It's time for another nail art tutorial on the blog! (Have you tried the other harp nail art?) This one is quite easy! If you want to subtly use your nails to make a nod to your harp skills, here you go! You could also use a green base color to get ready for St. Patrick's Day!
nail polish (I used Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy in Jackpot)
nail art strips in red, blue, & silver or white (or you can use thin stripes of nail polish instead)
top coat (the writing is partly off the bottle, but I think I used Revlon ExtraLife No Chip Top Coat)
All you do...
Paint your base color (I think I used 3 coats)
Allow to fully dry
Place the strips on your nails in the order of harp strings. You'll probably want to start in the center and work out.
Apply top coat & allow to dry!
In keeping with what seems to have become this year's holiday roundup theme, here are a few Vintage Easter postcards with music. I just found a few on Etsy that I decided to share, so here's a little bonus post this week. Enjoy!
Oh man! Isn't this vintage Estonian postcard precious with the little musical chicks? It's available from RETROisIN on Etsy.
Look at these dapper little singing chicks wearing their collars! This postcard is from lotsofpostcards on Etsy.
Anddddd.....RETROisIN has offered 25% off to readers with the code MUSIC25!
Do you have a favorite music-themed Easter card? Be sure to share it with me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below!
Did you see my latest YouTube video? Don’t forget to subscribe!
Need a new gig bag? Got a bag with a slogan you'd like to upcycle?
I'm trying out posting a semi-wordless tutorial for this project...let me know what you think!
Use the fabric glue to attach this to your bag. Once it's dry, you're done! (I tried ironing it on with the fusing, but it didn't work too well, & started melting the inside of the bag.)
What do you think? Do you like it better with written instructions, or with just pictures?
Do you think you'll upcycle a bag into a personalized gig bag? Or are you happy with your current one? Show me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below!
Happy March! You know what March brings? St. Patrick's Day!
For a Valentine's-related post this year, I did an Etsy roundup of 14 Vintage Musical Valentines. Now enjoy some of my favorite vintage harp St. Patrick's Day cards!
And check the bottom for some discount codes!
How cute are these 1920s Dennison's cutout harps available from puffadonna?
Here's a sweet St. Patrick's Day card from the 1950s, available from VintageTinsel.
Here's a cool vintage postcard upcycled into a greeting card from Kay's Vintage Cards. I like how the scene is framed by the harp shape.
This puppy harper 1939 Gibson St. Patrick's Day card is adorable! It's also from puffadonna.
Many thanks to puffadonna for supplying this discount code for 15% off anything in her shop! Just use code PAPERPALOOZA1 at checkout!
What's your favorite harp St. Patrick's Day find? I'd love to see a picture on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below!
Want some St. Patrick's Day music lesson ideas? Check this roundup of 5 St. Patrick's Day Ideas.
In October of 2017, I got to meet Katherine Siochi, former AHS concert artist, 2016 Gold Medalist of the USA International Harp Competition, & current principal harpist with the Sarasota Orchestra (among other accomplishments)! We met for coffee at The Reserve, where we chatted for this interview. I have quite a bit of material, so am planning to split it into a multiple blog posts. Be sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook to be reminded when posts go up!
Today's segment is focused mostly on technology & social media. This seems fitting as Katherine & I "met" through social media, primarily Instagram (follow Katherine here & follow me here!).
Katherine's tips for teaching distance lessons (using platforms such as FaceTime)
I really just started doing that, so...the most important thing is [to] make sure they're in a space with a good connection. And generally [a] laptop is going to be better than a phone for audio quality...just because their sound system is probably going to be better than what your phone has. So if that is an option [that’s preferable]. My student who's in New York just tried a few different rooms to see which one was the clearest…
That, and then also just making sure like you have a very clear view of their hands obviously, and close enough to their hands. Especially for [younger students], still a lot of what I'm working on is hand position and technique. So that's almost, that’s just as important as sound.
And also if you both wear headphones there's not going to be an echo, which helps a lot. Or sometimes one of the girls will wear one earbud so she can hear herself playing better on the harp, but then I can also talk to her while she's playing.
But definitely it can be very frustrating sometimes when you just don't have a good connection. If I'm not at my apartment where I have the router right in there, then I'm not going to be guaranteed...so that can be frustrating. It always takes way longer than you think it's going to, with the technical issues.
If anyone wants FaceTime lessons with me, I need more to do.
[I (Barbara) teach distance lessons too!]
Katherine's old YouTube channel
Well, ya, I don't know....a big reason I did that in high school was - it sounds really, kind of dumb - but I was home-schooled through high school...and I realized when I started posting those videos on YouTube, I was connecting with so many people, and it just added another layer of interest to my life, just being more connected to the outside world in some way. Because...I obviously had music stuff where I would interact with other people, but for the most part I would be at home most of the day, and it was kind of lonely. That was one thing I really liked...I've met some people through YouTube and collaborated with a couple people...and it's kind of cool, especially when you're posting a song by a band you really like, and then everyone else [who] find[s] your video are people you have that in common with, so you have an instant connection. Same with Instagram, like harpists. Everyone finds each other through the Harp Column, practical harpist hashtag [#practicalharpist]....There's so many people I've seen on Instagram and followed them or seen their photos and then at some harp thing, I'll actually meet them. But I feel like I already met them kind of. You see little snippets of their everyday like all the time. I don't know, it's really cool.
[side note: I'm pretty sure it was this video that I remember watching years ago & didn't realize it was Katherine until after meeting her!]
Her flatlay tips
Ya, well so that's why I didn't take a picture here, because the shadows are not...if we were outside, that's a different story...Ok so the secret is [to] be near a window, so you have natural light. If you have artificial light, then...you're going to see shadows and those are going to be in the picture. So it's not going to look as clear.
[I learned this] just posting way too much on Instagram. Ya, I guess just like following other people who take really good photos and trying to figure out why is their stuff is so good.
I haven't done a flatlay in awhile actually...I only take pictures of sunsets now. Ever since I moved here. I've been going to the beach...just in time to watch the sunset.
Her favorite social media platform at the time
Right now, well, I've gotten a bunch of different accounts and I just don't use some of them, so...it's probably going to be obvious, but I would say definitely Instagram...I just forget to use Twitter. I've never gotten into it. Like, I don't think I have enough short witty things to say for people to retweet and follow me....and I don't find it as engaging...the visual aspect adds so much, I know you can add photos to tweets, but that's not the same.
[Then we had a short discussion on sending Instagram photos to Twitter]
Well, so occasionally I'll remember I have it, and be like “I have this concert coming up,” but I don't think that's actually any of the interactions gotten real results from that...I started using [Instagram] ... maybe 4 or 5 years ago, pretty much right when it started, back when it had the real camera logo....so I started using that a few years ago, and I didn't ever post anything musical to it. Just like, pictures of my dog, or like you know, like flowers. You know, just random things that I thought were pretty. And then it wasn't until...a year ago or something, I started posting videos of me playing the harp. Or using it more to post harp-related things. And I sort of combed through my photos and deleted certain ones and then changed my username to my actual name so maybe it's a little more professional now.
But ya, I changed it to my name so maybe people could find it a little more easy. And started posting harp videos and stuff and then, when I started posting videos, I started getting way more followers, ‘cause like it's more engaging than a photo...And tag them with [#practicalharpist]. And all these harpists started following me, and I was like oh that's so cool... I mean I still post a lot of just like whatever I want to post, like personal stuff. But now it's sort of like both things.
Something I've talked about with a lot of people, and it's really hard to find the right balance. I feel like especially among musicians, who use social media....to present yourself in a way that's authentically who you are, and somewhat self-promoting, ‘cause that is kind of the point of social media, but not in a way that comes across...like you're obsessed with yourself. It's really hard to find the right tone, and to find the right balance between just being a relatable, down to earth person, who ya, this is what I do, my whole life is about the harp, and maybe I'm doing some cool things, but to share that with people so they can follow what you’re doing, but still be honest and humble. I find there's a very fine line, so it's hard to do that. And there are lots of people who do that very well, and it's just hard to not feel tacky sometimes when you're posting about yourself. So, I don't know, I don't have an answer to that. It's just like a very interesting thing that I’m always thinking about. How to find the right balance, which is why it helps I think to just post personal stuff and be like, “I'm just a normal person, I think this coffee is cool, like whatever.” You know what I mean?
...I think social media's a great tool. I posted about one time back in January I posted this post like all my upcoming concerts for the cities and the dates in one image and there were a couple people who came to them because they happened to be near that city at that time. Because they followed me on Instagram and I had never met them. Or maybe I had met them, but I don't talk to them regularly, so that was how they found out about it. So it can be really great sometimes. I think it's just like, it's very hard to not feel like you're going too far with it, or being overly self-promoting. At the end of the day, I guess it doesn't matter what other people think... you want to accomplish whatever your goal is through social media, do that, but I think people respect you more if you come across as just a little more laid back, not too intense about it, I'm not gonna post harp videos everyday.
Well the thing I posted yesterday was this piece I hadn't played in like a year....but ya I forgot I had that and I was just flipping through my files of music and I was like oh ya, this piece is really pretty, and I'm getting kind of bored with the stuff that I have to record, because that's not happening until the end of November and I've been playing those pieces since the beginning of the year, or at least for the past few months, so I'm like “Uh, I don't wanna practice again ‘cause it's fine right now,” but at the same time I have to maintain it, and it's like what do you work on, and it's just like uh. So I was just like I just need to play something different so that I remind myself that the are other things you can play on the harp besides the pieces I'm gonna put on the cd...Ya it's hard to play pieces that you've been playing for so long and maintain the same amount of enthusiasm as you did right after you learned it, cause usually when I learn a piece, them I'm just like instantly like obsessed with it. When I'm in the process of learning it, then that's all I wanna practice. I don't wanna play the other stuff I've already learned, I just wanna practice this new piece, cause I'm like really enthusiastic about it. And then, once it reaches a level of proficiency where I can play it from memory or whatever, then it's like not as exciting. I mean it helps if I have a performance to prepare for soon...So ya, I'm kind of like, I'm not playing the stuff that's for my recording everyday, cause I just don't want it to sound dull, and like I'm sick of it when I actually get in there to record. But, at the same time, it's like, recordings are so annoying, so it needs to be good, so that I don't make them cut every one minute. What always happens when I record myself I like start the beginning, and I’ll play one measure and there’s some tiny thing I don't like about it, and I’m just like restart, restart, restart. And once I get past that spot, then it's fine.
On mistakes coming out when recording
Ya, it’s just like when you push the button, it puts on this extra level of pressure that makes you psych yourself, and then you're just over thinking everything and it's also just the fact that it's gonna be something that stays there, more permanently that people can go back and rewatch, whereas a live ... performance it happens, they're not gonna remember, they're not gonna be able go back, see where your mistakes are, whereas a recording it’s immortalized....so just mentally, it puts more pressure on [you].
And there's the first installment of my interview with Katherine Siochi! Be sure to go check out her Instagram!
Don't forget to peruse the Guest Posts & Interviews category of the blog!
*Fischarper interviews may be edited for accuracy (spelling, punctuation, etc.), sentence flow (primarily verbal interviews), & space.
Barbara Fischer runs Fischarper, LLC and loves her job as a harpist and private music educator. She enjoys blogging about various aspects of the music field on fischarper.com/blog. For more music resources, check out the Fischarper store. You can connect with Barbara all over the interwebs on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. And you can sign up to receive Fischarper updates by joining the email list.
Make a stand caddy to hold your pencils during practice! And guess what...it's made from a toilet paper roll.
empty toilet paper roll
decorative paper (I used a wallpaper sample in the vid)
decorative tape (like washi tape)
Watch the video &/or follow the written instructions below to make your own.
(Don't forget to subscribe for weekly YouTube videos!)
1. Cut the wallpaper to size.
2. Trace a circle onto the extra cardboard, using the toilet paper tube as a guide. Cut it out & use it as a guide to cut out a piece of matching paper.
3. Tape the cardboard circle to the bottom of the tube.
4. Glue the paper around the tube. Use your clothespin to temporarily hold it down at the seam if necessary.
5. Cut a rectangle of paper. Fold it in thirds(ish) and glue it.
6. Glue the paper circle to the bottom.
7. Glue the strip inside the tube (near the seam). Clip it with the clothespin if necessary.
8. Bend the paper (where it will fold over onto the clothespin). You can trim it to make it more manageable.
9. Add a strip of washi/decorative tape along the seam. Don't press it down too hard; you'll need to pull some of it up later.
10. Pull up the tape at the bottom. Place some tape around the bottom. Trim & fold down. Re-adhere the tape over the seam.
11. Repeat step 10 with the top, working around the tab you added.
12. Glue the clothespin & paper tab. If you're a harpist, be sure you have the clothespin facing the direction for it to clip onto the left side of the music stand.
13. Add tape to cover the paper and clothespin. Trim as needed.
14. Use some clear tape to secure the tab inside the tube. Crease the tab to help it hang better.
Clip this onto your music stand to keep your pencils handy!
Please show me your take on this project on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter!
I recently completed Harp Column's #30DayPracticeChallenge. I'm so glad I took on this challenge! Here are a few thoughts/reflections after completing it...
I got a cold & was a total wimp, so I took some days off between day 29 & day 30. Since completing it, I've kind of fallen off the band wagon, but should get back to daily practice (if only for the Instagram posts...haha)!
Did you do the #30DayPracticeChallenge? Let me know how it went on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below!
I might or might not have been saving up some straws for this project. :) It's a fun way to upcycle some used straws (wash them & let them dry before storing them). There are several straw-melting tutorials on the internet, including this one.
If you try this project, be careful & do it at your own risk, as it uses heat & melting things. If you're a kid, make sure to have a responsible adult help you.
straws (red, blue, clear)
aluminum foil (some tutorials use baking paper I think)
towel or ironing board
And there you have it! You could use this for a suncatcher, keychain, etc. You could also have your students do the patterning of the straws & then the cutting out the harp shape (make sure it's cooled!). You'll probably want to do the ironing step since it could be a bit dangerous. Each student could take one home as a practice aid for remembering the colors of each string. How would you use it?
I've got another melted straw project planned for the future too!
If you do this project, please show me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.
Apparently I didn't schedule this post ahead of time....oops! And it seems to have posted as backdated.... :/
Happy February! Vintage Valentines are just so cute to me (but some do look a little creepy too...). Anyway, with Valentine's Day approaching, enjoy these 14 vintage Valentines (because Valentine's Day is Feb. 14...so clever, huh?)!
Continue to the end of the post for some discount codes from a few of the Etsy sellers in this roundup!
3. I love clowns. Not the creepy kind, but normal clowns. :) Anyway, here's a cute glockenwspiel-playing clown & puppy valentine from Venturing Vintage. (While you're over there, look at the cute little skunk that makes an appearance in a lot of the pictures.)
9. A harp valentine! This one also unfolds, so be sure to check out the other pictures here. This one's from kinseysue as well.
10. These little bass-playing birds remind me a little of Cinderella. This valentine is from BoutiquityVintage.
Now for the coupon codes!
Use code HARP10 for 10% off any purchase of $20.00 or more at VenturingVintage!
Get free shipping (plus there's a 15% off sale at the time of posting) from thefreakfiles with code FREESHIP!
Which one is your favorite?
For Valentine-themed lesson ideas, check out last year's Valentine's Day Roundup.
If you need some printable activities, take a look at the Valentine's Day Music Bundle in the Fischarper TpT store.
Want to see more roundups? Peruse the roundup category.
Not too long ago, Fischarper launched merch! Here's a little glimpse into that aspect of the Fischarper brand.
The focus is mainly on quirky & fun music merchandise. Who says musicians always need to be proper?
For my storefront, I'm using Tictail. What attracted me to Tictail is that there aren't any fees until something sells, & Printful can integrate right into it. :)
There's a little more to it than that. If you have questions, feel free to ask me in the comments section below! I'm not a pro, but I'm glad to answer questions that I can or try to point you in the right direction.
I might try the Etsy store as well.
One thing that's really important to me is where items are made. For example, I prefer not to purchase items made in China for various reasons including ethical, environmental, & political. It can be frustrating when this detail is left out of online merchandise listings. "Made in" is clearly posted in each item description in the Fischarper store.
Go browse the Fischarper store, & let me know which item is your favorite! Have a special request? Contact me to see what we can do!
Oh & Tictail just might have a discount code for first-time customers once you log in, or you can subscribe to the Fischarper email list for a 10% off code good through 1/31/18!
Welcome to the blog! I'm Barbara, and I work as a freelance harpist and private music educator. You can read my bio here. On the blog, you can find posts about various aspects of this career path, especially teaching and crafty stuff. Thank you for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you in the comments or on social media. And don't forget to subscribe to the email list for updates!
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