from ordinary to extraordinary

Home Forums Coffee Break from ordinary to extraordinary

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
  • #110954
    Irene C

    I want to improve so here is my concern. . .

    I have


    Hi Irene,

    Have you listened to lots and lots of good, musical harpists? Have you listened to recent recordings of Isabelle Moretti? There are other very musical harpists out there…..Kerstin Allvin is one as well. (high heel records on CD baby). I think the more you listen to very musical playing on your specific instrument, the more you know how to approach the instrument in that way. Of course, you have to be a musical person — and I’m sure you are. But I am really a strong believer in lots and lots of listening.



    I agree entirely with the above post. But musical expression is also an issue of technique. Technique is not simply the ability to hit the notes. It’s the ability to play them the way you want. When I teach students at the lower levels, the first couple of times we encounter a ritard for example it is uneven and lumpy. The slow down too quickly or too abruptly. So it’s a matter of practicing a controlled ritard and learning how to pace it. The same with a crescendo. The first time you try to do an even crescendo, the first few notes will be quiet and then abruptly the next ones will be loud. These are issues of technique. You have to be able to control how each note or each group of notes comes out. So you may have musical ideas that you want to express, but you have to have the control and technique to express them. Otherwise they simply won’t come out. My suggestion is that you focus as much on technique, especially etudes, as on your pieces, and when you play the etudes, fool around with dynamics and tempo so that you learn to control those things. Then when you go back to your pieces, you’ll have the control to do what you want musically.


    Carl, you are absolutely right. The wisest thing I ever heard was actually from an art teacher: “Discipline is Freedom.” We as musicians could change it to “Technique is Freedom.” Effortless playing is only the result of effortful (is that a word?) practicing.


    You need to spend a lot of time with your music away from the harp.

    Irene C

    Thank you all for the suggestions.


    Critically important is to really listen to every detail of every sound you make.


    One thing that also helps bring the piece “off the page” is thinking of images or emotions that illustrate the intentions of the composer, and trying to put these across to the audience. As Carl said, this can’t happen effectively if the tools aren’t there to begin with. It’s just like building a house; the foundation comes first, then the structure, then the decorations. But even a beginner can play musically if they think of music as expression rather than notes.


    Oh AMEN, Elizabeth!!!!!!!!


Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.