Progress/Milestones

Posted In: Young Harpists

  • Participant
    Averil Chandler on #167217

    I’ve been playing the harp for a few months now and I’ve been
    wondering. How much did you guys progress after six months, a year,
    5 years etc. of playing? What were your milestones as you
    progressed?

    Participant
    unknown-user on #167218

    You will progress very quickly in the first months and years (even if you put very little effort into it!). Your progress will be less drastic with the more time you play, but every new piece you learn is progress, even if the new piece is no more challenging than the last. Milestones are really what you make them to be. I started when I was quite young, so any milestones I’ve had will undoubtedly be different than your own.

    Just to list a couple of my own: getting my first lever harp (age 7), switching teachers and consequently learning more advanced music (age 9/10), learning and getting a pedal harp (age 10), playing my first paying gigs (age 10/11), learning Solfeggietto (age 11), playing my first wedding (age 13?), et cetera.

    Participant
    unknown-user on #167219

    It depends so much on your individual characteristics and the ability of your teacher. I needed someone to hold my hand in position and move my fingers correctly so I could feel how it should work. I didn’t get that till later. Playing chords, breaking chords, clear harmonics, mastering pedal changes are obvious markers. What matters most is learning to make the harp’s tones sing warmly. Try to think of hugging the strings just a little with your fingertips, or a lot to make a big sound. After one year I was playing solos from Mildred Dilling’s collection, after two I began Salzedo’s Preludes for Beginners, but I skipped a lot of basic material like his Tiny Tales. You want to be sure your left hand is equal to your right, so give it extra repetitions. It was also useful to say the bass notes out loud to lock them into memory.

    Participant
    unknown-user on #167220

    Hi, I’m 14, and I’ve been playing the lever harp since the end of August. I’m just learning at home with the Sylvia Woods Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp book, and don’t have a teacher. I can already play broken chords, glissandos, and harmonics, in ‘fairly’ complicated music (If you know the Sylvia Woods book, I’m learning Wild Mountain Thyme, though I’ve been skipping around a bit. My question is: how do you hold your hands? Nobody I know who plays harp agrees. I play with all 3 fingers & thumb about level, with pinkie curved back a little. Is this right?
    Jessica G.

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