What’s Your One Thing?

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We musicians are a dedicated bunch. While we may not fit the romantic image of the musician starving and sacrificing all for Busker singing and playing guitar inside a rubbish binhis art, we all make big sacrifices every day in order to play music, whether we are professionals, students or amateurs.

Consider this. You’ve bought an instrument (or two or three), paid for lessons, and spent hours practicing. You put yourself in uncomfortable situations like lessons and performances. You have a desire to play and you are prepared to do what it takes to make music the way you want.

So here’s the question: is it working out the way you hoped? Are you having a good time? Are you making the progress you want? What new musical experiences are on the horizon for you? What are you looking forward to playing someday?

As you prepare to start “back to school” season, take a moment to look at your playing and set some new goals or recommit yourself to old ones. I just went through this process myself. I do this a couple of times each year. The process keeps me refreshed and energized, and it gives my practice a direction.

One of the things that used to happen to me was that I would be so busy performing and teaching during the year, that I wouldn’t have the time to spend playing the repertoire music that I wanted to learn or review. I learned over the years that I could choose to make my repertoire a priority and make certain that no matter how much other playing I did, I still had enough time to stay connected to the harp in a way that was important to me.

So at this time of year, I check in with myself and make sure that my own practice on the music I especially want to play is still a priority for me. Actually that’s just one of the four areas I check. I do a short self-test of each of these areas and set my goals accordingly. It goes something like this…

1. Am I doing regular technical work?
2. Is there any special area that needs more development – speed, facility, strength, relaxation, clarity, precision?

1. Am I doing regular sightreading?
2. Am I checking my rhythmic precision?
3. Do I need more work on tone, dynamics, phrasing?
4. Am I improvising, composing and arranging often?

1. Am I preparing all the music I will need to play in the near future?
2. Do I have a recital program in my fingers?
3. What new music do I want to learn?

One Thing:
What is the “one thing” that, if I improved it or learned it, would push me to the next level in my playing?

That last question is where the magic is. It’s all about dreaming, inspiration, solving problems and moving forward. I urge you to give this some thought. What’s your “one thing”?

PS. If you missed my webinar “DO IT NOW! HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR OBSTACLES AND PLAY BETTER NOW” the replay will be available for a short time. You might find my 4 step system for overcoming obstacles really helpful in working on your “one thing”!
Hear the Replay Now!

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  • Carole Smith

    Hi Anne,
    Thanks for recording the webinar. I was unavailable to hear the webcast, but listened to the replay as soon as I got back home. I need to work on all the goals mentioned above. Some just to brush off the rust, some to make pieces playable on short notice, some to learn music I would like to play but would be a challenge. My biggest challenge right now is speed. I spent years in the Brandywine Harp Orchestra letting the “good” players do the fast stuff. The problem is the “good” players leave to go to college or move on with their lives. Believe it or not, I’m quickly becoming one of the “good” players. Not very loud or fast, but dependable. Carole


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