Harp-related ponderings.

It’s been a long time since I’ve formally learned an instrument, so I’m trying to go back to my memories of learning piano to see what helpful strategies and tools I can apply to learning the harp. What I can remember…

  • Having a metronome was key. I’m still using the online metronome for this.
  • I recall having a spiral-bound notebook that my teacher would use to write my “assignments.” The teacher would also write the date in the music book next to a new song that I was learning. This last lesson, I asked my teacher to give me specific finger exercises to work on (instead of my previous method of haphazardly picking ones to learn), and focusing on that has helped a lot.
  • My teacher had a tape recorder so that she could have me listen back to how I was playing, to catch mistakes, uneven scales, etc. My harp teacher suggested this as well. I haven’t gotten anything yet, and will probably try using my laptop to record clips as I play, since I have it next to me (for the online metronome) anyway.

Any other tips from those of you who have formally learned instruments?

One thing I’ve started doing my own is trying to log what I do during practice. So far I’ve been jotting down cryptic notes on a piece of notebook paper with the page number of the exercise or a keyphrase for the title of the song, along with the speed that I’m practicing at, the number of times (sometimes), and other notes like “Argh!!” or “better!” or “finally a good run” or “weak on higher chords.” I’m finding that looking back to the last few days is helpful when determining what to focus on, and I can also catch if I’m neglecting something else.

I just got to the end of my first page today and am wondering if I should start keeping a log on my computer or online somehow instead so that I’m not using so much paper. Starting a different blog (so as not to clutter up this blog with cryptic harp practice notes) seems easiest because I can start new entries instead of loading a long document… Hmmmmm….

Thoughts or advice appreciated!


2 thoughts on “Harp-related ponderings.

  1. Remember your triathalon section of your other site? Maybe you could create a Harp section too?

    These are good ideas. I’m not formally doing anything, but I’m teaching myself guitar, so I may use your ideas for that – I like the idea of giving myself homework assignments each week.

    Heh heh, I have a metronome, but I just love that there’s an online one!

  2. Doodah – I thought about it making some kind of check-list form, but my “routine” changes too often that I don’t think I could make a flexible system for it (either offline or online). That’s why I’m thinking some kind of blog or journal would work best — and having experienced the joys of WordPress, I don’t want to go to the clunky system I had designed for my other site. 🙂 Right now I’m thinking of setting up a harp-practice blog in Blogger, just so that I can experience a different blog system and kill two learning opportunities with one stone!

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