||Often, when I play harp for
afternoon tea at an historic home here in Fort Collins, I will give a small talk about the
harp. It is always surprising to people to learn that it is never too late in life to take
up harp playing.
The harplist is
an international group of harpers and harpists that has over 700 members of all
ages...even a woman of 70 who just took up the harp a few years ago! And the Sylvia Woods Harp Center in California teaches
lessons and Sylvia said that the average age of her students is 40....so I would encourage
anyone who is interested in harp playing to do what I did:
- Spend a few weeks searching online for information about harps, harpers and harpists.
- Subscribe to the Harplist at Yahoo and start reading the posts and get a feel for what
the community is like and some of the interests and concerns of harpers and harpists
- Find a music store in your area that rents harps...or search online for the place
nearest you that rents and will ship a harp. You will be surprised at how many there are
- Think about the kind of music you want to play and see if you can find any harp music at
your local music store.
- Don't let anyone tell you that you are too old, too short, too tone deaf, too ANYTHING
to learn a musical instrument. Harp is a very delightful instrument to learn. Although
mastery is difficult, it is easy to learn to play if you have the desire and interest.
- Find a teacher in your area. It is important to start with good classical technique.
Homegrown hand position has stopped many good players in their tracks and held up their
growth as a musician and harper. There are some good videos for teaching hand position if
you can't find a teacher. It is worth it to take the time to learn *proper* technique! It
will feel VERY odd at first, but will be Well worth the extra time spent to make it
- If there are harpers in your area, try to join a harp circle, where local harpers get
together and play together and learn together. These are usually very amiable groups with
very generous, helpful people.
|Harpers and harpists
are, by and large, a very kind and accepting group of people within the music community.
Don't be intimidated. We all started out as beginners at some point. What matters is that
you START and keep going. You will never be sorry!!