Studying Harp In College When Not Majoring

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    Recently a harp colleague asked me if I would ever consider accepting a harp student at the college level who did not wish to major in harp.

    I have to admit I was surprised at the question as I have been teaching both harp majors and harp non-majors at college for a number of years and really didn’t think about it as an issue.

    But it got me to thinking that, if this teacher friend of mine was looking for somewhere to send her students who “just want to keep playing harp while they major in business”, then other harp teachers may have the same question.

    And I know that many colleges and universities are quite strict about allowing non majors to participate in applied lessons. I am very fortunate not to be bound by those constraints.

    I have written more about this topic on my website, (click the news button).

    I am happy to have a dialogue about this with any harp professionals, teachers or students who are interested in exploring the topic.

    Anne Morse Hambrock

    Harp Instructor: University of Wisconsin Parkside
    Harp Instructor: Carthage College
    Harp Instructor: Prairie School
    Principal Harp: Kenosha Symphony


    Hello Anne,

    Thank you for starting this discussion. I have two vantage points which may be of interest. Firstly, I teach at Mt. San Jacinto College, a community college. For the first time we this semester we are able to offer applied music. Of course we are thrilled, and since it is a community college the lessons cost next to nothing ($46 for 8 hours of instruction). The lessons are open to anyone on an audition basis with the goal of welcoming members of the community and preparing serious musicians for transfer and professional careers.

    My second viewpoint concerns one of my private students, an accomplished harpist who has won scholarships for her performances and has been very active in local symphonies throughout high school. She is now heading to college, is not majoring in music but remains serious about it and has had a very difficult time receiving any information/communication regarding harp instruction or even finding a place to keep her harp on campus.

    As a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Arizona I taught all of the non-major applied harp lessons. That’s probably a good way to go about the issue you’ve raised, but only if the harp department is big enough to warrant it. I think ideally all students who are skilled enough to study at the college level should be able to, as long as they are held to the same standards as majors. However, if a university is strict about the non-major policy, a local community college might be a good solution.

    Interested to hear what you think.

    Vanessa R. Sheldon

    Gretchen Cover

    I will be forever gratetful for Clementine White taking me on as a beginner student at University of Florida. I was mesmerized when at 10 years old I saw National Symphony Orchestra harpist Sylvia Meyer play the harp in a concert and discovered only by accident that harp was taught at UF. I played piano for 7 years and auditioned with that for lessons. I had never seen a harp up close before my first lesson. I couldn’t afford a harp and had to use the music dept. Wurlitzer Wreck and ancient LH23 to practice. I had to really work to catch up and keep up to the other harpists who obviously were far ahead of me. Here it is nearly 40 years later and I am still playing. I thank you Anne and Vanessa for supporting those who want to play harp but not be music majors.

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