Harp Starter Kit
My recommendations to get you started with playing the harp!
1. Choose a harp to rent or buy
I recommend renting first so you can find out what you enjoy. That way, you avoid expensive mistakes!
Also, if there is a music store that sells harps near you, it's great to try a few before making any decisions.
$1245 / $2045
This is a floor harp that has a lovely bright sound. It has low/medium tension nylon strings. It is inexpensive for a floor harp, but is a really good quality instrument for it's price.
$439 - $924
A lap harp, for those who prioritize portability in their harp. I recommend the Fullsicle (all the levers). Remember that lap harps aren't the easiest way to learn as a beginner (see video above)
This is similar to the Ravenna but a bit more expensive - and you can can tell in the sound. If you are willing to spend a bit more you won't regret it. The FH34 is the next step up, so if you have more budget, take a look.
$159 - $274
A DIY lap harp with a cardboard sound box! It comes in parts and you assemble, or you can purchase a pre-assembled one. Remember that lap harps aren't the easiest way to learn as a beginner (see video above)
Lyon & Healy
This is the lever harp I own and enjoy (although not my ultimate lever harp). It has a lovely warm sound and has gut strings. It has high string tension, so it is great when you're working towards playing a pedal harp.
The harps listed here are not the only harps! There are many available with different pro's and con's. The harps here are ones that I think are good value for money as a beginner and will also be a quality instrument for years to come. Make sure that you watch to the end of the video above to help you choose!
2. Get a Music Stand
So important for posture and to prevent neck strain!
This is like the stand I use to teach and perform. It folds up really small and can be transported in its little case. It has been strong enough for me, but if you are planning on using heavy books/files, it might not be right for you.
Sturdy Music Stand with case
This stand will hold up to heavy files or windy conditions! It will last for years and can also be dissembled and carried in it's bag with handles.
3. Get a Harp Stool
This will really help you find a good position with your harp.
This is the stool I use, and it's so comfy! It has a lot of padding so that your bum doesn't go numb from sitting for a while. It's also really sturdy and wide enough for two small people at a squeeze! It can fold flat for transport.
If you're looking for something a bit cheaper, this is a good option! It is very light and can fold down, so it's good for taking to performances. The seat of the stool is much smaller though, beware!
If you would like a chair with more support, this is a lovely option. It is height adjustable and it folds flat for transport. While I don't recommend leaning back while playing, the back rest gives you a chance to break in between songs.
4. Tune your harp
Free! (kind of)
You can easily tune your harp using an app on your phone. The one I recommend is called Pano tuner chromatic tuner, and it's free on Apple and Android phones.
If you are not comfortable with your phone, getting a tuner may be a good idea for you! I used this tuner for years before I switched to my phone. The great thing about it is that it senses vibrations, so you can tune your harp in a noisy environment.
5. Get started with learning!
The books are written for self-teaching harpists, so they are easy to understand and contain everything you need to know. They have great photographs, really helpful explanations of each element of hand position and technique, and lovely pieces. I recommend this book highly!
By the end of Level 2 you'll have the skills to play advanced beginner or early intermediate harp music. There are more gaps in the progression, so I don't recommend it quite as highly as the Level 1 book.
The DVD accompanies the books Level 1 & 2. A helpful supplement to the books. The DVD doesn't stand alone - you definitely need the books too. Pamela is a gentle and helpful teacher.I recommend the DVD very highly because you actually are able to see and copy what Pamela is doing.
(Price listed in Canadian Dollars)
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