Fashion Sense

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    Jerusha Amado

    What a privilege to study with someone like Miss Allen!


    As a woman, even when I was a very young woman, I would not have tolerated being told that I was not allowed to wear pants.


    Let’s focus on what is important here.

    Of course lesson material is of utmost importance. And dress for lessons is one thing, but recital dress is VERY important and should be discussed at least briefly. I don’t think women have to wear dresses to play harp, even though my teacher does. I think this thread was more about what to do with students who don’t understand appropriate formal attire, or even appropriate day-to-day clothing (we’ve all seen young ladies wearing clothes that are too revealing).

    And I wear jeans every day, and I don’t understand why that would be a problem with the finish of the harp. My knees don’t touch the harp, and I don’t see how that could be an issue, at least with pedal harp. I think that dressing for the occasion is also important; if I was playing at home for my family, I would just look nice, but not formal. For a solo recital, I would want to look very formal. And of course, kids should dress like kids, but that means they should not be showing too much, especially for girls. Most of the time attire is a non-issue, unless there is a particular student who doesn’t know the general rules of good taste…so it’s probably not an issue for most teachers. Just my two cents worth.

    I have to admit, though, I’m dissapointed that I can’t wear my tux with French cuffs when I play harp, so I have to reserve that for non-harp performances. And I wear cufflinks on both shirts I have, so I have to be a little careful not to let them touch the harp.

    Jerusha Amado


    I think that most folks on harpcolum would agree with you that slacks are fine for lessons; however, it is the student who dresses in excessively revealing outfits (a la Britney Spears) for lessons, recitals, auditions, performances who is in question. The problem with plunging necklines and visible thong underwear is that they are over-the-top and detract from what is paramount, namely the music itself.


    P.S. I happened to focus on clothing faux pas of females here, but males can be equally revealing and distracting in their own way.


    Umm, my knees touch the harp. Actually, one knee, to keep the harp at its balance point. I try to keep it off my shoulder at all costs. I have shiney patches on the back of my harp to prove it!

    And denim will mark/scuff the harp, eventually over alot of years….any coarse fabric will, but colour is more of the issue.


    I personally think, whatever a student wears to a lesson is their personal choice and an expression of who they are. I have one student that is a grungey punk, and has has safety pins everywhere, but is quite amicable to removing them for the lesson if they are in positions that may damage the harp.


    You’re right, Jer.


    “Performance wear is another matter, but is still an individual choice and an expression of that person as an artist.


    One point Miss Chalifoux made about her dress code was that when we got up on the morning of a lesson and got dressed according to her standards, we were approaching the task of dressing with a discipine and care that should then translate into all of our activities (i.e. – lesson) throughout the day.


    Yes, I remember that debate on Yahoo… I thought it somewhat snooty and…rigid. Hooking into all the elitism and snobbery that goes on in the arts.

    When talking to students about what they will wear for performance, I try to encourage them to wear things they like, that express themselves, they feel they look good in to make them feel confident, and that they can play in and does not restrict them.



    …and I forgot to say, Tony. I so agree with everything you have said. Thanks.


    Uh, guys…everybody??? Not one of you brought the parents into this discussion. Where do they fit into all of this? I have never had to deal with this issue with my own students, but if I did-and we’re talking here about teenagers, who are legal minors-I would make sure that whatever I said to the kid got said to the parent as well, preferably at the same time. I think that it’s the job of the parents to make sure the kid is appropriately dressed, and it’s the parent who should be told when the kid is not.


    The important aspect of dress here is what it communicates, what it says to others. Self-expression is secondary, like accessories, I think. While I would like to see men have the same range of options in dress as women, we are not there yet. Why women would want to wear pants, I’ll never know. They’re hot and restricting. Anyhow, unless they are “fancy pants”, I think they tend to come off as either casual or underdressed, probably depending on the whole combination and situation. For women to wear pants on stage, there is also a risk of looking like a free-lancer, or orchestral player and not a soloist. I think we must need a tv show all about musician’s wardrobes.


    Actually, I was trying to delete all but the first sentence, but it posted anyway. Oh, well.


    Well, I don’t have any issues with what my pupils wear….so I have nothing to complain to the parents about! But I did

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