If I’ve only been playing harp for a year, is it likely that I can major in it?

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    unknown-user on #163795

    Check out this CD on amazon and then make sure you click “see all” because it’s near the bottom of the page. Hope this helps !


    Brittany Huynh on #163780

    Hi all,

    I’ve been playing the harp for about a little over a year now, and I’m
    a senior in high school. I’ve already applied to colleges and picked my
    majors (and alternates.) Partly because I have an interest in certain
    aspects in Biology, but mostly becaues I was influenced by my family, I
    chose Biology as my major for most schols. To be honest, I’m not really
    sure whether or not I have a passion for biology, which is what I put
    as my major for many colleges. I know that my major will most likely
    determine my career for the rest of my life, and I’m not so sure I will
    be in love with Biology 50 years down the road…However, I DO know
    that I love the harp, as all of you do, and I would love to take it one
    step further. I would love to major in music [performance].

    jennifer-buehler on #163781

    I majored in music with little music background and in an instrument that I had never played before.

    janet-king on #163782

    I continually give thanks that I’m not a kid in today’s high pressure world…

    Bonnie Shaljean on #163783

    To be honest, you probably need to be more technically advanced, beyond the beginner stage, and have some of the standard repertoire under your belt before you should consider taking it to the higher education stage.

    brook-boddie on #163784


    There’s a lot of good advice here already.

    Elizabeth Volpé Bligh on #163785

    There is a lot of excellent advice here! When you are applying for universities, see if there is a good harp teacher on faculty at the music school, and if not, see if the university is situated in a city where there are some good harp teachers. My advice? Take a course in Biology for now, but take private lessons on the harp, or maybe the university will let you take harp as an elective. All music schools require an audition, and the applicant has to be at a certain level. Otherwise, they will be unable to handle the workload once they get there. I have a good friend who majored in Engineering and then immediately got a job in a symphony orchestra after graduation. Another one graduated with a degree in Music Education and then was hired in a top-rank symphony orchestra in Europe. A music degree in Performance not only demands a high level of playing ability and hours of practice once you are accepted, but also has other courses such as history, theory, composition, which require your time. I should confess that I started university with only about a year of harp, but I had been playing piano and flute since I was quite young, and had all my Royal Conservatory theory and history courses before I went in. I did my audition and was accepted as a flautist, then switched my major later. When you get out there to perform, you do not want to be wondering how your technique will hold up and be quaking with stage fright. Your other options, if you really want to study music: take a course in Music Education or Music History or Composition, but not Perfomance.

    sherry-lenox on #163786

    When I took my BA in Music Education (back in the Stone Age) there were people who started with sub-professional auditions and in the long run made out pretty well. Still, I had a fall back profession in another teaching field that was much more secure, and because of that, much more lucrative.

    Since you are lucky enough to have another field that you are passionate about, the previous suggestions are terrific. You will be able to relish study in both fields, and prepare to support yourself

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #163787

    I disagree with everyone here, it seems. Majoring in biology because of your family is the worst reason to do it, at least in American culture. It is time for you to begin your journey into what you are interested in most. If it is music, so be it. Music can provide a reliable living, through education, for one direction. Church music is another. You can go to any college with a music department, which most have, and preferably one with a good harp teacher who will give you a good foundation. You can also transfer to a music school after two years, or go for your graduate studies. If you want to play professionally someday, you need time to practice, three hours a day or more. Therefore, you need a light course load. I avoided classes with a lot of papers required. No, you probably can’t go to a conservatory right now, but in five years, yes you can. While making a living is important, education is important for its own sake, detached from practicality. That’s what the Liberal Arts are about. Sure, a lot of us came out not knowing business, but we were intelligent, employable people. An education taken solely for one type of job is narrow and unfulfilling. Of course, you have to have talent. I don’t like the idea of trying to be a harpist without an education in music. There are too many harpists with low standards and knowledge about music, not referring to anyone here. If I knew where you were I might be able to recommend a teacher. I will recommend Karen Thielen, who teaches at San Jose State and Santa Clara Universities in the San Jose area if you are anywhere near California. You can’t go into music and only be concerned about money, because then you will not be a good musician, in my view. You can keep harp as an avocation if you

    kreig-kitts on #163788

    Remember that you can continue to love and enjoy something while not making your career out of it. Hopefully you’ll like your career, but you’re allowed to love many things in life.

    And like others said, your career isn’t always determined by what you study.

    Brittany Huynh on #163789

    To all the people who’ve taken the time to answer my questions,

    Thank you so much! You have opened my eyes quite a bit. Though I knew
    that the music world was demanding, as I had asked both my piano and
    harp teachers, I didn’t know the specifics. You have all given me great

    Brittany Huynh on #163790

    Hi Elizabeth!

    I just wanted to say thank you for giving me wonderful advice! I think
    your advice is great: taking the bio course for now and taking the harp
    elective. I’m actually taking private lessons right now, which is
    something I forgot to mention, but I do intend on continuing them. =)
    Congrats on getting accepted as the flutist and majoring in harp!
    You’re right-I shouldn’t be so worried about how my technique will hold
    up when playing. It only makes things worse. Though I may not major in
    harp performance, I might just do something similar to teaching
    something in the music field. Who knows? But really, thank you so much
    for your input :] It means a lot to me. Like I said in the post below,
    I’ll update on what happens! :] Thanks again! 😀


    Tacye on #163791

    Another thing to think about is the joy of being an amateur musician.

    carl-swanson on #163792

    All of the advice on this thread has been wonderful. I’ve been going through this with my talented 17 year old male student. I’ve told him that making a living full time at music is difficult. I’ve said that he has enough ability to do whatever he wants with the harp(perform, enter competitions, play orchestra auditions, teach, etc.) without spending big bucks for a music degree. I’ve encouraged him to train for some non-musical career that will be dependable and earn a decent living, but to continue to study the harp privately. If, in the end, he decides to go to musc school, he’ll at least do it with his eyes wide open.

    unknown-user on #163793

    Hi Brittany,

    First of all, choosing a major is a difficult choice (in fact, most students who know what they are majoring in change at least once in their four years)

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