Im 14 and thinking about playing the harp… for school.
Its just that Im a boy, and Harp isnt the most ??boy?? instrument. Although I do play organ and accordion, and most people dont know that…
??Any other teenage boy harp players out there??
Posted In: Amateur Harpists
Brandon- Welcome to the harp community. There was another thread on here about this a few years ago. If you poke around in the archives you can probably find it.
There are more and more guys, both kids and adults, who are taking up the harp. There’s a Catholic boys school in Brooklyn New York that started a harp department last year and they’ve got 8 boys playing the harp. Robin Cartier in new Jersey has a huge harp department in a public high school, with many boys playing the harp. There are some spectacular men playing the harp now. In the last 20 years several have won international harp competitions(Emmanuel Ceysson of France as well as Xavier de Maistre), both of whom are now in major orchestras. Emmanuel is principal harpist of the Paris Opera, and Xavier is harpist in the Vienna Philharmonic. Emmanuel is 25 or so and Xavier maybe 30. So you’ve got plenty of company. Let us know from time to time how you are doing and what you are working on. Good luck.
Im in Omaha Nebraska….. If anyone has heard of Nicole wilkins, she is the harp player here at Westside High School, and is the only one who knows Im thinking about playing the harp…. Well actually some other kids heard me talking about it, and thought it was kind of cool!
Having just been finished with my teen years not too long ago, I myself would say: Go for it!
I too was nervous for a while, but then I realized that being a male harpist only gave me favorable attention. There wasn’t ever a shortage of young women around who weren’t fascinated. 😉
I don’t think musical instruments should be considered either more for a girl or more for a boy. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, they got an unspoken label put on them. Brandon, I advise you to follow your musical path, and forget all the labels. If you are drawn to the harp, then play it. Flutes are also considered more for girls, but one of the greatest flute players in the world is James Galway, who started playing flute as a teenager.The most famous Irish harper Turlough O’Carolan also started at a young age. You may become one of the next great male harpers if you allow yourself to see beyond the limitations of the labels others have placed on the harp. Best of luck to you!
Not meaning to steal the thread for another temporary subject, but….
This whole gender oriented instrument is actually fairly new. It only started in about the 1940s. Until that time, almost every orchestra only employed male musicians. However, in the late 1940s [I believe] the Boston Symphony hired the first female Principal player in one of the “Top 5” Symphony Orchestras. This woman was Doriot Anthony Dwyer [I’m a flute major actually, and my teacher studied with this woman]. Other than Mrs. Dwyer, the only other woman to ever play with this orchestra was the occasional 2nd harpist. Now that the figurative “glass cieling” was broken, that is when gender-typing instruments started.
Before that time, almost all of the greatest musicians in history have been men due to gender oppression [all of the great flutists definitely].
Anyway. Don’t let it bother you. This is still a fairly new phenomina
If I recall I was 19 when I started many years ago. I did feel a little apprehensive about letting people know at first, but what I found was that as soon as someone found out I played the harp their immediate reaction was, “cool!”
I have never received any negative attention because I was a male playing the harp. So definitely go for it and don’t let such things get in the way. I have had the privilege and honor to meet so many incredible male harpists over the years, and honestly I would have to say that among my favorite
Oh yeah! I remember that stuff. I had forgotten all about the whole “That isn’t lady-like” comment that Dwyer’s father told her when she wanted to learn flute. I guess it is just the whole stigma that goes with it now-a-days [i.e. sexuality stereotypes etc. etc.]. I do remember learning about what is and is not proper for different genders to play and why.
I don’t know if it’s the folk harp or the pedal harp that interests you, but if you want to learn a bit about some of the guys who play various forms of folk harps (where would we be without them!), you might want to Google on some of the following names:
Just for fun, here’s a great clip of Steve Coulter playing “Morgan Magan” with uillean piper Eoin Duignan (the sequence with the harp comes about half way through).
Welcome to the forum.
Brandon… Let me tell you a bit about being a boy and later a man, been there done that.
When I was a teen, I loved sculpture. And I loved to spend hours in an art museum drinking in the beauty of the art. I also loved cars and I had a rather extensively modified and customized car that I had worked on for over three years. Actually in it’s way, it was sculpture, I had reformed various parts of the body and created a work of art.
Of course everyone knew my car. One day at school, I was asked what my car was doing parked outside the art museum the previous Saturday.