do you think an intermediate player (I guess I would be that, not a beginner, not an advanced player ither) should buy a “student harp” or could venture into getting that “professional” harp she/he fancies?
Here’s my story, in short: as I said in another post I’m thinking to get myself a small harp for outdoor and travelling, but I am also thinking of getting a new bigger harp…SO: a couple of monthes ago I was determined to get myself a Camac Hermine (one of those “perfect for student” models, that I like a lot)…BUT, in Paris where I lived I tried their Aziliz model, which is what many professional harpists use
This is a great question, and I often get asked it by pupils. I tend to advice them to go for the professional models, rather than the student range, if it is affordable of course. Especially, if they, like you can hear the difference.
In general, and by no means always, the more professional models have better tone, evenness, responsiveness and this in itself helps you develop as a player. As it can be hard to progress on an instrument that is holding you back. If a harp in uneven or not responsive, it can make for slower progress in gaining control. And if you love the sound of your harp, it will also inspire you to practise..which I don’t think you can underestimate.
I also find that
Hi MD- I feel reasonably qualified to respond to you as a fairly accomplished musician and at the same time, a complete novice on the harp.
When I started, my teacher requested that I not buy a harp until I had played for several weeks. I agreed with her unlying reason- she wants her students to develop a fairly stable hand position before going home and practicing and developing bad habits- so I lasted about 2 months. By then the desire to practice during the week was making me crazy.
I was interested in 2 particular harps, and learned that one would be close enough to me to pick up at a conference, so I went for it.That would be my Thormahlen Serenade. It is the most reasonably priced of the Thormahlen line, although somewhat more expensive than other popular “starter” harps.
I believe that it is an excellent instrument. I take my lessons on my teacher’s L&H Prelude, and the combination of practice on the Serenade and lessons on the Prelude is completely satisfactory for my purposes. After having my harp for almost 3 months I am finding differences between the two harps but none of them are negative-positive differences, just variations.
If you absolutely love playing the harp and can’t imagine ever wanting to stop playing, you will be disappointed with a purchase that is your second choice, especially since you have some experience playing the harp that you really love.
I would certainly say to go for the harp that you love.
I agree with what everyone else has said.
It is one thing for a beginner to rent a harp first, or buy a more reasonably priced, and easier to resell, harp (although never one that is “junk” as nothing will prevent progress more than an instrument that is next to impossible to play).
But once you know that this is what you want to do then you should buy the best instrument that you can afford and love.
A good instrument is much more pleasant to play, and it is an inspiration to work
I looked up the Aziliz, it is a great looking model, very authentic celtic looking and would be a real asset for folk festivals!
Let us know what you decide to do. If you do buy one, I’d love to hear back on how you find it, and your adventures in going and buying it.
Thanks a lot everyone,
Had I known of this forum before leaving Paris I’d probably be in Portugal with my new harp by now!
I’m almost fully convinced about the Aziliz (yes it’s very celtic, I’m not advertising Camac over other brands, just is very popular on this side of the world, and I just happen to like that Aziliz model very much for many reasons). I’ll be in Italy next week for a week-end stage with my teacher and her other students, and I’ll be harp-shopping for a small harp, but I’ll certainly check out the Aziliz harps they have. Here in Portugal there’s no harp dealer of any kind (that I know of so far…) so I thought about organizing a trip to France and look for the Aziliz at the Camac factory in Brittany, just to have more choice (and just the right
I started on an ancient Troubadour I that I got for next to nothing. I lasted 3 lessons on that and couldn’t stand it anymore. I’m a pedal harp player at heart. My teacher told me to get the best I could afford, and I got a Camac Athena Ex. It’s the best thing I could’ve done. A year after that, I took it to a harp tech and had it redone….oversized pegs and new Camac levers (the Troubadour) and now I have a real nice lever harp, but……I don’t play it much. I try to make myself play it occasionally so that it will get played, but I really don’t like dealing with lever changes. They drive me insane because as I said I’m a pedal harpist at heart. I have a degree in organ. I’m just used to pushing or pulling something and getting major changes and I think that’s what I like about pedal harp….a couple of quick moves with the feet and you’ve got it.
If you are lucky enough to have the spare cash to spend on a harp, get the very best you can afford which you know will facilitate your development and which will retain its value if you need to sell it later. If you are in Portugal, see if you can get an Easyjet flight over to the Edinburgh Harp Festival in Scotland (usually held in March-April)
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