I enjoyed reading the new edition of the Harp Column in which Carl
Swanson reviewed a number of new books for beginners including my
“Classics at Your Fingertips” series. I thought it could be useful to
engage in a discussion about various beginning materials, their
intended audience, and subsequent strengths and weaknesses.
For example my series moves slower than other harp materials available.
This is intentional. Their purpose is to serve the needs of the adult beginner with no
musical background. The philosophy is to open the door of music making
to any individual regardless of their mental/physical giftedness at
music. These are not intended for professional track harpists except as
sight reading/supplementary material in their early stages of
development. The recreational adult harpist learns at a different pace
than the gifted youngster. With no background in reading music, it
takes the adult beginning a great deal of repetition to obtain facility
in sight reading. The use of finger two only for an extended period
allows such a student to focus on the task of learning to read music
without any complex focus on technique that could result in habits of
tension. The first volume also has the capacity to serve the special
needs student with limited neuromuscular functioning. This includes
arthritis, cerebral palsy, and parkinson’s like illnesses.
My background of earning a doctoral minor in piano pedagogy (prior to my MM in harp) gave me the
opportunity to explore a wealth of materials created for the mainstream
or “average” student. Many of the piano methods for both children and
adult beginners follow a similar pace and are therefore marketable to
the general population with good success.