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  • April 2021 Practice Chat

     Judiann Maddigan updated 1 month ago 7 Members · 70 Posts
  • Judiann Maddigan

    Member
    4 April, 2021 at 12:04 am

    This is the third practice thread, and this time I’m trying something new. Instead of having four separate weekly threads for the month of April, I’m combining them into one monthly thread. We can still discuss our practice goals weekly, and I’ll mark divisions for each new week, but the posts will all be together in this single thread. If it works, then we can start a new monthly thread on the first weekend of May.


    Also, the two earlier practice threads in March were rather formal. That’s my fault because I started them that way ๐Ÿ˜•. It would be more fun to chat back and forth, similar to how the Facebook group runs ๐Ÿ˜€. We’ll see how it goes.

  • Judiann Maddigan

    Member
    4 April, 2021 at 12:12 am

    Week of April 4-10, 2021


    I’ll toss out some questions to start us off.


    How did your practices go last week?


    What pieces will you be playing this week?


    What techniques are you hoping to improve?


    Everyone is welcome to join in, newbies included. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ Let’s talk.



    • Victoria Johnson

      Member
      4 April, 2021 at 2:36 am

      My left hand is back in business after a four day rest, yeah!! Since I did not get to practice a lot last week (due to the infection on one of my fingers on the left hand), I felt like I was making up lost time today and had a really productive practice session today. Let’s see if I will be able to carry the momentum into next week…

      Getting back on Handel’s Chaconne from Suite in D Minor this week. I got variation 2 to a good enough point that I feel comfortable learning variation 3 and 4. I will work on these three variations this week. Will continue to do right hand drills by practicing the first page of Kim Robertson’s Glenlivet. Re-visiting Josh Layne’s arrangement of The Skye Boat Song and wish to record it sometime soon. For technique, I am practicing jumping form one chord shape to another while doing a nice, full hand close.

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        4 April, 2021 at 5:00 pm

        @victoria.johnson Glad to hear your finger has healed. Productive practice days feel great, and we have to remember them for those days that don’t go well at all.

        I’ll look forward to your video of Skye Boat Song. That’s the theme from Outlander. I have a beginner arrangement of it, an appropriate level but boring ๐Ÿ˜ด. I’ll look up Josh’s arrangement, which I’m guessing is awesome but well above my level.

  • Judiann Maddigan

    Member
    4 April, 2021 at 12:26 am

    Later I’ll add my practice list for this coming week. I don’t have it together yet. (Gasp!)


    About last week’s practices, I always start with the best intentions, making a plan and everything. And then… Squirrel!


    Last week’s squirrel was a piece with 1-5-8-9-10 patterns in the left hand. I shouldn’t have even started it, since my 1-5-8 chords aren’t fluent yet. The slightest glimmer of hope kept me practicing it, thinking “Someday, I’m going to be able to play this.”


    Does anyone else get distracted by pieces that are too far above their current level?



    • Victoria Johnson

      Member
      4 April, 2021 at 2:30 am

      @judiann.maddigan I have way too many harp squirrels! ๐Ÿคฃ The pieces I learn tend to take time to get good at, and then I throw myself into some extracurricular harp activities that are equally or more challenging so everything is taking a real long time to play. I am kind of stubborn though and don’t like to give up, so I learned to work with that by giving myself more time to “finish” a piece. If you have listened to my Harp Connections interview with Josh (who is my teacher), I definitely think I’ve fully adopted and embraced his “living with a piece for one year” mentality. When I want to start a piece that is far above my current level, I like to pick a small chunk and work on those for a while as exercises. For example, I am fighting a piece where one hand is doing a three note pattern while the other hand is doing a 4 note pattern, and of course the two hands have to going in opposite directions. I make little exercises out of a couple of measures and I work on them until they “click” for me. I managed to slowly chip away a couple of difficult pieces this way.

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        4 April, 2021 at 5:18 pm

        Yes, I watched your Harp Connections interview with Josh earlier. I was especially interested because I exchanged several emails with him before I even got my harp. He seems like a genuinely nice person. There’s a huge difference in a virtuoso performance that he would spend a year preparing, compared to my slow Celtic air that might be only 16 measures long.

        Thanks for the idea to make exercises out of small chunks of pieces that are too difficult. That’s an excellent suggestion. ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ll try that this week.

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        4 April, 2021 at 6:16 pm

        @victoria.johnson Oops, I should have tagged you in my reply (above). Without a tag, I don’t think you’ll get a notification that someone responded to your post.

        • Victoria Johnson

          Member
          6 April, 2021 at 5:42 am

          @judiann.maddigan Josh is an amazing harpist and a wonderful human being. I signed myself up for the Chaconne for the Harp Column 30 Day Practice Challenge back in January. It is turning out to be a 30 week challenge. Not going for a virtuoso performance myself, just A LOT of harp squirrels. ๐Ÿ˜‚

    • Melisa Kommala

      Member
      4 April, 2021 at 3:19 am

      I’m cackling at the squirrel! I haven’t gotten songs above my level as I know I’ll be way too distracted with them (and discouraged)…

      And also I haven’t forgotten about what you said last week!!! I too am not one for uploading to Youtube. I do take videos every weekend to critique myself and maybe send it to close friends.

      I’m working on Danny Boy and Loch Lomond this week. Hoping to get more music theory studying and wrap my heads around chords… I’ll probably take a video tomorrow for weekly practice. Don’t know about uploading it though

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        4 April, 2021 at 6:02 pm

        @melisa.kommala It’s nice to know I’m not the only one not uploading videos. ๐Ÿ˜

        That’s smart to work only at your level and not beyond. Several teachers have mentioned that is the best way to progress. I have such a hard time resisting the temptation to try harder arrangements, and then I end up frustrated.

        Danny Boy and Loch Lomond would make a nice medley. In last week’s thread, @nancy.beal talked about moving seamlessly from one piece to the next. I’ve tagged her (tags don’t always work here). Maybe she can explain more about how she does that with arpeggios, chord progressions, or whatever.

    • Libby Hitchcock

      Member
      7 April, 2021 at 7:56 pm

      @judiann.maddigan I am Queen of the Squirrels, lol. I finally made myself pick an Ace in the Hole piece each week which helps to reinforce what I am more fluent in and also helps me feel like I am accomplishing something and then I allow myself a challenge piece that may take more time due to length or complexity. While I have been loving the more instant gratification my teacher made me pick a harder easy hits piece this week to work on along with my stretch. My stretch right now is The Grenadier and the Lady. My first 1-5-8 piece! Glad to know I am in good company with my Squirrel collection ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        8 April, 2021 at 11:38 pm

        @libbyhitch I’m working on those 1-5-8 placements, too. I can’t wait until they are as automatic as 1-3-5.

        Which arrangement of Grenadier and the Lady are you learning? Anne Crosby Gaudet has a lovely one.

  • Judiann Maddigan

    Member
    5 April, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    This week’s pieces are Arran Boat Song and Pamela Bruner’s Afternoon Lullaby. I’ll also try the Kondonassis Level I Warm-up.


    I was dithering whether to drop last week’s piece with the 1-5-8-9-10 patterns. However, Victoria had a great suggestion earlier about making exercises out of small chunks. I’ll give that a try.


    I don’t want to get distracted by this week’s squirrel, The Grenadier and the Lady. I’m blaming @libbyhitch for mentioning it in last week’s thread. It’s all her fault. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    This week’s technique is placing 1-5-8 chords accurately and consistently. When I see them coming up in the next measure, I think “Big stretch!” and then I grab one string too many, making it a ninth instead of an octave. The dissonance makes me cringe ๐Ÿ˜–. I need to cure that ASAP.

    • Libby Hitchcock

      Member
      9 April, 2021 at 4:02 pm

      Ha! Sorry for adding yet another squirrel @judiann! I am working on the ACG version and have through the first section of the song/second part of the “chorus” (for lack of better way of describing the parts ACG added). It has been a great practice for my 1-5-8 patterns, and my left hand certainly feels it!

      I added in 2 of Carol Kapuss “magic finger” patterns and reinvigorated my scales as part of my warm up. I learned ACG Gentole Rain last week and my teacher encouraged me to add a second song to the mix so I am also now working on Here Comes the Sun. Rather appropriate for springtime I thought!

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        9 April, 2021 at 6:48 pm

        @libbyhitch So far, I’ve managed to resist Grenadier and the Lady this week by starting Pamela Bruner’s arrangement of Morning Has Broken instead. That one also has 1-5-8 patterns, and I’m hoping it’s easier to do first.

        About Magic Hands by Carol Kappus, I use that system, too ๐Ÿ˜€. I add text to the brackets in MuseScore for her shape labels. I’ve customized things to fit, for example, calling it an “ant” instead of a “short stack” because three letters fits so much easier on a short bracket. I love her system because first, it teaches your hands to automatically place in those shapes, and second, it means you only need to read the starting note of a shape. It really simplifies reading the score that way. Have you gotten into her chord shapes? I haven’t done much with those yet.

        • Libby Hitchcock

          Member
          14 April, 2021 at 12:17 am

          @judiann.maddigan I love the idea of adding shapes in musescore! It’s on my list to get in and become familiar with the software. I just started last week and am taking 2 shapes at a time and then will move into the chords page.

  • Judiann Maddigan

    Member
    10 April, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    Week of April 11-17, 2021

    It’s the weekend, and time to make a practice plan for the coming week. This time I’m borrowing a couple of terms from @libbyhitch . Pick one or more questions, and let us know how your practices have been going. Everyone is invited to join in, including beginners.


    What is your stretch piece for this week?


    What are your ace-in-the-hole pieces?


    Are you currently working on a particular technique?


    Did you start a new Christy-Lyn course this month? How’s it going?


  • Judiann Maddigan

    Member
    11 April, 2021 at 12:48 am

    This week’s technique will be Carolyn Deal’s video on “eyeball bouncing.” The comment has scrolled off the activity feed by now, but I think @nancy.beal was the one who recommended it. It looks like it will help eliminate pauses.


    Last week it was squirrels, and this week it’s bunny rabbits. More specifically, falling down rabbit holes. The adventure started with a free PDF for Auldyn River arranged by Rachel Hair, https://www.manxmusic.com/learn_page_530896.html . She has a video for it on YouTube. That led to a whole expedition to learn more about Manx music.



    • Nancy Beal

      Member
      11 April, 2021 at 3:22 pm

      Beautiful song. I love Auldyn River. I haven’t played it in a while, but in my ‘book’ of songs that “i play together’ I have it included with Amelia’s Lullaby, Annie Laurie, Ashokan Farewell, To A Wild Rose, Looking At A Rainbow Through a Dirty Window. I don’t remember now why I thought they ‘go together’ but apparently there was some reason I was improvising from one to the next a year ago when I was playing these.

      And yes, eyeball bouncing definitely cuts down on hesitation. It’s a skill worth practicing and it makes so much sense – why keep looking at the strings and fingers when they are already placed? Anticipate where you are going next and look there. Such a simple but wonderful skill. I was able to get ‘unstuck’ in so many ways once I learned how to do that.

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        11 April, 2021 at 10:16 pm

        @nancy.beal I agree that eyeball bouncing makes perfect sense, and I didn’t have any problems following along with Carolyn’s video. However, it’s not so simple to put into practice. I haven’t managed to wrap my head around it yet.


        Thinking back to when I was learning to play two hands together, that skill didn’t come automatically, either. This eyeball bouncing is probably going to take a similar effort. This is like trying to correct a bad habit โ€” the bad habit being watching my fingers pluck rather than looking ahead to the next placement on the strings. Not easy. ๐Ÿ™„

    • Victoria Johnson

      Member
      11 April, 2021 at 8:44 pm

      @judiann.maddigan I love the animal pictures you post! ๐Ÿ˜

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        11 April, 2021 at 10:20 pm

        @victoria.johnson Those images are copyright free and come from Pixabay. Browsing for cute critter photos is another one of those rabbit holes I manage to end up in. ๐Ÿ˜†

    • Libby Hitchcock

      Member
      13 April, 2021 at 6:35 pm

      Finnegan & Owen wanted to remind everyone it is not always bad to fall down the rabbit hole๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ‡ And thank you for sharing the link to Rachel Hair’s piece! I adore her and her Harp at Home lessons!

      My only Ace in the Hole so far is May It Be arranged by CL and Kevin and 2 versions of Amazing Grace. Hoping to add Grenadier to that list soon.

      This week I am continuing on Grenadier and also working on Here Comes the Sun arranged by Debbie Vinick. Technique I am going back to basics and practicing scales and arpeggios and adding in 2 more of Carol Kapuss Magic Hands exercises.

      I am anxiously awaiting word that my Tripplett is complete and ready to ship. I am counting the days until I have more than 27 strings and only F/C levers!

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        14 April, 2021 at 2:08 am

        @libbyhitch Oh, cuteness! ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿ˜„

        How are your 1-5-8s coming along? Mine are better than last week, but they are nowhere near as automatic as 1-3-5s. I’m also having a hard time trying to roll 1-5-8.

  • Libby Hitchcock

    Member
    14 April, 2021 at 10:30 pm

    @judiann.maddigan they are but also so naughty! One got to the top of the cat tree and tried to oust the queen from her perch๐Ÿคฃ

    1-5-8 are placing well, but still slow to place/get tempo up. But I never thought I would get my 1-3-5 or 1-3-6 to par, so I know it will come in time! How are your songs coming along this week? I brushed up on After the Rain last night after you mentioned the Ace in the Hole

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      15 April, 2021 at 3:12 am

      @libbyhitch Whoa! I didn’t realize bunnies could climb cat trees. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

      My stretch piece is Auldyn River, with its third finger cross-unders in the right hand. That melody plays in my head all day long. My ace in the hole is My Little Welsh Home, and that is almost memorized. The 1-5-8 piece is Morning Has Broken, which is not going particularly well. I’ll do some 1-5-8 drills and come back to it later. Then there’s Arran Boat Song, which is coming along nicely.

      Thanks for asking. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

      • Libby Hitchcock

        Member
        15 April, 2021 at 2:59 pm

        @judiann.maddigan Luna is my dare devil, I don’t want to take over the thread with pet pics but it was entertaining to have the cat give the evil eye as her doman was being conquered.

        I give you credit on the third finger cross under! My hands are weak as it is, and I am doing exercises to strengthen, but I am not sure I would have the confidence to try that yet! Keep us posted on your progress!

        • Judiann Maddigan

          Member
          15 April, 2021 at 9:23 pm

          @libbyhitch The only reason I’m attempting that third finger cross-under is because it’s the right hand ๐Ÿ™‚. I wouldn’t try it yet with the left. Generally, though, I don’t avoid crossing over and under because it’s good reinforcement for thumbs up, fingers down.

  • Donald Barron

    Member
    15 April, 2021 at 7:44 pm

    I have been learning Tyrells Pass Irish trad song. Managed to learn the right hand started on the left hand. Plan to spend a bit more time practicing the left hand then maybe try and merge the two together which is the bit i always struggle with the most for some reason. Unfortunately i haven’t practiced much this week so the right hand is slipping from memory.

    For a bit of variety in case i get frazzled learning tyrells I will be giving Canโ€™t Help Falling in Love Course(probably a bit above my level but I hope it will help me work out what ‘level’ I am) a start on here. I often tend to have two on the go just to give the brain and fingers a change.

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      15 April, 2021 at 10:55 pm

      @donald.barron I wasn’t familiar with Tyrell’s Pass and had to look it up. I have played some jigs on tin whistle, but I haven’t tried any on harp yet. That’s a nice one. Celtic airs are more my speed on harp because I can manage those slower tempos.

      Different methods work for different people. Many of the “learn a trad tune by ear” tutorial videos teach the right-hand melody first, before combining it with the left. I also have a book that teaches that way, but it just hasn’t worked for me. I learn better by chunking, learning small sections with both hands together. You might have already seen Christy-Lyn’s video that explains it: https://youtu.be/3vuRjnI4ZtU

      • Donald Barron

        Member
        16 April, 2021 at 11:21 am

        I had seen that video before. I guess where I had already been using the learning right and left separately and merging them for quite a while I just continued with what ‘worked’ even though the ‘merging’ took me ages. Thinking about it now i think the bit my brain struggles with is thinking of it as two concurrent sequences rather than a single 2 handed sequence whihc i think is how my brain see it when its merged. tbh I haven’t had the same problem when trying out Christy-Lyns’s videos i think i just assumed that it was because those tunes I tried were simpler. I think you have convinced me I will give it a go using chunking on Tyrells and see how ii get on. Thank you.

        • Judiann Maddigan

          Member
          16 April, 2021 at 3:55 pm

          @donald.barron Chunking on Tyrell’s will be an interesting experiment. Since you already have spent time on your right hand separately, it would make sense that your chunking would go faster. That made me wonder whether practicing my right hand alone on Auldyn River would help, since that part is harder than the left. It might also improve the flow between chunks. So… You’ve convinced me to try the melody separately several times per practice, before also chunking it each practice. I hope you’ll report back on how you do with Tyrell’s, and I’ll do the same with Auldyn River.

          • Donald Barron

            Member
            16 April, 2021 at 7:32 pm

            Sounds like a good experiment. I don’t think i will get any chance to practice this weekend but i will make that my goal next week and let you know the results.

    • Libby Hitchcock

      Member
      20 April, 2021 at 3:12 pm

      @donald.barron Tyrells Pass is beautiful, I had not heard of it before either. And interesting conversation with @judiann.maddigan on the way we learn. I was going to pose that question today as I have been using the chunk technique and was debating if the right then left was a better option. I have yet to learn to play by ear and my instructor teaches like CL with encouraging chunks. I just mentioned i felt I was not retaining songs and have started every other lessons now so I can spend more time on each song and go back to my repertoire list to reinforce it in my memory.

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        20 April, 2021 at 10:57 pm

        @libbyhitch If you can figure out how to maintain a repertoire list, please share how you handle it. I started on a repertoire of 10 of my previous pieces over a month ago, and I can’t manage to keep all of them current.

        I’ll try tagging @nancy.beal here (tags don’t always work). She is more experienced, and she keeps quite a few pieces under her fingers. Maybe she has some tips on how to accomplish it. All I’m thinking is that it must get easier as one’s skills develop.

        • Libby Hitchcock

          Member
          23 April, 2021 at 5:10 pm

          @judiann.maddigan will do! I am finding I have a hard time adding new while also maintaining the repertoire list. Granted, I am still a beginner and I am hoping as I practice and get more experienced at memorization this may begin to balance out. I would love to hear others suggestions too!

  • Judiann Maddigan

    Member
    17 April, 2021 at 6:56 pm

    Week of April 18-24, 2021

    It’s time to plan your upcoming practice sessions.


    What progress did you make last week?


    What pieces are you keeping in your repertoire?


    What are you hoping to learn this week?


    Everyone is welcome to join in, newcomers included. Let us know how your harp playing is coming along.

  • Judiann Maddigan

    Member
    17 April, 2021 at 7:01 pm

    This is a practice challenge. I have been neglecting my sight-reading, and I’m making a commitment to do more of it over the coming week. Is anyone else interested?


    For sight-reading, you can choose sheet music below your current level. If you don’t already have some, here are two free sources. For beginner level, West Coast Harps has some easy PDFs: https://www.westcoastharps.com/printable-harp-lessons.html . For intermediate level, check the Reigning Harps archives: http://www.reigningharps.com/Music%20Archives/MusicArchives.htm


    Here’s a sloth as a reminder to sight-read s-l-o-w-l-y.


    • Victoria Johnson

      Member
      19 April, 2021 at 6:17 pm

      I love West Coast Harps!! Alison is a lovely lady.

    • Libby Hitchcock

      Member
      20 April, 2021 at 4:17 pm

      What amazing resources! Thank you for sharing these!

    • Donald Barron

      Member
      29 April, 2021 at 8:02 pm

      My music reading leaves a lot to be desired this might give me a few things to practice with. I see reigning has the butterfly on there which is a jig I have been looking to learn. I am considering this as my next practice tune.

    • Donald Barron

      Member
      29 April, 2021 at 8:06 pm

      I have the same problem my music reading leaves a lot to be desired this might give me a few things to practice with, I tend to just go through sheet music slowly and memorize it because its easier when i should be trying to better my music reading.

      I see reigning has the butterfly on there which is a jig I have been looking to learn. I am considering this as my next practice tune. Thanks for sharing the resources @judiann.maddigan

    • Donald Barron

      Member
      29 April, 2021 at 8:07 pm

      I have the same problem my music reading leaves a lot to be desired this might give me a few things to practice with, I tend to just go through sheet music slowly and memorize it because its easier when i should be trying to better my music reading.

      I see reigning has the butterfly on there which is a jig I have been looking to learn. I am considering this as my next practice tune. Thanks for sharing the resources @judiann.maddigan

  • Judiann Maddigan

    Member
    17 April, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    Just getting caught up…


    Victoria, you were practicing Handelโ€™s Chaconne from Suite in D Minor variation 2, and learning variations 3 & 4. You had started Kim Robertsonโ€™s Glenlivet, and you were revisiting Skye Boat Song, planning to record it sometime. How are all of those going?


    Melisa, how are you doing with Danny Boy and Loch Lomond? Did you find the time to get any further into studying music theory and chords?


    Libby, your pieces were May It Be, Amazing Grace, After the Rain, Grenadier and the Lady, and Here Comes the Sun. Are you making progress with those? Are you still doing the Carol Kappus Magic Hands drills?


    Is anyone starting some new music this week?

    • Victoria Johnson

      Member
      19 April, 2021 at 5:36 pm

      @judiann.maddigan I disappeared into the Chaconne for an entire week! I was having a trouble with variation 2 because there two two big chords that my small hand struggled with, and I couldn’t make that to sound good for the longest time. My teacher really noticed how small my hands were when watching my video for “Cherry Trees at Merchiston” but I could move through the strengths with ease. He suggested skipping variation 2 in the Chaconne since I was having so much trouble with that big 3-note chord. You couldn’t believe how much that made a difference for me! I am able to concentrate my energy on the remaining variations and I am making so much progress. I finished learning the entire piece now and I am polishing it. I am very committed to finishing the piece before the end of the month because I refuse to turn my 30 day challenge piece into a 30 week challenge piece lol!! So the Chaconne is what I am going to work on this week as well.

      My take away from this experience: find music that works well within the confine of your limitations instead of fighting what you cannot change (such as small hands lol!).

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        20 April, 2021 at 9:49 pm

        @victoria.johnson That is excellent news. I’m cheering you on ๐Ÿ‘. It’s so encouraging to see progress. Of course, the reason you are making such headway on variations 3 & 4 this week is because you put in all that dedicated effort on variation 2 last week. Seeing improvement is so motivating โ€” it makes you want to practice twice as long when you see you’re actually getting somewhere. Happy for you. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

        • Victoria Johnson

          Member
          21 April, 2021 at 4:51 pm

          @judiann.maddigan Even though that big chord in variation 2 did not work out very well for my small hand in the end, I was glad that I put in the effort to learn and practice it! Sometime I have came to appreciate about my harp learning is that I don’t necessarily have to make all the pieces that I learn sound perfect or absolutely love playing them. Some pieces are better for acquiring and practicing techniques, and that’s what I will focus on when playing them and accept that I may not get to the point where the piece sounds musical until way later. Some pieces “clicks” with me sooner, and I can work on connecting with those pieces and making them flow a lot sooner. Variation 2 certainly feels like a “technical piece” for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Judiann Maddigan

            Member
            21 April, 2021 at 10:03 pm

            @victoria.johnson Good points. You had said earlier that you were kinda stubborn and you didn’t like to give up. I’ve remembered that comment. I’ve stuck with some of my pieces, but there’s something to be said for viewing them more as learning tools rather than needing all of them to be performance ready.

            • Victoria Johnson

              Member
              22 April, 2021 at 6:23 pm

              @judiann.maddigan I really have to learn to get out of my own way! Once I accepted that some pieces are learning tools, I am actually able to learn from them and apply that skill to other pieces. It is quite liberating!

          • Libby Hitchcock

            Member
            23 April, 2021 at 5:13 pm

            @victoria.johnson Glad to see this post, I find I “ignore” or only practice bare minimums when faced with pieces I do not like as much. I do try and think of them as great learning opportunities but also have a tendency to not go back to them as much. Acknowledging they should still be learned, even if not to ap perfect state is something I need to work on. Good reminder!

    • Libby Hitchcock

      Member
      20 April, 2021 at 4:24 pm

      Great memory @judiann.maddigan I am happy to say My After the Rain and Gentle Rain are back up to par. Mat It Be is 90%, a few more run through and I will be happy with it. I forgot I had learned ACG Sweet Blessings so I pulled that out as a refresher and am still working on Grenadier and Here Comes the Sun. I pushed out my lesson for 2 weeks so I can really focus and feel like I have made progress when I meet with my instructor next. I got a bit segwayed with the Magic Hands but did work on Scales and Arpeggios up and down the harp. With all my music on my tablet I think I will clip the various warm up or practice items and make a single PDF I can reference which will help keep me on track with those items. I have a “Set List” with the songs I am practicing so i can scroll from one to the next. So nothing new, really want to firm up what I know and do some technical work. Goal is if we have a nice weekend I would like to take my harp to the local park (designed by same gentleman who did Central Park) and play there. Get me comfortable playing when there are others around, hehehehe.

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        20 April, 2021 at 10:05 pm

        @libbyhitch That is quite a full list to keep current. The decision to switch to bi-weekly lessons will probably work out great. You already know how to schedule your practice time between various pieces, so it isn’t like you are going to run out of material to cover. When I used to meet with my duet partner, playing different instruments back before the pandemic, we found that 10 or more days was the right amount of time for us. Weekly was just too soon to learn new pieces well enough to play together smoothly.

        Playing in the park sounds like a great way to ease into performing. Be sure to report back and let us know how that goes.

  • Judiann Maddigan

    Member
    20 April, 2021 at 10:37 pm

    I’m reporting back on the experiment that @donald.barron and I discussed a few days ago. Donald initially learned right and left hands separately for Tyrell’s Pass, and he was going to try chunking both hands together to see how that would work for him. I initially learned Auldyn River by chunking, and I decided to try the right hand alone, to see how that would work for me.

    Here’s what happened. The first time I sat down to play Auldyn River’s right-hand melody alone, I thought it was going to be super easy. Ha! Was I ever in for a shock ๐Ÿ˜ฒ. The right hand alone sounded identical to my two hands together. It had all the same pauses and hesitations. Analyzing it later, it should not have been a surprise. I had been chunking it for over a week that way, so OF COURSE it was going to sound the same.

    I put in several practice sessions working on just the melody first, then joining it with the left hand. When I could begin to play the melody smoothly, it really started to help the pauses in both hands. I’m now spending about 2/3 of my time on this piece right hand only, and the other 1/3 both hands together. This has been an eye-opening experience. I had discounted learning hands separately months ago because chunking was working better. However, I am re-evaluating that decision now and will try learning the treble melodies for some tunes alone, before chunking with their bass parts.

    • Libby Hitchcock

      Member
      21 April, 2021 at 3:04 pm

      @judiann.maddigan thank you for your update on the “experiment”! I was curious as to how it would go and may try this as I continue with my 2 newer pieces and see how it works out!

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        21 April, 2021 at 9:52 pm

        @libbyhitch Great! Please let us know how it works with your pieces. I’ve already realized that part of my learning process is going to be figuring out which method works best for which pieces.

    • Victoria Johnson

      Member
      21 April, 2021 at 5:12 pm

      This is so fascinating, isn’t it @judiann.maddigan ! Some pieces are better served with a solid melody hand before you add the other hand in (definitely the case for Glenlivet and fast dance tunes for me), and in other cases you are better off putting the two hands together as soon as possible so you get used to how they fit together (the Chaconne for example).

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        21 April, 2021 at 9:44 pm

        @victoria.johnson Yes! Totally new concept for me. I really hadn’t considered that different learning methods would work better on different pieces. I mistakenly thought it was a matter of figuring out what worked best for me, and then applying it to all music. That’s not the case, and I have to remember to be open to trying new ideas and new approaches. You’re right โ€” it is fascinating.

        • Victoria Johnson

          Member
          22 April, 2021 at 6:29 pm

          @judiann.maddigan One of my best lessons of all times is that the best method is the method that works for you in a particular situation. My teacher does not teach one method; he learns from different schools and methods, and he impart the information that works for me and the pieces that I am working. It makes things a bit more complicated because there are some IF-THEN-ELSE to work through, BUT it is so much more effective in terms of actually getting from point A to point B!

          • Judiann Maddigan

            Member
            22 April, 2021 at 6:49 pm

            @victoria.johnson “Complicated” is a good word for it. There’s the multipronged approach of warmups, exercises, studies, new pieces, memorizing, repertoire, and sight-reading โ€” all with the goal of becoming a well-rounded player. Then there are the different methods for accomplishing each of those. It’s much more multifaceted than I realized earlier in the process, and it is getting more involved as time goes on. But it is also getting more interesting and challenging, which were primary motivations for starting to learn the harp.

  • Donald Barron

    Member
    22 April, 2021 at 8:07 pm

    I just thought I would add to @judiann.maddigan post and report back on my experience trying to learn Tyrell’s Pass using chunking instead of trying to learn right an left had separately. When i took on the challenge I had already ‘tainted’ the results as I had already learnt the right hand. However the problem I had always had was putting the two together afterward. So I tried chunking the left hand.

    I have to say i was surprised at how effective it was for me. I feel like it really accelerated the learning. On top of that i feel like with learning the hands separately I would often have paused while learning when both hand came in as my brain sort of tried to line up the two sequences but i feel like this was more seamless. The only possible downside is I think i might make slightly more placing mistakes on the left hand on one of the more complex bits of the song but to be honest that could just be down to the tune rather than the process. I still can only play it at about half the tempo it is meant to be played at, but speeding up that is a problem i often have with the faster jigs and other tunes (its possibly placing and technique problem) but fingers crossed it will just be a bit more practice to speed it up this time. Overall i think it has been a positive experience.

    I couldn’t say 100% for certain this was all due to chunking but my gut suggests to me that is the reason. I definitely didn’t feel the uncertainty I often have of trying to match up the two timelines this time around which made a big difference. I also think having started it one way and then switched I think it gave my brain a second perspective on the same thing.

    I think I would like to try pure chunking on a new song at some point to compare in the future, but the combo really seemed to work for me this time. One thing i have learned though is if doing things one way becomes frustrating I wont be above switching trying different ways of doing the same thing.

    Thanks @judiann.maddigan ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      23 April, 2021 at 12:37 am

      @donald.barron I’m so glad you reported back. You ended up with similar results I did, and we approached it from completely opposite directions. We both learned something because we were willing to try a method outside our set practice patterns. That is fantastic. Great job! I really enjoyed this experiment. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • Judiann Maddigan

    Member
    24 April, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    Week of April 25 – May 1, 2021

    It’s already the start of another new week.


    1. How did your practices go last week?


    2. What are you going to be learning this week?


    This is the last week I’ll be doing these practice chat threads. Most of the group activity has remained on Facebook, and very little of it has transitioned to these discussion forums. The forums can go a full 24 hours without a single new post. I’ve decided to discontinue the weekly threads for now, and we’ll see how the forums evolve in the future.

    • Victoria Johnson

      Member
      26 April, 2021 at 2:19 am

      My teacher signed off on the Chaconne, yeah!!! It is up to me now to continue polishing the piece if I would like to record it. I am getting back to Glenlivet. I will continue to work on the Chaconne and also the Skye Boat Song and try for a recording session the next weekend. I am going to look at the WIP list on my harp journal and see which ones I should put some serious efforts into concluding (too many harp squirrels!). ๐Ÿ˜†

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        26 April, 2021 at 5:19 pm

        @victoria.johnson Good job on the Chaconne. Once you moved past variation 2, you made super progress on variations 3 & 4. I know what you mean about evaluating your “WIP list.” I certainly have the equivalent of too many pieces in too many stages of development. This week I’ve decided to narrow down the focus to only Celtic airs. I want to come up with a Must Do list, which would be my all-time favorites. Inisheer, Gentle Maiden, Ashokan Farewell, Auldyn River, An Emigrant’s Daughter, Parting Glass, South Wind, Foggy Dew, Siฬ Bheag Siฬ Mhoฬr, Neil Gow’s Lament for the Death of his Second Wife. That’s just off the top of my head; I need to start a new spreadsheet. It will be nice to feel organized again.

    • Libby Hitchcock

      Member
      11 May, 2021 at 7:38 pm

      Funny, I have not been on the FB group since this site launched. Thank you for moderating it @Judiann! I will have to force myself back to facebook one of these days, lol.

  • Judiann Maddigan

    Member
    24 April, 2021 at 11:31 pm

    The technique I’ll be working on this week will be keeping the wrist still and making the fingers do the work. The Heidi Method Harp Lesson 6: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwIPW-30GCo

  • Josie Danckaert

    Member
    16 May, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    Hey!! I was wondering if we should make a new practice thread for May?

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      17 May, 2021 at 2:45 am

      @josieisgroovy Hi, Josie โ€”

      Back on April 24th in this thread, I wrote that I would not be continuing to post more weekly practice threads. However, anyone else is welcome to start new ones. If you (or someone else) would like to pick it up, that would be awesome. Please go ahead. ๐Ÿ˜€

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