best advice you were given?

Posted In: How To Play


  • Participant
    balfour-knight on #210059

    Well, hello again! Here in western North Carolina we have been dealing with no electric power (fallout from Hurricane Irma!) so no Internet, either! We were so much better off than Florida, I can’t complain. Our best thoughts are with all of you who have been through this dilemma.

    Jerusha, yes, I did have to learn solfege, and I agree with Saul, it stays with you and really helps out, especially when playing in different keys or transposing something into a new key. If you ever get a chance to study it, do so by all means. My maternal great-grandfather even taught solfege and shaped-note singing here in our mountains back in the early 1900s. His ancestors were some of the first settlers here, coming from England, Scotland and Ireland.

    Well, keep the posts coming! Things are looking sunnier for next week!

    Harp Hugs,
    Balfour


    Participant
    Jerusha Amado on #210190

    Hi Saul and Balfour,

    I didn’t realize that new replies came in for this thread!

    Saul– I was hoping that you’d respond to this topic. That’s wonderful that solfege has been so helpful to you. I can see how having the bass line grounded in one’s mind would enhance performances. Makes me wish that I had listened to my teacher’s advice and learned it!

    Balfour–Good to hear that you are o.k. Electricity has probably been restored since you last wrote. Also, what is shaped-note singing? It sounds intriguing!


    Participant
    Sylvia on #210204

    I just saw the new replies, too. Balfour, I sure hope you have power by now. That’s brutal…hope it wasn’t too hot at the time. How long were you out?
    This is the only part of the Gulf Coast that didn’t take a hit…deep S. TX. We were spared…no rain, no nothing…at least this time.


    Participant
    balfour-knight on #210292

    Hello, Jerusha and all!

    Yes, our electricity has been restored! We were only about 22 hours without it, so things were pretty good compared to Florida. We had a lot of tree limbs down with high winds, but no major damage, thank goodness.

    Shaped-note singing was (and still is) pretty common here in our mountains. Along with the syllables, Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Si or Ti-Do, shapes are assigned to the notes. Good shaped-note singers can sing a melody just by recognizing the different shapes, even if they are not on a musical staff! One “school” of shaped-note singing used all seven syllables and another used only four syllables, the later being referred to as the “Fa So La” singing. (the fourth syllable was Mi) Collections were called The Sacred Harp and The Southern Harmony, among others. I bet you all could research this further on the Internet; I have not yet tried.

    Sylvia, it was great to hear your good news! We hope the Floridians recover soon, thinking of Gretchen and others down there.

    Hope you all are having a wonderful day!
    Best wishes,
    Balfour


    Participant
    Gretchen Cover on #210294

    Balfour, thank you for your kind thoughts. We did ok with the hurricane. Water came up higher than any previous storm and we were without power for just a day. Friends in the keys had no damage and one hotel we know, Eden House in Key West, had no damage.

    Re: Shape singing. Do-re-me from Sound of music gives you an idea of what shape singing is about. When I took piano, I had to sight sing as part of music theory but we used the English sound of the note. Mostly, I would sing intervals (chords).


    Participant
    balfour-knight on #210580

    Glad to hear from you, Gretchen! Great news about coping with the hurricane. That was a good point to look at the Sound of Music for the Do-re-mi singing. That has always been one of our favorite movies/musicals.

    Another good piece of advice I was often given is “listen and learn!”

    Hope all of you are doing well.

    Harp hugs,
    Balfour


    Participant
    Janis Cortese on #211325

    If it hurts, find another way to do it.


    Participant
    balfour-knight on #211737

    Best advice you were given–attend harp festivals! This Camac Festival in Washington, D. C. is just the GREATEST!


    Participant
    Jerusha Amado on #211739

    Hi Balfour,

    I definitely agree that attending harp festivals is good advice! I attended several of the Lyon and Healy International Jazz and Pop Fests over the years, and they helped me to progress with playing jazz on a lever harp.


    Participant
    healthyharp on #216194

    From a harp store: don’t buy a harp from us. Rent one and learn to play first and *then* come back to buy a harp from us.

    From a harp teacher: If you are having problems with a section, it’s probably because your thumb is too low and your fingers are too high.

    From a flute teacher: Don’t “cheat” by simplifying when you practice. The point of practice is improvement and perfection. But when you get to the performance, if you find you need to simplify, go for it. The point of performance is to make beautiful music and make your audience happy.


    Participant
    balfour-knight on #216216

    Another item to think about–when someone asks you to play a “freebie” which has very little interest or meaning to you, ask them to “sponsor” you, since it is so important to them!

    You all have a great day!
    Balfour


    Participant
    Jerusha Amado on #216223

    Hi Balfour and Healthy!

    Great advice. I avoid playing for free simply to accommodate someone’s pre-conceived notion that, unlike other vendors, musicians do not need to be paid.

    And Healthy, your words remind me of my teacher, who always advised that simple music played beautifully is vastly superior to complex music played poorly.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  Jerusha Amado.

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #216249

    Thanks, Jerusha! I will add that Angi Bemiss is the “queen” of keeping it simple and beautiful, and her entire collection of arrangements can be found at Simply the Harp in Atlanta, GA, as you well know. I am so glad that everything does not have to be “busy and difficult.” Happy Easter to you all!

    Harp Hugs,
    Balfour

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