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  • Harp Q&A: Getting to know you

     Amy Newson updated 2 months ago 31 Members · 123 Posts
  • Judiann Maddigan

    Member
    2 March, 2021 at 3:39 am

    We’ve all come from different groups and platforms to join this wonderful new community. Here are some Questions & Answers to help us get to know each other. Everyone is invited to jump in at any time, newcomers and beginners included.

    Questions:

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

    Answer as many questions as you wish. Comments, suggestions, and general banter welcome.

  • Judiann Maddigan

    Member
    2 March, 2021 at 3:46 am

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    At the beginning of the pandemic, I decided to learn hammered dulcimer. After a few months, I was padding hammers and trying to make that instrument sound like a harp. It wasn’t going particularly well ?. That’s when I realized I should be playing harp instead. It was a roundabout way of getting here, but I’m so happy to have finally discovered the harp.


    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

    Traditional Celtic slow airs. They’re simply gorgeous on the harp.

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

    I’ve been learning tunes by chunking, for example, in 2-measure phrases. Stringing those chunks together in a smooth, flowing manner (without pauses) has been harder than expected. As if that weren’t enough, I’m also trying to memorize a few repertoire pieces and not rely so heavily on sheet music.

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    It’s all about the challenge. Playing the harp takes every single available brain cell. It’s all-encompassing. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be as fascinating. And it’s so encouraging to see progress.

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

    I’m really looking forward to meeting new friends and getting to know everyone on the forums here. How about you?

    • Alyssa Cowell

      Member
      2 March, 2021 at 3:31 pm

      1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

      I had never seen a harp up close in person, but have always wanted to play. A few Christmases ago I received the amazing gift of a harp kit to build one myself – it took me about 3 months of super-careful assembly and finishing to complete (zero wood working experience, a musician’s amount of patience, and limitless enthusiasm).

      2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

      I am happy to play just about anything that will fit on my 26 string, no levers (yet) harp, but at my current skill level I enjoy ballads and traditional folk music most!

      3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

      I’m a little stuck on the idea of learning/arranging songs from film adaptations of Jane Austen films – so many pretty melodies that would translate well to harp! More realistically: I would like to put together a short set list to play at a local farmer’s market or other small, low-pressure venue.

      4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

      For me, the harp is a perfect combination of musical challenge and relaxation technique – the mind is engaged but the resulting music is calming and supremely satisfying.

      5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

      Building my harp was the most rewarding experience and led to a few more non-harp instrument builds – I would love to encourage anyone considering their own build!

      • Annette Mead

        Member
        3 March, 2021 at 6:46 am

        Oh wow I don’t think I would have the confidence to build my own harp! And yes I agree with your thought there about the Jane Austen movie soundtracks, there could be some gems there for harp arrangements. ?

        • Alyssa Cowell

          Member
          10 March, 2021 at 8:42 pm

          Hi, Annette! I posted a reply to Judiann below – you might be interested in the book I mentioned!

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        4 March, 2021 at 12:33 am

        @alyssa.cowell Have you already arranged anything from those Jane Austen films? On my To Arrange List are Hole in the Wall by Henry Purcell, as well as several country dances from Playford’s English Dancing Master. They probably fit in the same general category as you’re referring to, although I haven’t learned any of them yet. Looking forward to being able to play them.

        • Alyssa Cowell

          Member
          10 March, 2021 at 8:41 pm

          Hi, Judiann! I have NOT arranged anything yet, though I have an easy piano book of some of JA film themes that will get me started. I’ll need to re-key most songs to work with my 26 strings. I also have a book by Suzanne Guldmann called “Music for the Netherfield Ball,” which is full of songs from the Austen family collection/mentioned in Austen’s writings and letters – not from the films, but historically accurate and pretty!

    • Annette Mead

      Member
      3 March, 2021 at 6:42 am

      Hi Judiann! I also love traditional Celtic music! I’m curious if you still play the hammered dulcimer? I just learned what that instrument is recently! I’m also curious how long have you been playing the harp now? ?

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        3 March, 2021 at 5:51 pm

        @annette.mead I’ve been playing harp for 8 months and no longer play HD (hammered dulcimer). However, my duet partner still plays her HD and loves it. After finding this video last summer, I realized I wanted to be the harp player rather than the HD player. The Foggy Dew is on my To Learn list ?. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ms8LFc7fSM

    • Tiffany Schaefer

      Member
      15 March, 2021 at 7:37 am

      I love your “aha” moment, Judiann! “I’m trying to make this sound like a harp…why am I not playing a harp?”

      Do you have any current favorite slow airs?

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        15 March, 2021 at 5:17 pm

        @tiffanyharpandsong Great question. There are so many, that could be a whole thread in itself. I’ve been arranging tunes from the Kingston Irish Slow Session Tune Book. It has a really nice selection of trad slow airs and includes many of my favorites. I’m currently learning “The Gentle Maiden,” but since I arrange music at a higher level than I can play, it will take months of practice. 😅


        • Tiffany Schaefer

          Member
          15 March, 2021 at 7:19 pm

          Oh Gentle Maiden is a great one! And that Kingston book is a treasure isn’t it? I love that they put the chord symbols in.

          • Judiann Maddigan

            Member
            15 March, 2021 at 7:47 pm

            @tiffanyharpandsong Yes, and their chord suggestions are usually spot on. Another thing I like about that book is that it gives sources and background info for the tunes.

        • Amy Newson

          Member
          10 April, 2021 at 3:54 am

          Thanks fr the suggestions- I’ll have to put that book on my “want” list. 🙂

          • Judiann Maddigan

            Member
            10 April, 2021 at 4:36 am

            @amy.newson Good news — It’s free. 😃

            It’s a 524-page PDF file with lead sheets (melodies and chords). Go to this page https://www.harpoftara.com/music . Scroll down to Slow Sessions. In the left column, there will be a button to download the Full Tune Book.

  • Candace Clark

    Member
    2 March, 2021 at 3:55 am

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    I realized in middle school that all of my classmates had been playing instruments since they were little. I felt like I needed to pick an easy instrument so I could catch up to them. As we all know, the harp is not as easy as it looks! I fell in love with it and I’ve been playing for many years now. Unfortunately life has gotten in the way or I haven’t devoted time to practice like I should. I’m still an advanced beginner, I’d say.

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

    Classical music, but I’m struggling to find easier pieces to learn on that still have some depth of character like the traditional pieces.

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

    I’d like to build up my repertoire. I currently know 3 songs at the beginner to intermediate level.

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    I love how soothing it is. Whether I’m playing or I’m listening to someone else, I just love how beautiful it sounds. Never fails to put a smile on my face.

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

    Reading music has always been my greatest weakness. I’ve let it hold me back from so much harping! My hope is through these courses, I’ll be able to develop better technique while tackling note reading in my spare time. Happy to be here and meet some new harpy friends!

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      2 March, 2021 at 5:51 pm

      You’ve got a lovely pedal harp, so that must help with your classical pieces. The accidentals have been my problem, trying to play classical music on a lever harp.

      Reading music has always been my greatest weakness. I’ve let it hold me back from so much harping!

      Have you tried playing by shapes? One method is Magic Hands by Carol Kapus, https://youtu.be/frOTGefjug4 . That was an eye-opener for me. I label the shapes for the brackets on my sheet music. For example, I’ll see a “Mitten” shape, and I’ll only read the starting C note. My fingers have learned to place those other notes for the C D E G shape simultaneously without having to read the additional 3 notes. Reading by relationships is so much faster than having to read every single note. However, this method probably works better for Celtic music rather than classical.

  • Amanda Barnes

    Member
    2 March, 2021 at 4:47 am

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    It’s an instrument I’ve always wanted to play. I finally decided to take the leap!

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

    I really love Celtic music which is my goal to be able to play.

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

    To play music for my family, especially at Christmas.

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    The peace is brings me. I find it fun and relaxing. It brightens my day!

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

    I’m really looking forward to using this site. Finally a place where it can all come together!

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      2 March, 2021 at 6:34 pm

      Playing for your family is a wonderful goal, and you have plenty of time to make that happen by Christmas. Are you already starting on Christmas carols? I’d like to learn In the Bleak Midwinter — it’s one of my favorites.

      • Amanda Barnes

        Member
        3 March, 2021 at 3:05 am

        I haven’t started yet but I have a few ready for me to learn. In the bleak midwinter is definitely one I want to play. I have two I purchased from Anne Crosby Gaudet that she wrote called First Snow and All is Calm.

        • Judiann Maddigan

          Member
          3 March, 2021 at 7:50 pm

          @amanda.barnes Nice choices. That’s already shaping up to be a great holiday program.

        • Tiffany Schaefer

          Member
          13 March, 2021 at 7:45 pm

          I have those pieces by Anne too and just love them!!

        • nightthunder Dupuis

          Member
          16 March, 2021 at 7:18 pm

          Hi Amanda! I’m with you! I have the same pieces of music and can’t wait to learn them. It’s wonderful that you want to share your playing with family members. They and you will benefit.

  • Jay Derry-Greene

    Member
    2 March, 2021 at 11:42 am

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    Lockdown really. I play the French horn, in some local community orchestras and bands, but it’s not so much fun playing it on my own, it’s meant to be part of a whole. And since I’ve always loved the sound of the harp, and it seemed a nicer thing to play solo, I took the plunge and found a secondhand harp nearby.

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

    Classical, and folk music

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

    To improve my technique, to be able to play both hands together more easily, to be able to play more complex music

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    I love the sound most of all, but also the look of the instrument, and the actual physical process of playing – and I’m enjoying finding that there’s a harp community too.

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

    I’ve just taken early retirement, so in theory I should have plenty of time to practise. But I have also just adopted two Dale pony colts (8mths and 10mths), in case I had too much spare time or money 😉

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      2 March, 2021 at 7:52 pm

      “I love the sound most of all, but also the look of the instrument, and the actual physical process of playing …”

      You’ve raised such an important point, about enjoying the process of playing the harp. I totally agree.

      “…But I have also just adopted two Dale pony colts (8mths and 10mths), in case I had too much spare time or money

      ? Too funny!

    • Annette Mead

      Member
      3 March, 2021 at 6:50 am

      Adopted two new colts?! I’m sure they’re adorable! Do they have names?☺

      • Jay Derry-Greene

        Member
        3 March, 2021 at 7:53 pm

        Hi, they are Merlin and Bracken.

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      3 March, 2021 at 6:09 pm

      @jay.derry-greene We want to see those Dale pony colts. There’s a camera icon to attach a photo to your forum post. ?

      This is a “getting to know you” thread, and some of the most interesting conversations happen off topic.

      • Jay Derry-Greene

        Member
        3 March, 2021 at 7:49 pm

        Lol. Here they are:

        The black-and-grey (blue roan) fella is Merlin, and he’s 10 months old, and the pangaré bay little guy is Bracken, who is 8 months.

        • Judiann Maddigan

          Member
          3 March, 2021 at 8:14 pm

          @jay.derry-greene Awww. So cute. My blue merle smooth collie is also named Merlin, but he requires a little less space than your Merlin ?.

        • Annette Mead

          Member
          13 March, 2021 at 6:03 am

          They are gorgeous! And wow, such big boys by 10 months and 8 months! Also the snow is also gorgeous where you are 👍

        • Tiffany Schaefer

          Member
          15 March, 2021 at 7:18 pm

          THEY ARE SO CUTE!

  • Avril Sauquet

    Member
    2 March, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    Hi all,

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    I’ve always liked the harp, but when I was a child I always heard I’d never succeed in playing it, that it was too hard and to concentrate on my studies. So now I have a job, I’m independant, and an adult and about 2 years ago I figured I could try to learn anyway, now it would only affect me if I tried and failed or tried and managed to learn.

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

    I love all types of musics but I have a fondness for traditional celtic musics.

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

    I want to first correct all of my bad habits taken after about a year of learning alone in my corner with various youtube channels, and start to build my musical repertoire (and remember it this time)

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    I enjoy many things. First being the challenge, second being that the harp is a beautiful instrument that doesn’t pierce your eardrums if you make mistakes so…

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

    I’m glad to meet you all 😉

    • Josie Danckaert

      Member
      2 March, 2021 at 3:42 pm

      It’s nice to meet you! I can totally relate to having bad habits built up (oof) so that’s one of my goals too.

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      2 March, 2021 at 8:06 pm

      “…and start to build my musical repertoire (and remember it this time)”


      When you figure that out, let me know. I can play pieces that I’m currently working on, but if I try a piece that I haven’t played for a while, it takes some dedicated practice to learn it again.

  • Josie Danckaert

    Member
    2 March, 2021 at 3:37 pm

    Hi everybody! My name is Josie and I’m currently a university student! I play the violin, and I’ve always kind of wanted to play the harp, but it was always something that seemed unreachable in my mind. But, in January I decided to go for it and got myself a harp anyways. I really like Celtic harp music, but I also like when people play other sorts of music (especially instrumental soundtracks from movies or video games) on the harp, and I hope to learn some of those someday. I don’t really have any specific goals for this year, I just want to learn as much as I can and have fun doing it! My favorite part of playing the harp is just listening to the sound and knowing that I’m making it. I love making music.

    I’m looking forward to meeting new people!! Are there any other university/college students out there?

    • Annette Mead

      Member
      3 March, 2021 at 6:54 am

      Hey Josie! I also would love to play music from movies (like Phantom of the Opera) and video games (like Legend of Zelda)! I just graduated in 2020, so I was recently a university/college student… does that count? ?

      • Josie Danckaert

        Member
        3 March, 2021 at 8:44 pm

        Yess that’s exciting! I have a lot of friends who graduated then right as school was starting to move online. I LOVE Zelda music and I definitely have some pieces in mind to learn when I get to that level haha. Phantom of the Opera is cool too! And I love theatre music too in general so that might be fun

      • Caroline Henry

        Member
        30 March, 2021 at 9:45 am

        Hi Annette, i love the Legend of Zelda music too & have been learning how to play some of the songs from Ocarina of time. Have you heard of Amy Turk? She’s a harpist on Youtube, i love her version of “Fairy fountain” – and hope to get that good someday 😊

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      3 March, 2021 at 8:03 pm

      @josieisgroovy Some of those anime films have gorgeous soundtracks. I especially like composer Joe Hisaishi.

      • Josie Danckaert

        Member
        3 March, 2021 at 8:46 pm

        Ooh true! I really like the music from Howl’s Moving Castle

      • Daleen Comer

        Member
        13 March, 2021 at 7:41 pm

        I play piano as well as harp, and I have two books of music by Joe Hisaishi that I bought in Tokyo while on vacation, because you can’t get them any other way. They are very precious to me.

  • Juliane Zollmann-Lang

    Member
    2 March, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    Hello together, great idea to introduce us:

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    Once I was in a concert (in the eighties) and a young man was playing a small harp – I never knew about it… two weeks later my piano was sold and a small harp was ordered, modell “renaissance” from Salvi. Even the harpteacher on our conservatory never heard about small harps and she tried to teach me well. Nevertheless I had a few lessons and then I stopped it – it was not what I really needed.

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

    I am a Folksinger, loving the celtic music very much and jiddish and sefardish music too. I love to arrange my songs harps for accompaniments.

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

    My goal – not even für 2021 – is to become better in first-sight-reading and coordination of both hands.

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    I love to hold my harps in my arms, feeling the resonance in my body. And I really love the sound of plucked instruments, their tenderness and also the power they can have.

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      3 March, 2021 at 8:26 pm

      @juliane.zollmann-lang Wow, you were all-in, selling your piano and buying your first harp. Since you now have three harps, it looks like you made the right decisions. There’s so much to think about when playing harp: hand position, tone, dynamics, expression, rhythm, posture — not to mention playing the right notes. I admire people who can also sing on top of all that.

  • Katharina Kleidosty

    Member
    2 March, 2021 at 5:27 pm

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    I’m a violinist and was just starting to get back into regular orchestra work after taking a break for a few years when my kids were little, when the first lockdown hit. My country went into lockdown just two days before I was supposed to play in a big concert. All my ongoing and upcoming projects were cancelled. I lost all motivation to practise my violin, and even though I managed to play a few projects in the summer, it was so difficult to get work that I decided to look for a second possible career. I eventually found a course for music therapy, but to get in I’d have to learn guitar, oud or harp as my main instrument. I decided on the harp because that was my favourite out of the three choices, and I’m so glad I did! (I’m actually just about to send in my finished application! Wish me luck!)

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

    Anything, really. I love Celtic, classical, meditative contemporary original harp music, and arrangements of contemporary songs.

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

    Successfully get into the music therapy course, work on my sight-reading, and become more confident in my technique.

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    It’s just such a relaxing sound! And it sounds nice right from the start, even as a complete beginner.

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

    This is the most supportive and positive musical community I’ve ever been in, and I’m glad to be here! ?

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      3 March, 2021 at 10:58 pm

      @katharina.kleidosty I recognize your name from one of Christy-Lyn’s videos. Now that I’ve mentioned it, here’s a link so everyone doesn’t need to go hunting, https://youtu.be/-SB80JIFhkM . You’ve done amazingly well for such a short amount of time with the harp.

      Music therapy is an awesome goal, and I’m sure you’ll do great at it. You have such a solid foundation. There isn’t a Music Therapy forum here yet. I’ll tag @Christy-Lyn , and maybe the team can consider adding one in the next forum update.

  • Virginia Carrion

    Member
    2 March, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    Hi Everyone.

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp? I always wanted to learn to play an instrument. I liked the piano but the harp won me over after watching a video on someone playing it. It just sounded so magical and looked so beautiful.

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music? I enjoy contemporary and classic music.

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021? I’m totally beginner so I want to be able to read music, play with both hands and learn some songs.

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp? It is just beautiful and fill relaxed and transported to a peaceful place.

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add? I’m hoping to learn how to play the harp to meet new friends in this community, and share beautiful music.

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      3 March, 2021 at 11:28 pm

      @virginia.carrion So far, you’re one of three people who have mentioned contemporary music in this thread. I really don’t know enough about it. I have this preconceived idea that contemporary would involve difficult rhythms and too many accidentals for a lever harp. Maybe I’m mixing up terms and thinking of avant garde instead. Help me out here… What type of contemporary music do you like? If you mean compositions by Christy-Lyn Marais or Anne Crosby Gaudet, for example, then I’m right there with you.

  • Amy Newson

    Member
    3 March, 2021 at 1:45 am

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp? I’m a Celtophile, and harp seemed less daunting than bagpipes. (Mostly kidding.)

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music? Celtic. ?

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021? Practice at least 3x a week, and be patient with starting with simple tunes so that I can progress with good technique.

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp? Making beautiful sounds.

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      3 March, 2021 at 11:42 pm

      @amy.newson Between harp and bagpipes, you definitely made the right choice. Your family thanks you, and your neighbors thank you. ?

      About practicing 3 times per week, good for you. That’s a realistic goal. On the weeks that you manage more often than that, you can feel good about yourself. It’s a better way to approach it, instead of someone setting a goal of 7 days per week. If that person missed one day, she would feel like she failed, even though she put in 6 good days.

      • Annette Mead

        Member
        13 March, 2021 at 6:11 am

        @judiann.maddigan This is just the wisdom I needed to hear! I’m one of those people who tries every day to play the harp and I give myself flexibility maybe once a week to skip a day, but it’s hard to keep that up with a busy work schedule too. Even just 15 minutes is meaningful, but if I don’t play for an hour daily I feel disappointed in myself, but I should be proud of myself 😆

      • Amy Newson

        Member
        21 March, 2021 at 4:11 am

        Thanks @judiann.maddigan ! I’ve learned a couple of things from my decades of trying to get a handle on my health – reasonable goals and wiggle room are key! 😉

    • Tiffany Schaefer

      Member
      13 March, 2021 at 7:37 pm

      Hello fellow Celtophile! Those are some great goals. Good luck!

      • Amy Newson

        Member
        21 March, 2021 at 4:12 am

        Thanks Tiffany!

  • Kate Adkins

    Member
    3 March, 2021 at 2:19 am

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp? It has always been a dream of mine since I was about 7 or 8. I heard a CD of harp music and fell instantly in love. I begged my Mom to let me learn the harp instead of the Piano, but we already had a Piano and my Mom’s idea of a harp was the big concert grand pedal harps that cost upwards of $10k. Needless to say, it was piano lessons for me. Then, in high-school, I came across a website that sold lever harps. My parents very generously bought me my Harpsicle for a graduation gift and that is how it started.

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music? I love early music and Celtic music. However, I have also listened to some Rock covers on the harp that are absolutely amazing.

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021? I want to be able to stick to a regular practice routine. So far, my practice times have been pretty sporadic and I feel like I haven’t really advanced past the early beginner phase. I also want to get a good grasp on technique and be able to play some more complex pieces.

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp? The sound, most of all. I love how the harp sounds good even if all you do is pluck a few strings. The harp is a very versatile instrument, too, so it is a great tool when you want to be creative. There are so many special effects and extended techniques one can do with the harp. And, lastly, I don’t know if anyone can relate, but there is a sense of freedom and exhilaration that comes when playing or singing a song that you know well and love.

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?I’m sure it will be a lot of fun reading through the answers to these questions. Each of us probably has a unique approach to why we decided to learn the harp and what we hope to accomplish. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and I’m very excited to be apart of this new community of fellow harp enthusiasts.

    • Annette Mead

      Member
      3 March, 2021 at 6:37 am

      I can definitely relate to that goal for regular practice times! Keeping a schedule can be difficult sometimes since life can get spontaneous and sporadic. ? What a wonderful graduation gift that must have been!

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      11 March, 2021 at 5:25 pm

      @KateEliza What a wonderful graduation gift.

      “I don’t know if anyone can relate, but there is a sense of freedom and exhilaration that comes when playing or singing a song that you know well and love.”


      You’ve given me something to think about there. I don’t yet have that sense of freedom you’re talking about 🤔. Maybe it’s because I’m mostly still using sheet music. I’m concentrating on so many of the technical aspects of playing, I forget to just relax and enjoy it.

    • Tiffany Schaefer

      Member
      13 March, 2021 at 7:42 pm

      I wonder how many of us started on piano! Once I found an old tape of myself playing a flowy, child-like “composition” on piano which little me had titled “the harp.” Prophetic? Lol

  • Victoria Johnson

    Member
    3 March, 2021 at 3:04 am

    Hi everyone! 🙂

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    I wanted my kids to have music literacy but I was remembered by how much I did not enjoy my own music lessons when I was little. I decided to involve my older kid in the decision making and she choose the harp after checking out a couple of instruments. I learned to play the harp to help her practice, but I eventually ended up taking lessons as well since I would like to play more advance pieces.

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

    I love listening to all kinds of harp music: Celtic, contemporary, (some) classical. As a harp player I tend to gravitate towards pieces that are fast tempo and lively.

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

    There are a few pieces of music that I wanted to tackle in 2021. I started most of them in 2020 but they are quite tricky. I would like to continue to spend time on them and get good at playing them by the end of this year. I also started a project called Talking Harps with two other harp friends. The first feature segment is an interview series called Harp Connections, and I will be following the social chains of the harpists in our lives to talk about their work. Producing content for the Talking Harps YouTube channel is a big harp-related focus for me in 2021. 🙂

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    I enjoy expressing myself through music, and the harp is the most suitable instrument for me. It is also a way for me to pick up where I left off with my musical training and build on my piano education. Learning and playing the harp also combine my love of music and desire to learn something new every day.

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

    I don’t know any adult harp learners in my area, but through Christy-Lyn’s group I am able to connect with other adult harp learners who share the same love of harp. The sense of community I got from being in the group has been instrumental in keeping me motivated and encouraged in my harp journey. I look forward to growing and learning with everyone here!

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      11 March, 2021 at 10:29 pm

      @victoria.johnson Congratulations on launching the Talking Harps channel on YouTube. I just watched your first Josh Layne interview. Nice job. You came up with some good questions for him. It was interesting to hear that even professionals can take up to a full year to develop a new piece. Looking forward to watching your future interviews.

      • Victoria Johnson

        Member
        13 March, 2021 at 10:33 pm

        @judiann.maddigan thank you very much for your message. I had a lot of interesting conversations and learned a lot in the interviews I have done so far. Hope you will continue enjoy watching the interviews as well! 🙂

  • Annette Mead

    Member
    3 March, 2021 at 5:07 am

    Hello everyone! I thought I would chime in and share too, because it seems like a fun idea, a fun way to possibly meet some lovely harpists ?

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    I wanted first wanted to play when I was young but did not have the opportunity. When I graduated high school I thought maybe I would buy a harp and learn but then realized the timing was not good then with starting college and taking on a lot of other responsibilities. Now I’m 24 and done with grad school so I finally have some time to dedicate to learning!

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

    I find I am drawn to recognizable songs, and Celtic or Irish music. I grew up watching a lot of musicals so I would love to someday play songs from The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Titanic, and The Wizard of Oz.

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

    To start learning and see how much I can absorb. To continue with weekly harp lessons for at least three months (though I know they can be expensive) and to do independent learning too. I’m trying to play everyday for at least 30 minutes, but my goal is 5/7 days a week minimum. My practice sessions often end up going for longer than an hour because I’m really enjoying it! Another goal is to continue renting for a few months, and then to buy my very first harp!

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    I really enjoy that feeling of flow, being in the moment and focused on the music. That feeling of accomplishment when I learn something new or when I can play through a piece of music I love without too many mistakes.

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

    I am very new to the harp, I just started playing with the beginning of February. I see a local harpist for lessons weekly and I currently have a rental. I’m hoping to eventually buy 2 harps: one larger floor harp with as many strings as possible (34-38) and full high quality levers, and one smaller harp I could use for travel and eventually for harp therapy. I likely will end up with a Dusty Strings, because I live north of Seattle in Washington State and the Dusty Strings main location is right there in Freemont. I visited their main store and they seem to put a lot of love into those harps! But I would ideally like to find a high quality used harp (less than 6-7 years old) to save some money and give a used instrument a loving home.

    • Victoria Johnson

      Member
      3 March, 2021 at 6:36 am

      Hi Annette! I am about 230 km to the North in Canada, and I had the opportunity to the Dusty Strings’ store after I purchased a harp from them through a local harp shop. I agree with you that they seem to put a lot of love into their harps! Dusty sells used harps too; I saw a couple of those on the floor during my visit and they have been posting photos of used harps for sale on their Facebook page. I would keep an eye out for a used Dusty if you liked their harps!

      • Annette Mead

        Member
        3 March, 2021 at 8:04 am

        Thanks Victoria! I will take a look at their Facebook, didn’t realize till now they even had a Facebook!!

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      12 March, 2021 at 11:26 pm

      @annette.mead You are so lucky to live that close to Dusty Strings. It would be awesome to visit their showroom and hear all their harps in person 😍. While there are online recordings of the sounds of various woods, that doesn’t compare to being in the same room and experiencing them.

      • Annette Mead

        Member
        13 March, 2021 at 5:43 am

        I agree, in person is the best. When I went to pick up my rental from them I got to walk around the showroom and see all their harps, but I would love a harp tasting. I haven’t heard them all played in person.

  • Wendy Dooley

    Member
    3 March, 2021 at 11:06 am

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    As an adult I heard a harp record and instantly was inspired to learn, but..if only I could afford one! I certainly couldn’t even afford lessons and hadn’t heard of any harpists, ever, in or around where I lived. In fact there were none. So I reluctantly shelved the idea for decades.

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

    Anything that suits the harp!

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

    To improve technique, learn more beautiful pieces and share the joy!

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    It’s therapy for the soul! I love the feeling of utter fulfillment in playing, the beautiful sounds that are produced. So many people have never heard a solo harp, let alone up close, and they are blown away!

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

    Yes, Christy-Lyn’s videos have been a godsend to me. I don’t have a teacher as there were none where I lived. Also the internet dropped out regularly so it was no use getting a camcorder… so I am extremely grateful for the video lessons that I did manage to download.

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      12 March, 2021 at 11:40 pm

      “It’s therapy for the soul! I love the feeling of utter fulfillment in playing, the beautiful sounds that are produced. So many people have never heard a solo harp, let alone up close, and they are blown away!”

      @wendy.dooley You’ve said that so well. 💗

      I bet a lot of members in this community agree with you.

  • Wendy Dooley

    Member
    3 March, 2021 at 11:17 am

    Hello again! I just wanted to add that I love the fact that we can encourage one another here on this site, share tips, and feel part of a harp community who share our passion!

  • Joan Hall

    Member
    3 March, 2021 at 2:37 pm

    I first heard a Celtic harp at a renaissance fair, and fell in love. I was working the fair as a strolling singer (ghastly job!). I was behind a stack of hay bales having a beer, hiding from the “fair police” who make sure people aren’t hiding behind hay bales having a beer instead of actively performing. Someone nearby was playing a small harp and I was completely enchanted!

    My 2021 harp goal is to accompany myself on the harp while singing. Now my musical life is split: I harp _or_ I sing. I want to put them together. (I was a classical voice major in college.)

    My favorite thing about playing the harp is that people enjoy the sound even if you’re just practicing. A classical soprano warming up/practicing is NOT a source of unmitigated joy for all within earshot, LOL!!

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      12 March, 2021 at 11:46 pm

      @joan.hall Love your sense of humor. The next time I’m at a Ren faire, I’ll be checking behind all those hay bales. 🤣

  • Tanya Stephens

    Member
    10 March, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    Hi everyone. Nice to meet you all. I was on the patreon site but didn’t manage to keep up with things. I’m in the UK and would love to know how many people here are UK based?

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    I started about 10 years ago when I saw an advert for harp therapy on Google. I’d never thought of it before that!

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

    I do love a soppy ballad or a nice hymn.

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

    I’m just not playing my harp at all. I think it is a mix of lack of direction/tuition and being too self-critical. I hope to overcome this and start playing regularly and start to enjoy it.

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    Seeing other people’s reactions to hearing it.

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

    Any tips on overcoming my lack of commitment/desire to play would really be appreciated! 😊

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      12 March, 2021 at 10:51 pm

      “Any tips on overcoming my lack of commitment/desire to play would really be appreciated!”


      @tanya.stephens We could probably write an entire thread on that topic. Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way, which may or may not apply to your situation.

      1. Solve any issues with your physical setup, for example: Is the lighting adequate? Is the music stand positioned correctly? Is your chair at the right height? If it’s a lap harp, would a stand help?

      2. Tune your harp. If it hasn’t been played for a while, it’s out of tune.

      3. Start a practice journal to track your progress.

      4. Get a timer, or use an app on your phone. Set it for only 10 minutes to start. Knowing you have a limited amount of time will focus your attention. After 10 minutes, get up and do something else for a while, then come back to it again. Gradually increase the time.

      5. Find one new piece of music that you really want to learn. Break it down into small, manageable chunks. Begin by working on only the first chunk, which might be 2 measures long. Don’t move to the next chunk until you can play the first one smoothly.

      6. If you don’t feel like reading music, improvise. Christy-Lyn recently did a livestream explaining how, and it is totally fun to do. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9Fa2RVAma8

      Please report back and let us know how your practice sessions are going. We are all interested now.

      • Annette Mead

        Member
        13 March, 2021 at 6:16 am

        All great advice! Don’t mind me while I screen shot this list of wisdom for later review and application in my life 👍

      • Tanya Stephens

        Member
        16 March, 2021 at 12:40 pm

        Hi Judiann

        Thanks for the great advice. Funny you should mention the physical setup as I am constantly changing my mind about where to play, whether to use my stand or the lap bar, which room (I have a real hangup about not wanting my neighbours to hear me play, especially if I am repeating the same bit over and over etc). I’ve not quite mastered what works for me.

        I have to admit, I struggle with sticking to one section. When I was learning Hallelujah I ended up skipping ahead once I’ve learnt the first few measures, and went on to play the rest without studying the lessons, which isn’t ideal! I definitely want to run before I can walk.

        I appreciate the advice. Thanks! 🙂

        • Claire Lécuyer

          Member
          16 March, 2021 at 12:53 pm

          Hi Tanya,

          I can totally recognize myself in the struggle to stick to progressive learning, I’m so frustrated to play only a small part, that I always run through the piece and don’t apply this wise advice from Christy-Lyn to work one small chunk after another. But that’s why I’m here and subscribed to the membership: having paid for these video lessons give me an extra-motivation to use them properly 😄 And I try to follow this method with Scarborough Fair that I’m learning right now. It’s so difficult to have this patience, but I already see some results on my technique !

          I hope this will help 🙂

          Regarding the neighbours hearing: you can put a carpet under your harp, it reduces the vibrations running through the floor. Not miraculous but it helps a little. Tested an approved by my neighbour who lives under my room!

          • Tanya Stephens

            Member
            16 March, 2021 at 1:11 pm

            Hi Claire. Thanks for the advice about the carpet! I’m probably worrying for nothing anyway. It’s mainly the person who lives in the flat above my flat that I think might be able to hear, but I have asked him before and he said he doesn’t hear me so I should believe him! 😄 And as people often remind me, maybe people would enjoy hearing anyway!

            Good luck with your Scarborough Fair. I think I might start that lesson too. I was going to learn Yesterday but just realised I do not have G levers so that lesson will have to wait until such a day when I add more levers to my harp.

            We must learn to be patient and stick to the videos then 😁 Keep me posted on how you’re doing…perhaps it will encourage me to get on with playing 🤞x

            • Claire Lécuyer

              Member
              16 March, 2021 at 3:32 pm

              Yeah, good luck too! I think Scarborough Fair is ideal for our ‘patience’ challenge, because as non-absolute beginner, you can advance quite easily through the lesson, cause it’s quite simple, bit with a few tricky stuff (first, the desynchronized rythme between two hands, and also some crossing fingers, which I’m not used to). For me it’s definitely a good one to “re-start” practicing!

              Let’s keep us updated in the classmate group 🙂

            • Tanya Stephens

              Member
              17 March, 2021 at 11:44 am

              Yes it does seem like a good one to start with right now. Enjoy learning the newer techniques!! I will make a proper start tomorrow when I have the day to myself. Looking forward to it! And I think speaking to people on here will really help to focus me more, it has been so lonely learning in isolation!

  • Libby Hitchcock

    Member
    10 March, 2021 at 6:39 pm

    What a great thread! Here are my responses:

    Questions:

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp? My Aunt played professionally and was very encouraging when we would visit. I still remember how magical and special I felt when she taught me how to hold my hand and pluck a few strings. My mother had to hear me ask to learn ever since. fast forward nearly 40 years and I am finally learning!

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music? I had no idea about all the types before I started and of course want to learn some “pop/rock” songs but am gravitating more and more towards Celtic music.

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021? To solidify my technique more, especially once my 34 string harp arrives, and slowly add to my repertoire.

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp? It is my new happy place. I find it is so therapeutic. I also love the cognitive aspect of memorizing the songs and working out fingering. I get so excited when I finally get 2 hands working together, hahaha.

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add? I could go on and on, but there is plenty of time for that!

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      12 March, 2021 at 11:56 pm

      @libbyhitch Oooh, you’re waiting for your 34-string harp to arrive? Exciting 😃. Which one did you order?

      • Libby Hitchcock

        Member
        15 March, 2021 at 7:18 pm

        @judiann.maddigan the wait is killing me! I ordered a Sierra 34 Tripplet. Most recent update is it should be here some time in April, although not sure when yet.

        • Judiann Maddigan

          Member
          15 March, 2021 at 7:57 pm

          @libbyhitch Ooh, nice! 💓

          The Triplett site says it comes with full Camacs, too. Lucky you! A harp like that is worth the wait.

          • Libby Hitchcock

            Member
            15 March, 2021 at 8:17 pm

            @judiann.maddigan YES! That was actually one of my deciding factors. In speaking with my teacher she mentioned them and the more looking I did it seemed like the right fit for me. And the fact I can personalise the abalone inlays, and other features won me over hands down. I blew my initial budget away, but I am ending up with a harp I know I will truly love.

            • Judiann Maddigan

              Member
              16 March, 2021 at 6:39 am

              @libbyhitch Sounds perfect. You’re actually going to own your dream harp. Now you have all of us waiting right along with you. We’ll want to see photos just as soon as she arrives. 📷

            • Libby Hitchcock

              Member
              17 March, 2021 at 7:27 pm

              Oh, I will be bouncing off the walls and taking plenty of pictures & videos for sure! Hoping to have a more clear estimate of completion this week

  • Sophie Gurung

    Member
    10 March, 2021 at 7:56 pm

    Hi Judiann and everyone, I’m so excited to find this platform and meet other harpers and harpists. What a great way for us to get to know each other.

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    Because it looks and sounds so beautiful, the celtic connection (my family are Cornish) and probably (subconsciously) the association with angels – who wouldn’t want to play heavenly music?!

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

    I love it when the harp plays music outside of its traditional pigeon hole. Personally I love folk music though.

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

    I’d love to feel comfortable playing in public and adding my voice too.

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    It’s sound and vibration as it rests against my shoulder. I love it’s shape, its simple construction and its sacredness.

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      13 March, 2021 at 12:15 am

      “I’d love to feel comfortable playing in public and adding my voice too.”

      @Wild-Guru Wow, what a great goal. Beyond playing for my family, I have no interest in performance. Luckily, there are people like you, who will go out and share their music with the world. Wishing you all success with that.

      • Sophie Gurung

        Member
        13 March, 2021 at 1:05 am

        Thank you. I get very anxious, I shake and my hands sweat (I have CPTSD) so its going to be an uphill struggle but I’m learning how liberating it is to over come my fears.

        • Tiffany Schaefer

          Member
          13 March, 2021 at 7:33 pm

          Sophie that sounds so hard to deal with CPTSD and performance anxiety! I’m so proud of you for reaching for the goal to feel comfortable with playing in public! I know you will get there.

  • Tiffany Schaefer

    Member
    13 March, 2021 at 7:25 pm

    Hi Judiann, nice to meet you! Here are my answers:

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    I was 22, had a new job, and was poking around ebay to see if by chance anyone had a lute for sale. I love English Renaissance music thanks to my mom. I saw a little harp instead and on impulse I bought it since I liked Celtic music too! That side is more from my dad. 🙂

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

    Celtic, Celtic and more Celtic. I love the styles of Grainne Hambly, Sue Richards, etc. Really soon after I started playing I got involved in our local Scottish Games, got hooked on Scottish music and the people there. After helping to run our harp competition for several years, this year I became the sole harp chair for our Games committee. (But we’re not having a comp. due to the pandemic…so I get an extra year to prepare!!)

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

    A) I’ve started doing zoom harp workshops last Fall, and have more taking shape for this year. When the craziness is over I would love to do some more in person.

    B) Right now I’m really obsessed with session playing and I want to continue to get better at it and help other people get better at it.

    C) Get back into performing in person – this time with friends!

    D) Arrange a program for the US Scottish Harp Nationals which will hopefully, FINALLY take place in Ohio again in 2022, since 2020 and 2021 didn’t pan out! (Why didn’t I just compete in 2019?? Sigh. It’s been a goal for years and at this point I just want it off my bucket list so I can stop thinking about it, haha.)

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    The community it brings me. Ohio Scottish Arts School, not to mention the harp crowd on the internet, has given me lifelong friends. I’m also lucky that Cleveland where I live has a strong Irish-American community and amazing non-harp musicians (which I’m getting grandfathered into since I’m not Irish I just play the music, lol). This is the happiest and friendliest music on earth to me.

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

    Thanks for starting the thread!

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      13 March, 2021 at 8:27 pm

      @tiffanyharpandsong Nice to see you here, Tiffany. The very first tune I learned on harp was from your MuseScore file, Woe Betide Thy Weary Body. I slowed down the speed on your Tune Tutor video and studied every single pluck you made, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsh5iYj7WXY . Gosh, I can still remember the exhilaration and sense of accomplishment you gave me, when I realized I really would be able to learn the harp. Thank you and Christy-Lyn for enabling us beginners.

      • Tiffany Schaefer

        Member
        15 March, 2021 at 7:34 am

        That’s great Judiann, I’m so glad it helped you!

  • Lynda Von Rader

    Member
    13 March, 2021 at 7:47 pm

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    I have played the piano my whole life (I’m 61), and about 30 years ago I met William Rees when he and his wife came to dinner at my sister’s; and he brought a harp. He encouraged my kids and I to play with it, and I absolutely fell in love. I remember coming home, going on his website, downloading a catalog, and dreaming about owning a harp for years! Fast forward another 15 years and my husband bought me a Sharpsicle for Christmas. Unfortunately, at the time I had three teenagers, a full-time job, and learning to play the harp was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. It ended up sitting on my dresser for another 15 years, but I still had dreams of the beautiful harps in the Rees Harps catalog.

    I am now retired, and like so many others, the pandemic seemed like the perfect time to take my Sharpsicle off the shelf and learn to play it. Remembering how much I struggled at first, I figured I wanted to do it right and get a teacher. I started taking lessons with Josh Layne almost a year ago, and absolutely love it. I finally ordered my beautiful Mariposa dream harp from Rees Harps, and I’m waiting for it to be delivered, hopefully sometime within the next month!

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

    Classical music was always my favorite on the piano, and it is the same with the harp. I am enjoying learning Celtic music though!

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

    I really want to get over my “stage fright.” Even on the piano, in front of people I choke, and I have played the piano at church for about 20 years! I seem to do fine with a piece, and then when I’m in front of my teacher or anyone else, I’m a mess!!

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    It’s such an absolutely gorgeous instrument, and the sound is beautiful, and I think learning to play it is going to help keep my brain young! 😉

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

    I really enjoy meeting all of you. I think like most of you, I don’t know anyone else who plays the harp in “real life.” I hope to find other harpists geographically close to me, And I would love to do a meet up, and maybe even go to a harp conference some day.

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      14 March, 2021 at 7:04 pm

      @lynda.von rader How special to have a personal connection to the maker of your harp. I looked up the Mariposa, and you’re right — it is beautiful. It must be hard to wait *patiently* for it to be delivered. Which wood did you select?

    • Victoria Johnson

      Member
      23 March, 2021 at 6:06 pm

      A really cool story of how you felt in love with the harp, @lynda.von rader ! 😀 Very excited for you about the Mariposa!

  • Eve Henry

    Member
    13 March, 2021 at 11:24 pm

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    I can‘t remember. I think it was because I failed too learn the guitar, as my fingers where to weak for the strings. I looked for an instrument, that I could use to play while singing. I built a gothic harp in a harp building course 15 years ago, but then learned that I needed levers to play all the the music, I like. Then I had a on-off-relationship with my harp for at least 13 years. Two years ago I decided to really restart an save money for a lever harp. I bought one last Christmas.

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music? Folk and pop.

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021? Finish Sylvia Woods’ book about arranging techniques, improve my skills in remembering music, improve my skills in playing and singing simultaneously.

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp? I like the sound. And I enjoy, that I can easily grab my harp and take it anywhere I like, like a guitar, but with so much more lovely sound. (My lever harp is really small!)

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Looking forward to inspiration ❤️

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      14 March, 2021 at 7:08 pm

      @EveHenry After putting in all the work to build your first harp, it must have been a real disappointment to realize you needed levers. Tunes can be transposed to harp-friendly keys, but not when you need to have a song in the best key for your voice. It’s great that your new harp has full levers. Nothing is going to hold you back now.

    • Eve Henry

      Member
      14 March, 2021 at 11:27 pm

      Yes. A bit. But I still love the harp I built, although I do not play it since I have my lever harp.

  • Angela Young

    Member
    14 March, 2021 at 1:18 am

    1. I grew up hearing a wonderful harpist at my church. That was the seed that was planted. 5 years ago when my 8 yo son had cancer, he had a music therapist that would come as a part of his hospice and “Music Mark” as we fondly called him played the guitar and relayed how music and specifically vibrations from the guitar and Hapi Drum can be very soothing. After my son passed, my daughter and I would go to a Christmas peace service by a woman who played the harp. We went a couple years until I came home and announced to my husband that I wanted to play the harp. We bought a harp kit. With no woodworking experiance, it took 10 months to get up the courage to attempt it. We had it together in 1 week. It has brought peace and comfort and was wonderful to have during my Covid furlough.

    2. I love to play popular music, celtic, hymns, therapeutic or video game music.

    3. I need to work on memorization. I like to sit down and play multiple things. Not staying on one thing too long.

    4. I love the peace and calm that the harp brings to me physically and emotionally.

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      14 March, 2021 at 7:11 pm

      @angela.young Everyone in this thread has explained what brought them to the harp, but no other story is as poignant as yours. Thank you for sharing it with us. It’s heartwarming to know that the harp has brought you some peace and comfort during such a difficult time. {{{hugs}}}

      • Eve Henry

        Member
        14 March, 2021 at 11:22 pm

        Sorry, wrong place

  • Melisa Kommala

    Member
    14 March, 2021 at 4:17 am

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    One year of working from home, juggling taking care of family members that were recently hospitalized, I realized I didn’t do anything I wanted in 2020. I decided to buy a harp and do something about it. This site announcement came at a great time (while I was building my harp)

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

    I fell in love with the celtic harp when I was a child, but all harp music sounds great! I love watching Youtube covers of pop songs and anime songs.

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

    Re-learn how to read sheet music, do some musical accompaniment for my church. But really, learn some songs I want to play.

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    It sounds pretty good even if you are messing up. The notes of the harp are so therapeutic! I have so much stress in my life, playing a note will lower it so fast.

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

    I’m looking forward to meeting everyone, all around the world!

  • Claire Lécuyer

    Member
    15 March, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    Hi everyone, finally I take some time to reply this Q&A, such a nice idea!

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    I was wishing to play the harp since I was a kid, but don’t know from where I got this idea… My parents told me that I said it was because I wanted to do “like a princess in her castle” hahaha. But I it wasn’t teached where I lived, so I chose the recorder (yeah I know, no relation at all) when I started musical learning in music school as a child. Then, years passed by, after high school I didn’t play any instrument anymore (just kept singing in various choirs and ended up starting classical singing lessons a few years ago), and one day when I was in my 30’s, I went to a harp audition where a lot of people were playing, including kids. Then I thought : why not now?? Why not trying to realize this long-time dream? And I looked for a second hand small harp to buy, took a few lessons with an actual teacher, but she was far from my home, so I ended up discovering Christy-Lyn videos on YouTube and thought, okay, why not trying self-teaching! But these few lessons were very useful to get good technical basics. I also did a 4 days training course in a countryside where we were 12 harpists (some beginners and some very advanced musicians!) with 2 teachers. It was so great and very good to start the journey!

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

    I’m not very into the “princess in her castle” style anymore, LOL, since I was a teenager I loved Celtic music, thanks to a trip in Ireland with my parents, who were listening a lot of folk music too, and also music from Britanny (France) like Alan Stivell etc. I’m also totally into ancient music from medieval and renaissance, also baroque. Not very fond of hymns and of modern pop songs, although Christy-Lyns arrangements are lovely. I really want to learn a traditional repertoire of old songs. But I like some movie soundtracks and well-known videogames music too, such as Lord of the Rings or Zelda. And just to be complete: I also listen a lot of rock and metal, but that’s not what I want to play ^^

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

    I have some huge goals for 2021 : first, to practice regularly, because I have been a very bad pupil since I started 4 years ago, and l’m still at late beginner level, which is starting to be frustrating ^^ Also, to improve my technique so that I could actually play a whole song without mistakes or hesitation, because I still have a lot of clumsiness, coming not from reading problems, but from a bad coordination between hands. I have to practise memorization too, because I have the bad habit to have eyes stuck toi sheet musics, which doesn’t allow me to play fluently. And last but not least, my ultimate goal is to manage singing and playing together, as I’m singing since a long time, and have a millions ideas of songs that I would like to play and sing… I have to learn to be patient and start with very easy chords. Even this seems so difficult to me!

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    I love the sound and the look, and as it’s already have been said, the fact that even a few notes can sound so lovely and relaxing. Even basic exercises are nice for my ears and for friends and family, unlike singing exercises haha. I also like the fact that it’s an old instrument, so much related to history. And it’s nice to see everyone enchanted by this sound, even if I play at a very basic level!

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

    It is wonderful to see this community of people all around the world encouraging each other, and moreover generous people like Christy-Lyn or Tiffany Schaefer (among others), who are so dedicated for self-taught beginners! A big thank you!!

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      16 March, 2021 at 6:15 am

      @Claire I was right there with you when you started listing your goals.

      Practice regularly. ✔

      Actually play a whole song without mistakes or hesitation. ✔

      Practice memorization because my eyes are stuck to sheet music. ✔


      I wish I could do all of those, too. But then you added:

      My ultimate goal is to manage singing and playing together. ✖

      That brought me to a grinding halt. I can’t imagine concentrating on both harp and voice simultaneously.


      I’m not so sure you’ve left that “princess in her castle” style behind, lol. Medieval fits that image perfectly. Have you seen Tiffany’s ( @tiffanyharpandsong ) Carmen Vernale video? It’s easy to imagine a princess playing a medieval song for spring in the setting of that opening scene. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eflngHgcM9M


      • Claire Lécuyer

        Member
        16 March, 2021 at 10:09 am

        Haha, maybe you’re right about the castle thing 😅

        Yes, this medieval song is beautiful, I didn’t know this one, thanks! I recently discovered Tiffany’s videos and have been binge-watching them, but not this one yet. I’m seriously considering learning with her tune tutors as soon as I’ll have completed my course here, I love her repertoire and her style… And she has a few singing tune tutors too, how cool! To be honest, for the moment it is more a dream than a realistic goal, because it seems too much for my brain too, but I’m so determined!

        Also, talking about scenery, another thing I’d really like to do: to be at ease enough with my harp playing to go practice in nature (I have a beautiful forest very close to my home). I did it once, but I was so stressed out each time I heard a walker approaching, that I ended up putting my harp aside and just enjoying the place ^^

        • Judiann Maddigan

          Member
          17 March, 2021 at 6:55 pm

          @Claire I linked to Tiffany’s ( @tiffanyharpandsong ) performance video, but she also has a Tune Tutor video for Carmen Vernale. I have to smile at her description for that one, though. She says << …learn Carmen Vernale “Spring Song” by ear in just a few minutes! >> That piece would take me several weeks. I’ve never learned anything on harp in just a few minutes 😅 . That piece would be worth the time, though. It’s lovely.

          About playing in nature, I’m in Colorado USA and close enough to Garden of the Gods to go hiking there. Even the name of that park sounds like harps should be played there. Some areas are surrounded by soaring red rock formations, and I’ve often thought the acoustics must be like playing inside a cathedral. I would never actually do it, though. First, I only have a floor harp and there would be no way to lug it up a rocky trail (a perfect excuse). Second, I’d be too nervous to perform for anyone (the real reason). Third, I’d never want a stranger to think I was busking, lol.

  • nightthunder Dupuis

    Member
    16 March, 2021 at 7:05 pm

    Hi everyone/lovin’ this discussion!

    1.What made you decide to play the harp?

    Like others: the beauty of the instrument and the sound it produced. I lived in Chicago & didn’t go to the Lyon&Healy building! Then I moved & regretted that fact. My Mom encouraged me in music (I’ve played 5 instruments before harp.) Mom passed away & that was it; I needed the harp!

    2.What is your favourite style or genre of harp music?

    I love therapy music (I am a beginner). Love Ann Crosby Gaudet music. Have a ton of it but l enjoy so many other styles too.

    3. What are your harp related goals for 2021?

    Easy answer but not easy to do!! I’ve mentioned that I tried to play for my Sis (over the phone due to covid) and flubbed a piece I loved and had memorized as I panic. I need to go beyond a self nurturing harpists to one who can play for others so they may enjoy the beauty of the music. Don’t know what the problem is. My adult son loves to hear me practice-no one has been critical-I am to hard on myself.

    4.What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    I have PTSD and the harp grounds me. I’ve had a lot of trauma throughout my life and I get healing and peace through my harp. I love the challenge of learning and the accomplishment!

    5.Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Yes. Two things. The instruments I played didn’t require bass and along came my Camac Excalibur, 38 string so I am struggling with getting sources to learn bass. I love those low strings & want to use them. Also, I love meeting other harpists. Christy-Lyn has does such a great job of gathering us together! The nearest harpist in my area is hours and hours away; so keep talking folks!!

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      17 March, 2021 at 9:25 pm

      << I need to go beyond a self nurturing harpists to one who can play for others so they may enjoy the beauty of the music. >>

      @nightthunder That’s really an important concept. Maybe that’s why music therapists and harpists for worship services aren’t as bothered by performance anxiety. Music therapists are more concerned for their patients, and church musicians are more concerned about what the congregation is experiencing. Their motivations go beyond themselves.

      << Also, I love meeting other harpists. Christy-Lyn has does such a great job of gathering us together! >>

      So true. I agree that Christy-Lyn has done a phenomenal job building this community. We come from all over the world, and every person I’ve met here has been friendly, kind, and considerate of other people’s feelings. That’s so rare in a public forum. When you described flubbing a piece you tried to play for your sister, every one of us could relate because we’ve all been there.

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      17 March, 2021 at 10:11 pm

      << The instruments I played didn’t require bass and along came my Camac Excalibur, 38 string so I am struggling with getting sources to learn bass. I love those low strings & want to use them. >>

      @nightthunder I added a post to the Free tools to learn to read sheet music thread. It explains how to change the range to include your lower bass notes. Good luck with that. You’re going to become a pro at reading those low ledger lines.

  • Michael Stone

    Member
    29 March, 2021 at 5:45 am

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    I have a fondness for stringed instruments such as the lute, mandolin, theorbo and classical guitar. I also enjoy classical music, and tune into podcasts about the subject of classical music. Well on one of those pod casts they had a harpist on and she went on to explain the history of the harp and it’s repertoire. That set the spark of my interest in this instrument, and down the rabbit hole of research that lead me to purchasing my first Harpsicle.

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

    Classical/ Baroque pieces, Music from video games such as Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda, and Chrono Trigger (Can link the actual songs cause they are really good), Jazz/Funk

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

    My goal is to honestly get better at sight reading. I have no issue memorizing songs, but I feel it will be a crutch in the long run. Additionally I play an instrument called the hand pan which is like an inverted steel drum you play with your hands. I want to combine the two instruments some how when my skills are good enough with the harp. I

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    I enjoy the sound and color of the harp, and just making music in general.

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

    I hope to interact with more harpists here and hope to learn and grow with

    this instrument!

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      29 March, 2021 at 6:29 pm

      @michael.stone Speaking of rabbit holes, you just sent me down one for harp & handpan duets. You say you want to combine them. How would that work? Play one hand on each? Alternate between them?

      << Music from video games such as Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda, and Chrono Trigger (Can link the actual songs cause they are really good) >>

      Please do. You can either link them here, or you can start a new thread in the Styles of Harp Music forum. Some anime and video games have wonderful soundtracks. I tend to like the slower melodies because that’s the only tempo I can manage as a beginner, but I’d be interested in your list.

      • Michael Stone

        Member
        30 March, 2021 at 2:50 am

        Well to your first question with some video magic. Where I will probably record playing my hand pan keeping a steady beat and tune and then improvise around it with the harp. And then using video editing software; sync them up in some fashion. That said its probably a lot more complicated than I am imagining and will require research on my part.

        As for the links here are some good ones:

        https://youtu.be/fyumWz9o92M (Fairy Fountain)

        https://youtu.be/9emx0jUnJno (Zora’s Domain)

        https://youtu.be/LQvyrArPUK4 (Final Fantasy Prelude)

        https://youtu.be/8JKoqQ8YWsE (at the end of time)

        After sending you all these I realize every one of these videos has a pedal harp, though I have seen arrangements for 34 or 36 string lever harp. haha. Hope you enjoy

        • Judiann Maddigan

          Member
          1 April, 2021 at 1:18 am

          @michael.stone I enjoyed those videos. The technique and skill is beyond me at this point, but it was still nice to listen to. I can see where your idea of combining different instruments with “video magic” comes from. Neat!

  • Claire Desoulle

    Member
    30 March, 2021 at 10:16 am

    Hi everyone! I’ve recently started and am new to this site, pleased to see so many people on here!

    1. What made you decide to start playing the harp?

    I fell in love with the sound of the Celtic harp when I was 13-14, thanks to Breton musicians Alan Stivell & Cécile Corbel (you may know her work if you’ve watched Studio Ghibli’s The Borrower Arrietty), and I’ve wanted to one day play the harp myself ever since. Since I’m working from home and will be for the foreseeable future, I finally decided to buy a harp – a lap harp kit, in fact – a few weeks ago and started practising then.

    2. What is your favorite style or genre of harp music?

    Celtic & folk music, but also anything mixing it with another genre (looking at you, Eluveitie!)

    3. What are your harp-related goals for 2021?

    Build technique – this is going to be the big one, I play other string instruments but the harp technique is totally different! Also, I’d like to be able to play a few songs by the end of the year

    4. What do you enjoy most about playing the harp?

    Its dreamy sound and the range of songs you can play – I also own a 6-string medieval lyre and a 10-string kantele, and the range is a lot more limited.

    5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

    I’m looking forward to exchanging stories and tips with all of you!

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      1 April, 2021 at 1:33 am

      @selkea Wow, Claire, you built your first harp from a kit. That gives you a special connection to your instrument. It’s wonderful that you’re finally able to realize your dream.

      I know what you mean about playing instruments with a limited range. Of the instruments I’ve played, ocarina was the worst that way. A harp’s range is freeing after that. No more having to fold melodies to fit.

      • Claire Desoulle

        Member
        1 April, 2021 at 7:06 am

        Thank you for your kind words 🙂 The online shop I bought my harp from called it a kit, but the body was actually already put together and only required a bit of sanding and polishing. Still, an instrument you work on does feel special, and as I had to set up the strings, I’ve got some practice for the day I need to replace one! 😊

        • Melisa Kommala

          Member
          1 April, 2021 at 4:06 pm

          Which did you get? I got myself a Fireside in February and had great fun painting it (just a colour, nothing fancy)! I was very impatient with the sanding and glueing though 😀

          • Claire Desoulle

            Member
            10 April, 2021 at 7:32 am

            Mine is from Early Music Shop, over in the UK – I’m from Belgium, so that was the closest I could find a rather cheap harp to get started on!

  • Marianne Sadecki

    Member
    2 April, 2021 at 2:40 am

    I have a green Fireside harp. My harp was also a kit that was put together for me. They put it all together and shipped it to me. I work as a nurse and go to veterinary school so I don’t have much energy to tackle a project my own. Love the sound of the strings.

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