Can the pedal harp be self-taught?

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    I have been a lever harpist for five years. I’m curious if the transition to the pedal harp is hard.



    There are countless tips and helps a good teacher could help you with, in just a few months of lessons, to shorten your learning curve considerably.


    I’m not an expert by any means, but from my experience transitioning to pedal harp (albeit at age 9) the pedal part of the pedal harp is the easiest part of the transition. What I’d be most concerned about with being self-taught is proper hand technique. Playing the pedal harp just requires a much different technique than most people learn with the Celtic harp. I would not recommend being self-taught simply because its easy to get into bad habits quickly, and you can end up with bad technique on both pedal and Celtic harp. . .which would be bad 🙂
    Anyways, good luck!


    Hi Louie, I am in the process of this transition right now, after over 20 years of playing lever/celtic harp. I whole-heartedly agree with what Lynn says. The biggest challenge for me has been technically. The pedals aren’t that hard. They are awkward at first, but with a little practice and drill, they are easier (I think) than flipping levers. What I’ve had to focus on is really refining my technique so I get the best possible sound out of the harp. I realized that with a nylon strung Celtic harp, it was easy to get a gorgeous sound with less than perfect technique, but not so with the pedal harp. However, all the work I am doing technically is only improving my Celtic harp playing. Hope this helps. At the very least, take a few lessons to have your technique checked out, and then really focus on it, and get some help regarding pedal drills. It’s not that difficult, and extremely rewarding. Good luck.


    Thank you Patricia!


    Thanks Lynn. I did hear of bad habits related to posture and hand position.


    Thank you Ellen. good thing to know that the pedals aren’t that hard to transition to!



    Exactly how different is it between techniques for the lever and pedal? Are there resources about this or free links? I am also in transition from lever to pedal and may not be able to get regular lessons on the pedal harp due to my busy sked. But I would like to do it right.


    There are good method books, such as Salzedo’s Method for the Harp, and videos all over youtube, but you really need a teacher in order to get it right. Even if you can only manage every second week, it is better than nothing.

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