Starting from scratch

Posted In: Teaching the Harp

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    Alison on #198065

    I have a new teenage pupil without any prior musical knowledge at all. We all know how challenging and pedantic it can be acquiring the motor skills and reading music, which  can be stifling. How might you suggest I get combine the groundwork with more appealing mix of exercises, pieces and genres ?

    Gretchen Cover on #198069

    Alison, for some reason your post shows up under your name but not in the forums.

    I suggest you go to Sylvia Woods’ blog on her website One her blogs talks about music apps.  Your student could work on basic music skills in a fun way and not need an instrument to do so.  Also check out the app called Handy Harp.

    There are tutorials on YouTube, as well.

    Sylvia on #198139

    I started from scratch at 19…no prior musical experience.  If the student wants to learn, he/she will.  You don’t have to learn it all at once.  My teacher started me on The First Harp Book by Betty Paret.  It’s very basic, and I learned to read the notes and clefs as I went along.

    Elettaria on #198163

    Do they know what their learning style is, or can they figure it out?  I’m a visual learner, for instance.  Reading music is the best way for me to learn a piece.  My partner plays by ear, on the other hand, which I wish I could do (he wishes he could read music as fluently as I can), so for him the best thing is to play a piece to him.  My friend’s kid is a kinetic learner which is apparently rarer, he learns by doing things and is an excellent mimic.  I didn’t know I was a visual learner until adulthood, I was surprised to find it out since I’ve been doing music all my life, but it made sense, especially when I discovered I had a talent for quilting.  Anyway, that might give you a clue as to the best way to proceed.  I’ve been reading music since I was five and have no idea what it’s like to learn that either.

    Alison on #200892

    The student’s learning style shows certain difficulties with the spatial aspects, low high, treble bass, left right hands & the string names and the direction & order of the alphabet. Then we have pedal names and the natural sharp settings of the pedals – their musical memory and interest is very good however. As a harpist my middle name is patience…. I am now producing the teaching aids we should all have to hand anyway – somehow these seem lacking in the tutor books.

    Elizabeth Volpé Bligh on #201088

    I would suggest doing rhythm drills, clapping, not playing. I highly recommend working from The Logical Approach to Rhythmic Notation by Phil Perkins. It’s best to count out loud while clapping, using the words recommended in the book. (One and two and, one-e-and-a, two-e-and-a, etc.)

    Alison on #201241

    Thank you for the book suggestion, yes I started clapping with the student, I also have a diagram of the strings intersecting the staves with each note name .

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