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  • What is your biggest learning/technique challenge?

  • Libby Hitchcock

    Member
    20 April, 2021 at 4:39 pm

    With so many of us learning from various teachers, sites and books I was curious to see what challenges you face in your learning and what suggestions others may have to help get that “a ha!” moment and help move onto the next challenge.

  • Libby Hitchcock

    Member
    20 April, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    My biggest roadblock I am working on is counting and playing. I can’t chew gum and rub my tummy at the same time and evidently counting out loud or in my head plus reading music and playing is another skill I am lacking. I am great at inconsistent rate when counting, and getting completely lost when trying to play and count tempo at the same time. I have found a metronome that counts vs beats although I find I get so caught up on staying on tempo, even when slowed down, I loose where I am in the music. I recognize this will come with time and practice, but would love to hear any tips you may have found around tempo/counting!

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      20 April, 2021 at 11:18 pm

      MuseScore can help with some of that. After you have input or imported your sheet music, you can have MuseScore play the audio, which will sound like a harp. While the audio is playing, it highlights the notes. You can count aloud and watch the highlighting to see where the beats fall. After you understand the rhythms, you can slow down the speed and actually play along with it. Instead of attempting the full score, try setting a loop for perhaps 4 or 8 measures. It takes some trial and error to learn how to play along with it, and it’s easier to repeat shorter sections. The icon that looks like a hand holding a baton will play a count-in for you, so you know when to start playing. The icon just to the left of that will turn the metronome on when you need it.

      • Libby Hitchcock

        Member
        21 April, 2021 at 3:06 pm

        @judiann.maddigan thank you for the tip! I have to get into MuseScore more and try some of these features. The highlighting of the note and play along sound like they will be very helpful! I will keep you posted as I try it!

        • Judiann Maddigan

          Member
          21 April, 2021 at 9:14 pm

          When you try this with MuseScore, I hope you’ll report back to let us know how it goes. If you are going to slowly play along with the highlighting on the screen, use Continuous View rather than Page View. Actually, I prefer looking at the sheet music instead of the screen, while MuseScore plays the audio. This is because the goal is to play the piece from the sheets, not the screen. Another suggestion is to try all of this with an easy piece first, to get the process figured out, before working on your more challenging pieces. Good luck! 🤞

          • Libby Hitchcock

            Member
            23 April, 2021 at 5:26 pm

            @judiann.maddigan I am slowly getting into MuseScore, in the meantime I found a metronome app that counts with a voice vs knocks or taps which was a game changer! I focused solely on the RH and chunked it. When I was able to practice 5-10 X on tempo (slightly slower than full tempo) I would add the next chunk. I am doing this on the ACG Grenadier piece and had the refrain down pat at tempo, and only have the section after the mid refrain left before I will start adding in the LH (LH in refrain already included). It was eye opening to see how inconsistent my counting speed was once I started with the metronome!

            • Judiann Maddigan

              Member
              23 April, 2021 at 7:08 pm

              @libbyhitch Exactly! It is always a surprise to play a piece with the metronome for the first time and discover how far off my sense of rhythm is. My duet partner, who previously played percussion and is always precisely on the beat, suggested tapping my foot. That only helps when your foot taps the beats at the correct time. Mine doesn’t. 🙄 🤣

  • Amanda Barnes

    Member
    21 April, 2021 at 5:02 pm

    Speed and when I run into a challenging section. I can play it slow but stumble when I try to speed it up a bit.

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      21 April, 2021 at 9:34 pm

      @amanda.barnes Isn’t that the truth? I think everyone struggles with trying to increase speed. One of my teachers (on another instrument) said to work with a metronome. Find the level you can play the piece comfortably without errors, then set it 4 bpm higher than that. If you can still play it well at that speed, go 4 higher. But as soon as you start making errors, drop the speed 2 bpm lower. For example, if you can play it at 80, set the metronome at 84. If you struggle there, drop the speed to 82. Often, 82 then seems doable because you’re comparing it to the 84 instead of the 80. You’ve increased it by 2 from where you started. This approach takes patience, but it works for me. (I know, I know… everyone stopped reading at the word “metronome.” 🙄)

      • Libby Hitchcock

        Member
        21 April, 2021 at 10:36 pm

        I am right there with you @amanda.barnes in doing some research into my rhythm comment above I found this site, which is free and allows you to practice rhythm and sight reading ( @judiann.maddigan thought of the practice thread for this week too!) You can play with the tempo, use a metronome, and pick what time signature, etc. I haven’t played in it much yet but looks like a great tool!

        https://www.sightreadingfactory.com/

        • Libby Hitchcock

          Member
          21 April, 2021 at 11:07 pm

          And one more for rhythm & timing practice.. https://www.therhythmtrainer.com/

        • Judiann Maddigan

          Member
          22 April, 2021 at 4:12 am

          @libbyhitch Yes, I’m supposed to be doing more sight-reading this week, so I will definitely check out the Sight-Reading Factory. Perfect timing. Thanks for finding it.

        • Victoria Johnson

          Member
          22 April, 2021 at 6:14 pm

          I talked to Anna Dunwoodie about the “Sightreading Books for Harp” she co-authored with Lisa Williamson in Harp Toolbox. I am using these books and they are fantastic! I like that they are designed based on multiple harp exam board curriculums so you are practicing sight-reading is a structured and gently progressive in terms of skills and difficulties. https://harpmusiconline.weebly.com/sightreading-for-harp.html

      • Amanda Barnes

        Member
        22 April, 2021 at 6:15 pm

        That’s a great idea!

  • Victoria Johnson

    Member
    22 April, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    Playing four note chords with ease is something that I am still working on. It is challenging for me partly because my hands are quite small, and I don’t have the confidence to trust that my finds would land on the right notes all the times. My teacher suggested different ways to overcome that, such as doing chord jumping exercise (similar to this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eHBzNbl9E0&t=195s but for four note chords), and also playing pieces with a lot of big chords and making exercises out of those pieces by repeating small chucks of it.

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