Sylvia Woods Harp Center 
April 2019 Newsletter
PersonalA personal note from Sylvia

Aloha, friends.  Here's my final "broken leg update."  The doctor said my leg would heal faster if I got surgery, so at the end of March he put a metal plate and five screws in my leg.  I'm doing so much better now.  I can go up and down the stairs wearing my black velcro walking boot, so I can navigate my entire 3-story condo.  It has been awesome to sleep in my own bed on the second floor! I'm hoping that he'll tell me very soon that I can walk without my boot.  For now, he recently allowed me to remove my boot in the car, so I can drive and do my own errands.  Ah, freedom!    
On April 10th I was able to travel to California to attend my nephew Derek's wedding.  It was wonderful to be able to visit with family and friends I hadn't seen in over 5 years.  I also had lots of fun spending two days at Disneyland and California Adventure.  My friend Patti pushed me in a wheel chair, and we got to skip almost all of the long lines.  I felt like a real Disney princess being driven around in my own private carriage!  
I'm doing fine, and life is great!  Thanks again for your encouragement and support.   

P.S. If you want to contact me, please don't reply directly to this newsletter. 
Start a new email to  Thanks!
Last month, I asked you to send me your suggestions for music apps.  Here are some of your submissions.

Two people recommended Sheet Music Scanner.
Sheet Music Scanner
Anne Roos: Scan printed sheet music and it plays the music back for you! It's not perfect, but it can help you figure out a strange rhythm.
Karen Nelson: Import a PDF or take a picture of sheet music and the app plays it.  It has midi tones for lots of instruments, including harp. I use it to scan the music in the Folk Harp Journal, so I can decide which songs to learn.

Anne Roos: With Pensato, select a starting note of a scale, choose the type of scale or mode, and see the notes and chords associated with that scale.

Karen Nelson: Anytune allows songs to be slowed down or sped up without changing the pitch.  When learning a new piece, I'll create play-along versions at 50%, 65%, etc., until I get it to tempo. I also use it to separate audio from YouTube videos and then add the songs to a playlist.

June Zydek: forScore is my favorite app. You can scan music into it and play from your iPad. Add a bluetooth pedal and you never have to take your hands off the strings again!!
(Note from Sylvia. Find more information about forScore on my website.)

Felice Pomeranz (Professor of Harp at Berklee College of Music):
We use a couple of Apps that might be of interest: Drum School and DrumGenius.
Drum School
They are great for practicing pieces that need a groove, so that you internalize the feel of the rhythm. Sylvia has two new arrangements of Beatles' songs. What better way to practice them than with Ringo drumming for you? He is featured on Drum Genius! They have many grooves, like rock, swing, Latin, etc., and in different time signatures, too. You can pick the speed and pick it up when you've gotten one speed down. Truly fun way to practice!

You can find more app suggestions in my August 2016 newsletter.
Last month, I also told you about the amazing app called Modacity that was recommended by my FaceTime student Carrie.  I received lots of emails from my readers saying that they tried it and were pleased with how it was helping their practice. One harp player, Martha Dahlen, has definitely become a "super fan" of the app. Here are some excerpts (in blue type) from her series of emails to me this month.  Thanks so much, Martha, for letting us join you on your Modacity journey!

March 27. Modacity is totally amazing. I have read much about deliberate practice. I know that I work better with specific assignments and targets . . . but somehow I don't have the discipline to do it. Modacity is going to provide exactly the structure I need. Sylvia, I am so grateful for the discount you managed to get for us, PLUS I am grateful that you mentioned a little about the developer, Marc Gelfo. You and he are exactly the kind of people that I need more of in my life, and that I want to support.

April 6. The Modacity app is transforming my practice, my relationship with music, even my life, as my music changes.   Here are two points:   
     1) The app is the opposite of a crutch.  Where a crutch helps you accomplish but ultimately weakens, this app helps by strengthening.  
     2) The app returns the focus of my practice and playing to ME:  How do I want to play? What don't I like? How am I going to change it?  Did my solution work? OK, what next? It persistently, gently, but relentlessly insists that I engage with what I'm doing -- and it makes engagement oh, so easy! 
As I use it, I realize that the reason I previously failed to progress in all the other musical instruments I have tried is because, as soon as I start "learning," the lessons, the sheet music, the teacher, and how other people play -- all of these relationships become more important than the relationship of me with my instrument. I lose my sense of power and control, as well as the joy. Modacity is helping me change this.  
But, while Modacity is great, I struggled a bit in learning to use it. So, for people who might have similar problems, I created a "Quick Start" guide. Please feel free to share this. I have also sent this to the Modacity people.  I think they are so eager to share the many great features of Modacity, they forget that some of us just need to know what to do FIRST.  
(Click on this link to download the PDF of Martha's "Quick Start" guide.) 
April 19. Here are two more unexpected benefits of using the Modacity app.
     1) Wave forms (the diagrams showing volume as spikes along a line over time)  are part of the Modacity practice page screen.  When I listen to my harp playing, the aspect I hate the most is what my teacher calls "aggressive attack."  When I played the piano, I called it "pounding."  Now that I play the harp, my playing has that same aggressive, offensive, un-lyrical tone to it.  I was puzzled.  Then suddenly I thought, "Does that wave form SHOW me what I am doing to create that dreadful noise?"  I asked my teacher to send me a wave form of him beautifully playing the music I was playing.  By comparing, by practicing, listening, looking . . .  I am beginning to create a more beautiful sound.   
     2) The second thing is that because I am more engaged in my music, I believe my teacher is more engaged in teaching me.  Last fall, I cut back from one hour lessons to half hour lessons because there just didn't seem to be enough to talk about for one hour.  Yesterday, we were both eager to spend at least an hour working together.  If other students respond to Modacity the way I do, their teachers will love teaching even more.
P.S. One note of caution for anyone using Modacity:  It sucks power.  Never leave Modacity running in the background on your iPad.  I did that once, by mistake, and within 24 hours, with the iPad closed and disconnected from WiFi, it drained the battery from about 80% down to zero. So be sure to shut down the app when your practice session is finished.    
NOTE FROM SYLVIA: When I received Martha's note about the battery issue, I immediately emailed Marc, the co-founder of Modacity. Here is his reply:
We are aware of the battery issue but need to collect more data before we can fix it. She is right though, in some cases it seems to take power in the background. Please tell your customers that we're aware of it and should have a fix in the coming month.  
Special Discount Code: If Modacity piques your interest, I suggest that you download the FREE Modacity app and check it out.  If you love it, and want to upgrade, Modacity has created a special lifetime subscription offer for Sylvia Woods Harp Center Customers.

Modacity subscriptions are $8.99/month in the app. A year of Modacity Premium costs $107 
(less than a single music lesson in many cities). But we have a special offer for Sylvia Woods Harp Center customers.  
For a one-time PayPal payment of just $115, you can get lifetime Modacity Premium! Just go to: and sign up for this special offer.  
This offer is now good through May 31, 2019. 
BurmaBurma-Shave Signs
Burma Shave Signs
Anyone who drove through the heartland of America during the 1930s through 1950s will remember the Burma-Shave signs. These ads consisted of a series of small red signs that made up a short humorous jingle.  The last sign always said "Burma Shave." 

We traveled by car a lot when I was a kid, and we were always excited when we saw Burma-Shave signs ahead.  I also remember looking out the back window when the signs were facing the wrong way.  We'd read them from the last sign to the first, and then put the phrase together correctly. That was even more fun than reading them in the right order!

Sometimes the poems were ads for their shaving cream.
A shave / That's real / No cuts to heal / A soothing / Velvet after-feel / Burma-Shave.
Every shaver / Now can snore / Six more minutes / Than before / By using / Burma-Shave.

And others were safety messages.
Hardly a driver / Is now alive / Who passed / On hills / At 75 / Burma-Shave.
Past / Schoolhouses / Take it slow / Let the little / Shavers grow / Burma-Shave.

Recently, I received an email from my cousin Sharon, including some amusing Burma-Shave jingles from the Burma Shave website. She pointed out a safety one about heavenly harps! 

RoadsA Road Sign on Kauai
This article is part of my ongoing series about living on Kauai.

Our local Kauai newspaper is called "The Garden Island."  There's an occasional column called "Da Shadow."  Here's how the editors describe this feature. 
"Old-timers might still remember the introduction from 'The Shadow' radio program: 'Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!' Jerome Freitas is a retired State Department of Transportation worker who is now better known as Da Shadow. Since 2004, he has been meeting with government representatives about problems he has discovered or that have been reported to him, and reporting the county's responses."

Mileage Sign 1
Last December I noticed this new mileage sign a few miles from my condo. After driving past it several times, I actually read the numbers.  The 2.1 miles to Princeville looked about right.  But it is WAY more than 2.4 miles to Hanalei. When I got home, I checked out Google Maps, and I was right: it is at least 4 miles from the sign to the town of Hanalei.

I realized that this sign could be very confusing for tourists, since they'd think they should get to Hanalei much sooner than they'd actually arrive.  So, I sent an email to Da Shadow, along with my photo of the sign, asking him to check into it.

Mileage Sign 2
When my friend Patti was visiting me in February, I told her this story the first time we drove by the sign.  When we drove past it about week later she said "I think it has changed."  And she was right!  Because of my email, with help from Da Shadow, the sign is now correct.  It is 4.2 miles to Hanalei.

One person (with a little help) can make a difference . . . especially on a small island.
MonthSaleThis month's sale
This month's sale features songs about streets and bridges.  The code word is Roads.     
To get the 15% discount on the products below, enter the code word Roads in the Promo Code box on your shopping cart page and click "Enter Code" by May 6, 2019. For more information, see the 15% Off section at the bottom of this newsletter.
by Sylvia Woods
Book or PDF
15% off with Roads code
"59th Street Bridge Song"
by Sylvia Woods
Book or PDF
15% off with Roads code
"Follow the Yellow Brick Road"
Lennon & McCartney
Lennon & McCartney
by Sylvia Woods
Book or PDF
15% off with Roads code
"Long and Winding Road"
by Sylvia Woods
Book or PDF
15% off with Roads code
"Meet Me Down on Main Street" from the Disneyland park 
Irish Dance Tunes
by Sylvia Woods
15% off with Roads code
"Road to Lisdoonvarna" &
"Rocky Road to Dublin"

Music Theory Book
by Sylvia Woods
Book or PDF
15% off with Roads code
"Sur la Pont d'Avignon" &
"London Bridge"

promocodes15% off select sale items when you use the code word:
Our newsletter promo codes are only redeemable online and can only be used for the items featured in the sale section of this newsletter. They are not valid for phone or e-mail orders. This month's code word is Roads, and it is good for 15% off the select books, PDFs, CDs and mp3s in the sale section above. Just because an item is mentioned somewhere in this newsletter doesn't mean that it is on sale. It must be listed in the sale section .  

Here's how to get your newsletter discount at :
#1. Put the items you want to purchase in your cart. 
#2. On the page where you view the items in your cart, type this month's code word Roads in the "Promo Code" box, and click on "Enter Code."
The actual price of the featured sale products on this page will then automatically change to reflect the discount. You'll also see a note below the Promo Code box saying the name of the promo code you entered, and the percentage amount of the discount.  
REMEMBER:  you must enter this month's code word Roads in the Promo Code box
and click "Enter Code" on your shopping cart page by May 6
to get the discount!
If you forget, or if you have trouble adding it to your order,
email Sylvia immediately.   

Offer expires at the end of the day on 5/6/2019.
Sylvia Woods Harp Center
  (808) 212-9525

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