Practice tips

  • Participant
    jordan-thomas on #150670

    Hey everyone,

    I was wondering if anyone had any real good practice tips? Or points. I’m having a real hard time having a real good practice session. So what is a good guild line of practicing?

    carl-swanson on #150671

    Jordan- What level are you playing at? Did you just start the instrument? Are you trying to get into more difficult pieces? Do you have a teacher right now?

    rosalind-beck on #150672

    Jordan, “The Musician’s Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness” by Gerald Klickstein is a book that will tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about practicing and becoming a performing artist.

    Jerusha Amado on #150673

    I have to concur with Rosalind concerning Klickstein’s book–great reference material!


    jordan-thomas on #150674

    I”m at the college level I’m at the Peabody Conservatory playing Salzedos Variations and Maid with Flaxen Hair

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #150675

    Ask your teacher if she has a copy of Salzedo’s article on successful practicing. It will guide you well. It has been republished at least once in the American Harp Journal, I think, so if you check their online index, you should be able to find it in your library.

    The main key is drilling, ten correct repetitions of each tiny unit of music, two beats or more. The key to making that successful is paying attention, being thoughtful, mindful of what you are doing. There are many approaches. You can take any aspect of the music and focus on that. You can focus on one finger at a time. You can focus only on movement.

    Debussy is the hardest composer to practice well. There are not a lot of notes, but so much is happening. The Variations are a little more obvious.

    You can practice for rhythm, dynamics, voicing, counterpoint, tone quality, finger action, position, evenness, removing effort, strength, quietness, legato, sostenuto, etc.

    Or are you just talking about your callouses when you say practice tips?

    vince-pierce on #150676

    Hey Jordan,
    I might not be telling you anything you don’t already know, but this is what I do: I warm up using the conditioning exercises (Ms. Chalifoux got me started on those), and I sometimes use the Harpist’s Daily Dozen. I also do small chunks of practice and take short breaks in between, so I can keep my focus. A lot of times when I break I’ll listen to recordings of pieces I’m working on or I enjoy, which helps motivate and give me an idea of what I want the finished product to sound like. I also always practice in front of a mirror. I hope this helps a bit. Good luck!

    melissa-gallant on #150677

    In between repetitions of difficult passages try closing your eyes and hearing in your mind how you want the music to sound, try feeling the spatial relationships between chord tones away from the harp, and also try singing the intervals in chords,

    rosalind-beck on #150678

    Melissa, as you probably know, this process is called “imaging” and is explained in minute detail in the book “The Musician’s Way” I cited above. It is also described in Dr. Carrol McLaughlin’s “Power Performance” book. (Both are available at Imaging is an extremely useful tool employed by elite athletes as well as musicians.

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