Enduring the waiting

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    unknown-user on #161615

    I’ve been wanting to play for years but due to career/educational failures that prevented me from saving up money, I’ve not been able to buy a harp and start lessons.

    I just attended the local harpfest where I attended a workshop and masterclasses(as a member of the audience of course since I do not play) and I had a wonderful time but now I’m back to real life again and feeling very,very depressed. With the economy in the doldrums, scraping together the money for the harp is going to be even harder. I actually heard of a secondhand harp for sale by a student who just bought a pedal but it’s way, way beyond my budget. I can’t even afford a harpsicle or renting (there are no harp stores here anyway so I will have to find someone with an unused harp).

    Is there anything I can do to prepare for lessons before I start? I try to listen to music as much as I can. Or does anyone has any advice on making the waiting easier?

    tony-morosco on #161616

    Learn everything you can about music. Do you know how to read music? Being able to read will give you a leg up when you can start learning to play, so if you don’t get a book on reading music.

    Also learn about music theory in general. An understanding of how music works will definitely be helpful. In fact learning to read music and learning the basics of music theory doesn’t even require you to buy a book if you don’t want to (although there are some excellent beginners books on the subjects). You can probably find tons of information on the Internet.

    Also learn about the music you are interested in playing. The history, the characteristics, the composers and songwriters who had the greatest impact. Knowing a bit about the music you want to play in an historical and cultural context gives you better insight into performing it.

    unknown-user on #161617

    Thanks for your reply, Tony! I haven’t been practicing the guitar much since I stopped taking formal lessons years ago but I used to be a fluent sight-reader. I also played the violin for a while but that’s also a treble clef instrument.

    I think I should drill myself on the bass clef. I could play the notes right off the page but since I never studied music theory formally I didn’t really understand how the music worked together and I think that’s why I always had trouble playing by heart. I have my old theory books but they were written to be used with a teacher’s help and not the easiest stuff to digest. When I was a teen, I just memorized enough to pass my exams without

    kay-lister on #161618


    You might have to do some hard digging but in my area there is an Irish organization called the St. Andrews Society (I think) that promotes the Irish culture and such. In doing so, they have a harp that they will lend to anyone who is willing to learn it (including some Irish tunes).

    Audrey Nickel on #161619

    I don’t know if you’ve done this already, Pippin, but it’s worth calling the harp teachers in your area.

    Dwyn . on #161620

    It might make sense to invest in one of the tiny, unlevered Pakistani harps (“Mid-East” is the maker).

    unknown-user on #161621

    Thanks all for the suggestions.
    Umm, I live in Asia and there are no Irish organizations here and hardly any Irish people too! Or any harps. I made a point of introducing myself to the local teachers during the harpfest and they are aware that I’m on the lookout for a cheap harp but none of them have harps for rent.

    I’ll try to study chord inversions!

    Other than hustling to earn the money, there’s nothing much I can do. I’m going to attend the student recital soon of the teacher I hope to study with(when I’m rich). And the one and only Thormahlen owner in my area said I could come and see her harp. I hope that would keep my spirits up until I can get the money together.

    unknown-user on #161622

    I’m entering myself in ABRSM Grade 5 Theory Exam in 2009.I have Grade 5 Practical (not in harp obviously) but got stuck there because I never took my theory(You need Grade 5 Theory to take Grade 6 onwards).I never could scrape together enough money for theory lessons. This will give me motivation to study theory plus I need to pass this sooner or later anyway.

    I can’t afford a teacher so I’m gonna teach myself with some old textbooks a kind soul gave me. Wish me luck!

    unknown-user on #161623

    My mother found out about my exam registration and we had a big fight over it. She says it’s a waste of money because
    I’m way too old to be studying music and make anything out of it.

    Hello, if she paid for the piano lessons I begged for as a
    child, I wouldn’t need to go through this now at my humiliating age(I would probably be one of the oldest in the exam room) because I would already
    have the basic diplomas.Plus, it’s my own money…

    Just needed to get this off my chest.

    tony-morosco on #161624

    Education and learning isn’t always about getting a job or using it to make money. Learning is about appreciating the world we live in and finding satisfaction in our existence.

    No learning is ever a waste.

    I know people who have taken up the study of music in their 70’s. They certainly aren’t planning to start a new career, but they are seeking to enrich their lives through learning music. What better goal could we have to learn something other than to enrich our lives?

    unknown-user on #161625

    I hope you’re not too old to study music and make something out of it, because I’m guessing I’m about 3 times older than you are, and I just resumed serious study in September. And believe me I AM TRULY SERIOUS.

    When I graduated from college, I had the choice of working as a public school music teacher or getting a free MA in a completely different field. I chose the advanced degree.

    I planned to return to music when I retired from teaching in the second field, and that is what I’m doing. Although I have no finger technique to speak of, I never did, even when I was young, and composition, my most focused interest, is actually easier than it was when I was doing it years ago.

    You have the dream of playing the harp. You are not too old until you are dead.

    rod-c on #161626


    Age is not the issue here. There’s no reason to feel “humiliated” about your age..whatever it is. Many of us on this board were in our 40s, 50s, and 60s when we started the harp. We felt exhilarated and joyous….not humiliated. You are never too old to follow your dreams.

    I rented a lever harp from my teacher when I first started. ( And I couldn’t even read music!!)

    barbara-brundage on #161627

    Bravo, Tony! Well said.

    Chris Asmann on #161628

    Just a thought – not knowing what’s available in the area where you live, but here I very often see electronic keyboards selling for $50 or so in the local paper, pennysaver and craigslist.

    If you want to learn more about music theory, read music better or just make music to satisfy yourself, these keyboards are inexpensive and beginner-friendly.

    In your situation, I would look around for something used and inexpensive to get started. When the harp you want fineally happens, you will have a good start on theory and reading music for two hands, which can only help.

    In the meanwhile, you’ll be able to satisfy the urge to create music and feel less frustrated.

    Best wishes,

    Chris in NY

    Mel Sandberg on #161629

    I was just going to suggest the same as Chris – learn the piano on a cheap keyboard so long, if you haven’t done so in the past.

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