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Before & After Sheet Music Updates

It's February 2021 and the Music Discoveries Shop is celebrating 3 years! (Whoo-hoo!) Thank you so much for your support by purchasing, learning and teaching my music. Thank-you!

For those of you who have been following for awhile, you'll have noticed how my catalogue of music has grown. It's actually become quite a challenge to navigate through all of the titles. Over the past 4 months I have been working steadily to create a structure that would make the Music Discoveries Shop even better!

The first thing I did was create a 6-level system to categorize all of my pieces by level of difficulty. I wrote a blog post to show the elements that tend to appear at each level because I want you to be able to wisely choose music that fits (or stretches) your current technical and reading ability. 

But this blog post is about the updates that I have been making to my harp sheet music. Here's what I set out to do: create a consistent appearance with support for your technique, your reading skills and artistry.

1. Consistent Appearance

When you first dive in and explore my harp sheet music you will be met with a beautiful display of choices. The covers give the Shop a polished and consistent appearance that makes me so happy! Just hover your mouse over a cover image and you will see a quick view of the sheet music. Plus you'll see exactly which level you are viewing. The left menu bar gives you plenty of filtering options if you want to narrow down your choices.

2. Support for Technique

I know that many of my customers are adult learners who are in the process of developing their technical skills at the harp. I know how helpful it is to have fingering and bracket solutions in place at the earlier levels. 

The most important set of updates that I tackled was to go through my lower level pieces and add fingering and brackets for you.

Here's a before and after of All Is Calm, which originally had no fingering at all. Notice that I am using directional brackets. If the notes move upward, the bracket also slants upward. I believe directional brackets can support directional reading skills. 

You will see that I am extremely consistent with fingering placement. Right hand fingering is always above the notes and left hand fingering placed below. This gives you plenty of white space between the clefs to write in your counting.

Before and After - All Is Calm

3. Support for Reading

It's important to me that my scores are as readable as possible. Part of that has to do with using a slightly larger music font and planning a spacious layout so you can relax and enjoy reading music without struggling to see. 

The other part of readability is being aware that there are often several ways to notate a piece of music. I enjoy searching for the option that reduces visual clutter and processes most easily. 

My original score of Butterfly Dreams was perfectly accurate. But over time I noticed that people often get flustered with tied notes. So I wondered, are they really necessary? In fact, I removed all the ties and rests in the updated score and now look how easy it is to read!

You'll also see an example of cross-staff beaming. This is where the left hand and right hand share a pair of eighth notes. This might look unusual to you at first, but it actually makes it much easier to see the rhythmic groupings of eighth notes and that means improved counting.

Before and after: Butterfly Dreams

At intermediate levels the hands will frequently cross over and change clefs, which can be a reading challenge. I updated the notation to help you navigate those passages more easily. I'm using cross-staff beaming again to show the rhythmic groupings of eighth notes. The extra RH and LH markings are helpful and of course my placement of fingering and brackets give an extra clue for navigating the extended arpeggio pattern.

Before and After: O Come, O Come Emmanuel

4. Support for Artistry

From the very beginning , back in 2012 when I first started creating harp music, I was committed to providing a sample of how each piece sounds. This started with simple audio mp3s and soon evolved into YouTube videos. 

The YouTube videos have become fun artistic projects for me even through they create a lot of extra work. You'll see that I have been re-recording some of my older pieces. Sometimes it is simply because I want to improve on the quality and sometimes it is so the video better reflects the updated score. 

If you haven't subscribed to my YouTube Channel yet, you can do that here. I usually publish a new video every week and you'll see a mixture of harp music, piano music, harp tutorials and sometimes technology tips. I think you'll especially enjoy my playlists, which are so relaxing.

I hope you enjoy the new Shop navigation. I'm so excited to be close to the finish line with my sheet music updates. 

I'll sign off with some lovely comments from my customers:

"I like the readability of your printed music - nice clear, rather large notation makes it easier to read."

"Anne's arrangements are well laid out on the page, easy to read, have thoughtful left hand/right hand synchrony and are appealing to harpists of all levels."

"Your arrangements are wonderful and your fingering suggestions are spot on. My harp teacher always compliments your arrangements."

"It is beautiful music that Anne writes. For every level there are subtle challenges and new learning methods. Takes us to new levels while enjoying it!"

"I can always find something that fits what I need. It is a nice variety. I can play your music without a lot of struggle, which at my age fits me!"

"Anne, I so enjoy playing your compositions and arrangements. They lay so wonderfully under the fingers. I find your music comforting and challenging all at the same time. You inspire me to better technique, better sound quality, and more performance confidence. Thanks so much!"

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