I teach harp.
You MUST have Maria Grossi’s “Metodo Per Arpa.” Every fingering combination ever invented is in here. Lever or pedal harp – you want your students to meditate upon relaxed, tension-free movement, and to contemplate comfort, freedom of motion and flexibility. Like miniature gymnasts, harpers & harpists must turn the complex movements of their fingers into automatic motor (muscle) memory through relentless repetition, but it has to be intelligent relentless repetition with a view to paying attention to tension and getting rid of it. (paraphrase on Rick Gore’s 9/02 National Geographic Magazine comments on Russian gymnasts in his article “How Fast Can I Go?”)
The toughest thing to convince students to do, is that, like professional, multi-million dollar pitchers, they must go through their fingering combinations and patterns in super slow motion to “feel the pace of those movements and develop a muscle memory of what feels right and what doesn’t.” Like the Zen master for the pitchers, I have my students memorize the exercises, and try some with their eyes closed to gain deeper understanding of their body movements.
I tell them that they must value themselves as if they were worth a million bucks, and they are worthy to take the time to do these things thoroughly with utmost attention to learn comfort into every measure; that injury to the hand, fingers & wrist is not caused by a single trauma, but by the slow wear and tear of repeating a slightly inefficient motion. By maximizing efficiency, harpers & harpists can prevent injury with solid bio-mechanics. (paraphrase of Tom McNichol’s comments in his 6/04 Wired magazine article on motion-capture analysis, “The Ultimate Pitching Machine.”)
Think of it as harp yoga.
Please read my posts about Standard Repertoire and related discussions. I would be happy to help you further with specific pieces. It also depends a lot on the entrance requirements of the various schools would be applying to. It would help me to know the kind of technique you learned and are teaching. Feel free to contact me.
I agree that it is more important that students are comfortable with their technique, rather than try to plow through a lot of repertoire. I do not think there are required pieces for entrance to university music programs, but the students do have to pass auditions, theory and ear-training tests. As long as they can play pieces of varying styles and periods with musicality and reasonably good technique, they should be accepted at a reputable music school. That said, it would not hurt for your students to work on some standard pieces that might crop up, such as harp concerti by Handel, Mozart, etc., and chamber pieces such as the Danses Sacr��e et Profane and Introduction et Allegro. If they want to do competitions, they could check out the lists of required repertoire from past competitions and see what pieces are requested more than once.
Here are some general suggestions, without knowing the level of your students:
Handel: Theme and Variations, Passacaglia
Haydn: Theme and Variations
Dussek: Sonatinas and Sonata
Solos for the Harp Player: Pavane, Debussy Arabesque, Corell and Rameau pieces, Durand Chaconne
Salzedo: Preludes for Beginners, pieces from Art of Modulating, Suite of Eight Dances, Preludes Intimes, Chanson Chagrine, Fraicheur
Grandjany: Frere Jacques, Automne
Owens: Six Pieces for Harp
Ibert: Reflets dans l’eau, Scherzetto (didn’t
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