Sylvia Woods Harp Center 
August 2017 Newsletter
A Personal Note from Sylvia

Summer is winding down and the kids are going back to school.  I hope you all went somewhere fun on vacation, and spent some quality time with friends and family (and your harp!)
Meredith Skype lesson

Even though I haven't left the island of Kauai this year, I get to digitally "travel" the world every week by teaching through Skype and FaceTime.  My current students live all over the USA, as well as in Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Hong Kong, and Thailand. (This amazing picture was painted by Karen McLain while she watched my Skype lesson with her friend Meredith Hudes Lowder in New York.)

One of the fun things I did this summer was to help several of my Skype students get ready for their first public performances.  I told them to play for everyone they can to get ready.  For example, if the UPS driver delivers a package, ask him if he wants to hear a song on the harp. I also suggested that they play for their stuffed animals or dolls.  That reminded me that I wrote an article about this way back in 1995.  You'll can read the entire article below.

And now for a reminder . . . don't forget that my arrangements of How Does a Moment Last Forever from Beauty and the Beast and La La Land selections are now available on both printed sheets and PDFs.


P.S.  My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey.
TV Practice Tips: Toys and TV
This is the 3rd segment in my "Hidden Gems" series, featuring aspects of my website that you might not have noticed.     

This month, I'm featuring an article in the Fun Stuff section that I wrote for a 1995 issue of my "Harp Lover's News".  It is re-printed here as originally written.

This is the first in a series of articles that can help make your practice time more effective, and more FUN. They will be geared to help get you ready to play in public, no matter how big or small the audience, but they'll also be helpful for all you "closet harpists" out there as well.

When I first began playing the harp, my first "gig" was sitting in front of the Los Angeles County Art Museum with my harp and my "hat" in front of me for tips. The first lesson I learned was that people were much more likely to stop and listen if I made eye contact with them. The second lesson was that they liked to talk to me while I was playing, and that this was a skill I needed to master.

And so, today's article deals with how to practice making eye contact with your audience. And then, how to carry on a conversation while you play. These exercises are not meant to replace your regular practice routine. They're meant to be done in addition to your normal practicing. They're also meant to be FUN!

Pick a piece (or a section of a piece) that you have memorized and you know very well. Look at your strings whenever you need to, but try to wean yourself away from them. The more you practice each exercise, the better you'll get, and the longer you'll be able to look away from your strings.

Exercise #1.
Dolly and bunnies
Place one or more dolls or stuffed animals in front and around your harp as your "audience." (If you don't have any dolls, photos of friends and relatives will do.) Practice making eye contact with them while you play. See if you can get them to smile back at you!! If you can actually get them to applaud at the end of the piece, you know you're really cosmic!

Exercise #2.
Practice in front of the TV, with the TV on. I know this goes against everything you were ever taught ("Don't do your homework in front of the TV!"), but this is only an exercise. The best program to select if possible is a news program such as CNN or the evening news, since the reporters tend to look directly at the camera at YOU. Turn off the sound, and just watch the picture while you play your piece. As with the exercise with the dolls and stuffed animals, try to make as much eye contact with the people on the TV as possible. This exercise also gets you used to the distraction of motion in your field of vision (particularly during the sports segments of the program!)

Exercise #3
. Now turn up the sound on the TV, and try to actually pay attention to what the news reporters are saying while you play. Pretend that you have to take a quiz later about what was in the news, so you have to really listen to what they're saying and make sense of it (as much as anyone can possibly make of the news)!

Exercise #4.
Now you actually get to talk back to the TV while you play. Good shows for this are soap operas. It doesn't matter if you've ever seen the soap opera before or not, just make something up and talk back to them. For example, if the man on the screen says "But honey, you know I've always been faithful to you!" then you can say something like "Oh yeah? What about that Las Vegas show girl?" Don't worry if he doesn't answer your question, just get used to talking. In this exercise it is important that you actually talk out loud, not just in your imagination. Because of this, it is probably a good idea to practice this when nobody else is around, or they may think you're a bit daft. 

Stuffed animals

Exercise #5.
Get out your dolls and stuffed animals again and tell them a story while you play. They really enjoy hearing about "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." Try to keep talking and playing the whole time.

Exercise #6.
Once you're good with the TV and your animals, actually have a friend talk to you while you play. Try to carry on a conversation without losing your place.

As these exercises get easier for you, try adding more of your repertoire to what you play. Try to carry on a conversation without losing your place.

Remember, these exercises are not easy. Most professional harpists would have difficulty with them at first. But they are lots of fun, and once you master them, you'll be better able to ignore distractions, and will be more in control of your playing.
thisMonthsSaleThis month's sale
Pooh bear
In honor of stuffed animals everywhere, this month's sale features music about animals . . . both stuffed, and otherwise! Learn some of these pieces and play them for your favorite "pets." 
To get the 15% discount, enter the code word animal in the Promo Code box on your shopping cart page and click "Enter Code" by September 5, 2017. For more information, see the 15% Off section at the bottom of this newsletter.    
Pooh Corner (darker)
House at Pooh Corner
arranged by Sylvia Woods 
15% off with animal code
All the Pretty Little Horses
All the Pretty Little Horses
arranged by Sylvia Woods
15% off with animal code
Gecko Tails
composed by Sylvia Woods
15% off with animal code

Wizard of Oz
arranged by Sylvia Woods
(lions & tigers & bears, oh my, -- and Toto, too!)
15% off with animal code
4 Holiday Favorites
arranged by Sylvia Woods
(including Rudolph, the
Red-Nosed Reindeer

15% off with animal code
Andrew Lloyd Webber book
arranged by Sylvia Woods
(including Memory
from Cats)

15% off with animal code

  Harping Cats and Dogs
by Kathryn Cater
15% off with animal code
Forever in Love with Horses
Forever in Love with Horses
by Kathryn Cater
15% off with animal code
Dragons and Dinosaurs
Dragons and
by Reba Lunsford 
15% off with animal code

As the Deer
  As the Deer
arranged by Angi Bemiss
15% off with animal code
Kim Robertson Lambs
  Searching for Lambs
by Kim Robertson
15% off with animal code
Black Hounds
15% off with animal code

promocodes15% off select sale items when you use the code word: animal

Our newsletter promo codes are only redeemable on-line, 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 animal and it is good for 15% off the select "animal" books and PDFs in the sale section above.
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 animal 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 animal in the Promo Code box
and click "Enter Code" on your shopping cart page by September 5
to get the discount!
If you forget, or if you have trouble adding it to your order,
email us immediately .   

offer expires at the end of the day on 9/5/2017.
Sylvia Woods Harp Center
  (808) 212-9525

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