I see that you very often are in the HC Q&A sight and have
contributed a lot of answers to questions. Can you give us some
history/background on your harp experience etc. Just curious and
thanks for all the info. from the past and yet to come.
Well, I have been playing for somewhere between 15 and 20 years. To be honest I don’t really remember the exact year I started, so probably about 17 or 18 years would be more accurate.
I studied in NY with Ruth Berman Harris. I originally was interested only in Irish harp, but at that time finding someone who specialized in Irish harp was hard. I was lucky to find a harp and a teacher at all. Fortunately I found a wonderful teacher. Although she was trained as a classical harpist, and had made a bit of a name for herself in Jazz during the 40’s and 50’s, she was very open to what I wanted to do and worked with me. In return I opened my own mind up with regards to classical music.
I have since worked on my own as well has taking many workshops and just trading info with other musicians. I have taught several students of my own and gig mostly in private venues part time. I attempted playing full time but found that I don’t have that much dedication, and to really make a decent living you have to do a fair number of weddings. I hate playing weddings.
I like a regular pay check and a certain among of assurance that I will be able to pay the rent.
So I play out on a part time basis and have a full time job in the wonderful world of information security. I find it a good balance.
I play a fairly eclectic mix of music, from Classical to Jazz, Folk to Celtic, and a fair amount of popular music as well. I also play the guitar, piano, flute and glockenspiel, and find some of my greatest insights in regards to music comes when I try to transfer what I learn on one instrument to the other.
For me music is more a love than a career, although it does help pay the bills, and as time goes on I find I gig less and play more for my own enjoyment and that of my friends and family. I may eventually change that in 20 years when I retire and can devote more time to it without having to worry about that regular paycheck.
Overall I have my teacher to thank, the many harpists I have met and worked with who have taught me a lot, and a lot of good books for having learned a bit about not just playing the harp, but about the history and modern applications of this great instrument.
Anyway that?s it in a nutshell. I am far from the most educated person regarding the harp here (never attended a conservatory but did take a lot of music and theory classes as electives in college), and I am certainly not the best player. But I do what I enjoy and find it all very satisfying.
Oh, and if there is anyone who’s knowledge and experience I envy around here it is Saul. I don’t always share the same opinion as him on things more related to personal taste, but if you have any really serious questions to ask he is the one I would go to. I’m good for the easy stuff, but Saul really knows his buisness.
I currently have four harps. A Lyon and Healy Folk Harp, A Camac Baby Blue Electroharp, a Triplett wire strung lap harp and a 30 string, light gut strung Scottish lever harp by maker unknown.
I am currently saving my pennies for a Pedal harp. I used to rent one many years ago and am eager to get my feet on pedals again (not that
Judy Loman has recorded the Giga on a superb CD called The Genius of Salzedo, on the Marquis label.
The piece I mainly associate with Sergiu Natra is his Sonatina (which is on the Associated Board syllabus in the UK) but if you Google “Sergiu Natra harp” you will find a few other things as well (though their names seem to be in French rather than Spanish).
Sorry all, I haven’t been on the site for a few days. It’s been a very busy week.
I actually started guitar after harp. My first instrument was glockenspiel, and then flute, harp and last guitar.
I have to admit that on guitar I have very bad thumb position for that instrument. At least with the left hand. I do what in classical circles is a big no no, but among rock and blues is common, and that is I tend to hook my thumb over the guitar neck and use it at times to fret the low E string. I only tend to do it “correctly” when I am playing barr chords.
It is possible that the position for guitar is messing up their harp position. For guitar the thumb is supposed to be placed fairly straight and squarely in the middle of the back of the neck curve so you can get the proper leverage to fret the strings. However I really don’t tend to have much problem going from one to the other.
In fact my guitar teacher was impressed with how early I managed to make progress with my right hand finger picking. I approached the guitar strings very much like harp strings in how I placed my fingers and plucked strings. She often said it was difficult to find me good music to work on because my right hand picking was so far advanced beyond my left hand fretting, which has nothing really similar on harp.
I also have an advantage on
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