Go Ahead Without a Teacher?

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    unknown-user on #162975

    Hello! = ) So, regarding lap harps . . . I have a little background in music. From poking around, though, I haven’t found a way yet that would work for me to take lessons, although I suppose that could happen. So, my question is, if I did work out access to a harp but I couldn’t get a teacher, should I still try teaching myself through a book or cassette? I know this probably sounds silly, since I’m not a super musical person and I haven’t had harp experience at all- I’m just scared that I might get started on my own and end up so messed up that I’d never be able to play close to properly. Is it possible to teach yourself?

    jennifer-buehler on #162976

    I’m self taught though I’m not sure that I recommend it.

    Audrey Nickel on #162977

    I taught myself for the first six months, then sought a teacher (for me it was financial reasons).

    sherry-lenox on #162978

    I second Jennifer’s comments, but also add that with harp in particular, it’s really easy to learn bad habits. I haven’t personally seen the two learning systems mentioned, but I’ve followed the users of both online, and the two teachers involved are top notch professionals.

    The one thing missing when you are teaching yourself is constant feedback. Even though I’ve played many instruments, I needed ongoing support when I started to learn how a good hand position felt and what I had to do in order to learn it. That said, the best way for me to learn anything is that way. If you are someone who can learn by watching and imitating, you may well be able to learn by yourself.

    Harpworld is a wonderful place to be, no matter how you get there!

    kay-lister on #162979

    Hi Jessica,

    tony-morosco on #162980

    I am going to slightly dissent.

    While I highly recommend finding a teacher if at all possible, I also think that if you aren’t planning on becoming a professional classical harpist it is not 100% necessary. Always a good idea, but if you really can’t find one and want to stick to simpler music then it is very possible to teach yourself.

    I say this based on the number of folk harpers I know who are very talented, play wonderfully, and are self taught.

    If you decide to go the self taught route then get a copy of Sylvia Woods’ Teach Yourself To Play The Folk Harp and get the companion video. It won’t make you another Nancy Allen, but if you follow closely, pay attention to what she says and use the video to copy hand position carefully you will learn to play decently and safely enough.

    While it is possible to harm yourself with bad technique I think the occurrence of this happening is rarer than people think. I know a lot of harpists and it seems the professional, trained harpists are the ones who have more hand problems, not due to technique necessarily but due to the amount of playing they do. The hobbyists I know, even the self taught ones, don’t seem to have nearly the issues. So while you can harm yourself with really bad technique, If you follow carefully a source like the Woods’ book and are not playing for excessively long periods of time each day it is unlikely you will have problems.

    I did take lessons with a Salzedo trained teacher and the only time I have ever had problems was when I was practicing five hours a day. Despite that I have decent technique and at the time I had a teacher to point out any errors I still had problems. It was due to overpracticing, not technique. I know self taught harpers who have been playing for over 15 years without any problems.

    Just my experience with the people I have known.

    unknown-user on #162981

    Something that hasn’t been mentioned is the choice of a harp.

    unknown-user on #162982

    I will do my best to find an instructor first . . . thanks so much for all of your time and advice, everyone! Have an awesome day. =)

    unknown-user on #162983

    How about a compromise?

    Often you can find a teacher who will give you lessons on a monthly basis (or every other month, or whatever works for you).

    unknown-user on #162984

    I am so far teaching myself also,I ordered the sylvia woods book and dvd.so far it works! You’ve just got practice and pay close attention,and she does let you know that learning wrong habits early is not good!

    Ken H. on #162985

    Hi Jennifer!

    Ken H. on #162986

    Hi Jessicca!

    I’m sorry Jessica and Jennifer for that matter, My above post should have been directed to Jessica, Sorry.


    Diane DeFord on #162987

    This is a question I have wondered about too.

    Cheryl Z. on #162988

    Hi Jessica,

    One of our community colleges offered six weeks of classes.

    unknown-user on #162989

    I have a lap harp, I/ve been playing for 10 years and have never even met a teacher, I’m in a folk rock band “The Scuttlers” (If you google my space /The Scuttlers we are eazy to find)We have recorded C.d’s we are very well recieved on “Celtic Radio ‘ and popular on myspace

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