Is starting on a pedal harp realistic?

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    alessandra-morgan on #156192

    Hi all,

    I’m sorry if this is a topic that is covered extensively, but I looked through the first five pages and didn’t see anything, and I couldn’t find a search function.

    I live in Boston, MA and am thinking of looking for a teacher soon, and renting a harp. I was curious if it’s realistic to start learning on a pedal harp? I’m not a professional musician, but I have a solid musical background on a variety of instruments including guitar and piano, and am interested mostly in playing classical music.

    Would it be better to start off with a larger lever harp and trade-up after I get started, or if I can afford to start renting a pedal harp from the get-go, would that be better?

    Thank you!

    barbara-brundage on #156193

    Sure, it’s fine to start on pedal harp. For many generations that was the only way to do it, and it worked out fine. The only reasons not to do that are financial, or if you’re too small for a pedal harp, or if you already know you prefer a lever harp or aren’t sure which you’d prefer.

    But if you know what you want and can afford it, go for it.

    daniele-di on #156194

    Why not, Alessandra? (Italiana? 😀 )

    The pedal harp is not the step after the lever harp, they are two different things.
    If you want to focus on classical music and you are fascinated by the pedal harp, just go for it! 🙂


    tony-morosco on #156195

    If you know that the pedal harp is what you want to play and you have the finances for it then go for it. There is absolutely no other reason I can think of not to.

    Although I started with a lever harp I was renting a pedal harp within months.

    I love both levers and pedals, but as mentioned they are two different animals. Each has it’s place. If you know you want

    Bonnie Shaljean on #156196

    Yes, go for it. This is not advice I would give every beginner, but you are clearly old enough to know what you want, your piano background will stand you in good stead because of the many similarities in treble/bass hand coordination, score layout etc; and you want to focus on classical music. Lever harps are too chromatically limited to handle much of this repertoire (though you can do a surprising amount on them), so you might as well begin as you mean to proceed. Also you’re lucky to live in Boston where there are some very fine teachers and a wealth of cultural outlets. So, do it!

    alessandra-morgan on #156197

    Thank you all!

    I just wanted to check, because with many instruments such as a violin or cello, I know you might start with a cheaper student-grade instrument that only costs a thousand or two (or less) and then upgrade, so I was a bit hesitant to try to jump right in with a pedal harp, just when comparing relative costs between instruments. I’m am 99.99% sure that pedal harp is the way I want to go, and I finish grad school in a month, so I’m hoping I’ll have time and money to start soon!

    alessandra-morgan on #156198

    I’m Korean actually, adopted! 😀

    kreig-kitts on #156199

    There’s no advantage to starting on a cheaper violin, flute, etc. either (except for those specifically designed for smaller students), except they’re easily broken by young students and children’s interests can sometimes fluctuate, limiting the initial investment.

    Sylvia Clark on #156200

    I guess so.

    kay-lister on #156201

    Two different critters – like apples and oranges (both fruit obviously).

    kathy-mcmullin on #156202

    You’re lucky to be in Boston. There are lots of good teachers there!

    Jessica A on #156203

    If you’re interested in playing mostly classical music, why would you

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