.
- The forum ‘Professional Harpists’ is closed to new topics and replies.