Tuesday, June 14, 2011

On Playing the Harp

On Playing the Harp by Yolanda Kondonassis
Playing the Harp by Yolanda Kondonassis at amazon.com

I checked this out from, once again, our lovely Inter-Library Loan system and sat down at the harp and read through it tonight.

I wish I'd had this last year when I was trying to figure out the proper positions for my fingers and elbows. Used as a sequel to Method for the Harp, this book has more than enough details and strengthening exercises to help me out.

Some of the tips that stood out:

I'm notoriously bad about counting measures, and am never sure where I am if I lose the beat. I do play well with a metronome, however. Kondonassis recommends

"when using a metronome," ... "playing through a given passage first without the metronome at a reasonable practice tempo. When you have finished, do the exact same passage again with the metronome."

And she recommends switching back and forth each time the passage is practiced.

The Art of Practicing

'Make sure you aren't reinforcing mistakes by trying to play through things "just to get the overall idea."'

That would be me!

Strengthening and Conditioning

"Add volume to your exercises as you would add weights to a barbell."

This is so blindingly obvious now that it's been pointed out to me.

A reassuring thought:

"People err who think my art comes easily to me. I assure you, dear friend, nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not industriously studied many times." - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

And a thought to chew on:

"Music is what happens between the notes." -Claude Debussy

What does that mean?