Hello! New Harpist

Posted In: Coffee Break

  • Participant
    Runemist34 on #189574

    Hello everyone!
    I’m a fairly new harpist, and very hungry for other people to talk to about this wonderful instrument, the passion of it, and to share help and tips!
    I got my harp about two years ago (much to my chagrin, I haven’t played it consistently in that time, but I’m trying!), it’s a Dusty Strings 26 string, partially levered beginner harp. I love it to bits! While simple, I know that my musical ability isn’t enough to give a larger harp it’s due justice. However, I do dream of a larger one, someday!
    I dreamed of playing the harp since I was 13, and was… somewhat laughed at for it. My biological father doesn’t really understand how that stuff can affect people (he’s sort of socially inept, as much as he is super smart!), but it crushed me, and I didn’t imagine I would ever realize that dream. It moved to the shelf, I tried not to think about it… till, one day, I decided I would give it a go!
    The time was right, I had enough from my student loan, I bought it. When I took it home, I couldn’t believe it was mine!

    Anyways. I’m a Creative Writing major, just finished my degree. I work at a popular coffee shop. I’ve sang in a choir for a couple years at the end of highschool, so I have a little bit of musical understanding… but things like time signature and tempo trip me up pretty bad. I’m 29, don’t have kids, but I have been married before. I hope to be getting married to my current boyfriend, and best friend of 11 years, in 2017.

    As I said, I’m dying to make some harpist friends!

    balfour-knight on #189579

    Welcome to Harp Column! It sounds like you will have plenty of time to realize your dream of playing the harp. One of my three harps is a Ravenna 34, and I love this little harp. I know your 26-string must sound beautiful, as all Dustys do!

    Happy Harping, new friend,

    eliza-bourgault on #189581

    Hi! You sound like a lovely person, and wow – creative writing! Apart from harping, we have something else in common! (Not that I’m studying it, but I love to write). I don’t come on these forums too often, but it’s always nice to see new members 🙂 I own a concert pedal harp (Camac Atlantic Prestige) … technically, my parents bought it for me so that I could study music at university. I’m in the process of selecting a lever harp to go busking with! So that’s my harp self in a nutshell!!! And lastly, welcome to the Harpcolumn community!!

    Mhairi Peters on #189584

    Hi there from the UK! I have just found Harp Column online and joined! I am just an enthusiastic amateur who can play fine on my own but start to make mistakes when anyone listens! I have a 34 string Pilgrim Harp which I bought with some money an aunt left me. Like you I had wanted to play the harp for years but never thought it possible! I also have a very cheap 19 nylon string lap harp which actually sound pretty good. A friend who is a fantastic recorder player persuaded me to play with her at a Tudor farm near where we live – ahhh- terrifying! She sound great and harps sound brilliant whoever is playing! We have even been asked back! We get to wear Tudor costume too! Enjoy playing ….you never know where harp plying can lead you!

    Paul and Brenda on #189588

    So nice to meet a new harpist who is starting at the same age as we did, a pretty long time ago. We were 29 and 30 when we started. We took some lessons and never looked back. For our first five years we made sure to practice, even a little, every day no matter what. Eventually our playing started sounding like something. Pretty sure you will fall in love with harp just as we did.

    Sylvia on #189589

    I, too, was an adult when I started playing harp in college. My parents thought the harp was a waste of time and never supported my choice. After I decided on music, I paid for the rest of college myself. It took a while because I had to work and go part time. After I graduated, it took four years (and a lot of saving up for the down payment) to buy my first pedal harp (on a LH payment plan), and my parents were not happy about it. When I bought my second pedal harp 18 years later, they were sure I had lost my mind. I guess if you’re a harpist, you just are, and no one can change that.

    Allison Stevick on #189590

    Welcome! I started out as an adult with a small harp and completely on my own. I love the online harp communities I’ve found, and I’m glad you’ve joined us. 🙂 Enjoy your harp!

    Runemist34 on #189622

    Thanks for the welcome everyone!
    Eliza- No need to study Creative writing really, but it did a lot of good for me, and my confidence. I’m much more sure of myself when it comes to writing now! I’ve been writing stories for almost my whole life, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop! In my current job, I’m often faced with how “different” I am, and I think that’s just because of the writer thing.
    Mhairi- Wow, playing at Tudor sounds like so much fun! I would be SO nervous to play in front of people… but, I suppose I have thought about doing it, one day, when I’m confident enough in my repertoir! Currently, I don’t think too many people will appreciate a constant repeat of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little star, Yankee Doodle, and Moon over Desolate Castle. Haha 😉
    Paul and Brenda- You guys both started together? That’s so cool!! My boyfriend has a bass guitar and, while he used to play quite a bit, he doesn’t anymore. Our current roommate plays guitar as well, so they’ve been talking about jamming. I don’t think my harp would really fit in, but it would be fun! It’s nice to have other people around to talk music with!
    Sylvia- I think the nature of becoming adults is to confuse our parents! When I decided to go into Uni, my step-dad objected… though, he only told my Mum about it, and she defended my choices. I never really hear much about their opinions of my life, other than encouragement! It’s nice, but definitely a contrast to a lot of other people’s opinions, including my biological father’s.
    Allison- Thank you!
    I’m impressed how many people started playing in their adult years! I’m really enjoying my learning, but now and then I feel stuck, or like I don’t want to work on that one song I can’t get AGAIN. I’m using a “teach yourself harp” book, which has been great, but feels a bit limiting, because it’s just one song at a time!

    balfour-knight on #189624

    Hello again, Runemist,

    I wondered as I read your last post if you have ever sought out a good harp teacher. Most times a gifted teacher can see things that you haven’t even thought of, and can help you get out of a slump and “over the hurdle.” It can be like “going to the oracle!” Even if you could arrange for an occasional lesson, you would have the assurance that you are doing the right techniques, learn a lot of new music, have a good reason to practice for the next lesson, etc.

    You haven’t mentioned what area of the world you live in, but maybe a good harp teacher is not too far away. These days, people use Skype and all sorts of things that were not possible a few years ago.

    I think you could learn to play harp very well along with your friend on guitar and your boyfriend on bass. I do that all the time with friends and family, and enjoy “jamming” at every opportunity! My first cousin married a classical guitarist, and what a treat it is to play harp and classical guitar together! Also, our “son” is a wonderful musician on guitar and vocals, and I have played often with him and his college friends, with much variety in our choice of music, ha, ha!

    Wishing you all the best,

    duckspeaks on #189630

    Hello and welcome!

    I am a boy (old). I loved the instrument since childhood but thought that only girls could do it. I thought of marrying a harpist one day (when I was a kid) but it didn’t work out. Then I dabbled with folk and then classical guitar and found myself playing at the middle of the string the string to emulate the harp sound. then finally I decided to cut my finger nails (big move for a guitarist) and go with my childhood dream. 13 moths and going well. Had a Dusty 34 string. Loved it but in the end preferred more sonorous and higher tension harps for tonal stability. Got small hands but it is less an advantage in a harp. that’s my harp self.

    Runemist34 on #189694

    Balfour- I would love to have a harp teacher, but there is only one in the area, and she only does Royal conservatory group lessons, once every two weeks, in midday. Kind of messes with my work schedule (and since my job is new, I’d rather not mess with it too much), and it’s very scary taking a harp on a bus!
    I live in Western Canada- Vancouver Island, so proper Vancouver is a two-hour ferry ride away, and quite expensive. I’m not near Victoria, either, though that is where I bought my harp!
    I know that where I live isn’t “ideal” when it comes to access to things like music teachers, or even dance studios or anything else that’s interesting! Haha. But, I prefer living in small towns. Larger cities make my anxiety crazy bad!

    Duckspeaks- I did a paper on the origins (one of them) of the Irish harp for one of my University classes, and back in the day, it was traditional that men would play them. O’Carolan is well-known, and was definitely a man!
    It was more the English who decided women should play harps, and as the pedal harp came into being, it became very prevalent.
    I always think it’s a little telling when people come to visit our house, and notice the harp- they always turn to ME and say “You play the harp?” Never once has anyone turned to my boyfriend! I think he’d be good at it, though.

    balfour-knight on #189696

    Runemist, you live in a beautiful part of the world! My wife and I love living in a small community, too. We are in western North Carolina, 40 miles west of Asheville, which is the closest city. We vacationed and toured through your area in 1987 with my parents, and thoroughly enjoyed our time in British Columbia. My dad turned 60 there, which is our age now! We all said that if we did not love the mountains of NC so much, we could live where you do!

    Have a great day,
    Balfour (and Carol Lynn)

    Adrian Albertyn on #190958

    I am in my 80th year and have just joined the Harp Column.I am interested in learning to play the Harp but realise that i have a long road to travel.Be that as it may i am a strong believer in nothing ventured nothing gained.
    I appeal to members to kindly assist me on my long road and any guidance will be greatly appreciated.

    Biagio on #190963

    Welcome indeed to the wonderful world of the harp!

    Vancouver Island is a big place and very beautiful, and there are a number of harpists there but no teachers as far as I know (Valerie Blessley being the closest in the city of Vancouver).

    There are however a number of resources that I would encourage you to join: The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society, the International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen, and the Virtual Harp Circle Yahoo! group.

    There are excellent teacher who are members of these and teach via Skype. The Puget Sound Folk Harp Society has several annual get-togethers and members range in location from Portland Oregon to Alaska.

    Welcome again!

    Barbara on #191282

    You should totally jam with other musicians! I’d actually like to do more of it. Let your harp playing be fun and limitless! 🙂

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