So I am looking to start learning to play harp and I would love some feedback on these two authors and their books. Unfortunately, any harp teachers are an hour or more away, so lessons are going to be rare. Have any of y’all used either of these books/methods? Or any other recommendations of good learning books? I am looking to play mostly folk music but also some classical, but I probably won’t ever be pro. I have taken piano lessons for several years, so I have some musical experience.
I used the Sylvia Woods book, but in conjunction with a teacher and other materials. We mostly used it for the exercises. But I do like it. I think that since you have prior music experience you would do fine with it.
Although the music she uses is mostly folk music the approach and technique her book teaches is pretty much the same as you would use for classical. She just uses a lot of traditional folk because it is diatonic and works well on the lever harp.
I started out on the Sylvia Woods book, without the DVD. Having no access to a teacher within a reasonable driving distance, I can sympathize with you. I have since purchased Pamela Bruner’s learning series and have compared the two. Here’s what I found:
1. Sylvia’s book progresses rather quickly, while Pamela takes a more methodical approach. And, Sylvia’s book is an all-in-one method book, while Pamela has three books in her series.
2. When I did get Sylvia’s DVD, I noticed she played through many of the pieces
I have their book. While it is a good resource I don’t think it would be good for self teaching. What I like about it is that it is mostly a very large amount of wonderful exercises, some great descriptions regarding notation for harp, and it has information and exercises for pedals for pedal harp players.
Some of it requires pedals so some of the content isn’t usable for lever harp.
I have found it a good resource and probably one of the best sets of exercises available, but it really doesn’t have that systematic approach to learning from scratch that seems to be the goal of the other two books. More it seems like a combination method book and exercise book that would be best used by someone with some background on the harp already, or who is working with a teacher.
I think it is an excellent book and have been using it as a reference ever since getting back into playing pedal harp, but I think it is definitely meant as a method book to be used with a teacher and not a self teaching guide.
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