How long have you played the harp? We take a look behind the numbers to see what they say about us.
How long have you and the harp been a pair? Four years? Forty? Is your answer just a number, or does it reveal anything deeper about you—your skills, your outlook, your musicianship, or your relationship to your instrument? We wanted to find out a little bit more about what’s behind those numbers we toss out when a curious onlooker asks how long we’ve played the harp. Whether they’ve been at it for two years or 62 years, the harpists we talked to have plenty of observations to share about their years with the harp.
Anyone who has played the harp knows the learning curve in the first few years is a steep one, no matter your age when you started. Longtime choir and piano teacher, Angela Spencer decided it would be fun to try a new instrument, and a bright pink Harpsicle was her gateway into the harp world. She knew that her perspective starting at age 50 would be different than when she started piano at 7, but with her music reading skills and efficient practice habits, she progressed quickly. After a few months she was ready for a larger instrument. She says that unpacking her fully levered Dusty Strings Ravenna was a thrilling moment. While she didn’t have to contend with music reading and learning how to practice, Spencer says hand position was the biggest challenge at first. “As a pianist, it seemed very unnatural,” she says. “Although it seems simple now, I remember thinking that my hands would never be able to play those huge intervals.”