Harp Repertoire for Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Students

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    Hi harp teachers,

    In the


    I’m no teacher, and personally have no particular plan, however allow me to refer you to a previous thread started by Carl Swanson regarding what is intermediate level.


    HH- If I may, let me ask the question: In the sequence of beginning, intermediate, and advanced, what are the SKILLS that you teach, and expect your students to learn before they move on to the next level? AND, how do you teach those skills?


    My student and I have been observing how Salzedo’s Tiny Tales are really rather tricky for a beginner, and it became clear that his approach was to make comfortable the most challenging things about the harp such as unusual fingerings, intervals, raising, not connecting, jumping; and how much easier it makes that to play the typical pieces with scales and arpeggios. If one is too dependent on the idea of having security, how hard to leave it, but if you learn right away that there is no security in playing the harp, that you have to land where you need to go, how much stronger you are. So I mix them with Medieval to Modern and that sort of thing, for good results.


    It depends on whether they play lever harp or pedal harp, what training they have already had on other instruments, what their strengths and weaknesses are, etc. I start everybody with four fingers on the strings from the first lesson, and we get scales underway immediately. I make sure they start each lesson with technical exercises, then we get to the pieces, (unless they are already really technically competent). Whichever music you use, the pieces should be engaging musically and mentally, and should challenge the student enough to make them progress, but not be so difficult as to cause frustration. Sometimes you will overestimate a student’s ability or amount of practice time, and then it’s okay to back up and choose something simpler for the recital. For beginners, it’s good to get them a book of progressive exercises and pieces, with lots of commentary and pointers that they can use as a reference. There are good lists of pieces to choose from in the various Syllabuses (Syllabi?) from the Royal Conservatory of Music, or the Associated Board of the Royal College of Music, etc.

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