Taking Lessons? How long?

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    rod-c on #157245

    How long have you been taking harp lessons? Do you know how long you will continue to take lessons?

    shelby-m on #157246

    I started playing harp about 9 months ago, and that’s how long I’ve been taking lessons.

    carl-swanson on #157247

    Rod- I think there’s a difference between professionals and amateurs on the issue of lessons. Professionals, or students who are on the track to become professional, should take lessons until they have developed an advanced technique and understanding of repertoire, period style, musical expression, etc. After that they can work occasionally with a teacher, particularly one who specializes in what they want, like orchestra parts or competition repertoire and preparation. But the bottom line with professionals is still a well developed and advanced technique.

    Amateurs(and I’m not using that term in a derogatory way), are playing the instrument more or less as a hobby and purely for fun. They will probably need a teacher to help them with every piece that they are ever going to learn. They are also going to develop their technique much slower than a student on the professional track, if only because they don’t have the 4 or 5 hours a day to practice. For both amateurs and professionals, going regularly to a teacher can be a huge help in learning new repertoire, just because it supplies deadlines(the next lesson) for getting things done. Without that even professionals can drag and dawdle on getting new pieces learned and finished.

    kay-lister on #157248

    I have been studying harp for 9 years now under Rebecca Anstine Smith.

    kay-lister on #157249

    Also, I will continue with my lessons as long as Becky can stand me.

    deb-l on #157250

    I’m confused Carl, why do you think amateurs will need a teacher to help them with every piece they are ever going to learn?

    Jerusha Amado on #157251

    Because you are being paid yet don’t make your entire living in the harp world, I would call you a semi-professional.


    rod-c on #157252

    Hi Carl:

    You make an important distinction between the pros and amateur.

    deb-l on #157253

    I’m going to assume Carl meant that to progress to the next level technically amateurs need to continue to take lessons, if the piece is above their current level.

    Tacye on #157254

    I think one very important point is whether the teacher in question has taught the students how to learn pieces and cope without a teacher (to whatever level).

    deb-l on #157255

    I just got an e-mail since my last post to this thread, from my future harp teacher.

    Jerusha Amado on #157256


    It’s wonderful to hear that you’ll be studying with Brandee!

    deb-l on #157257

    Jerusha, I let her know my interest in Jazz, but I’m sure we will be working on whatever she feels will help me develop good technique.

    carl-swanson on #157258

    Deb- Maybe I’m assuming too much in my previous post. But a professional or student on a professional track should have studied technique in particular very intensely and for a long period of time. Such a person has learned a lot of repertoire at all levels and so should have a very well rounded technique with lots of experience at every possible problem that could come up. An amateur, be it an adult beginner or a child just taking lessons, has not covered that amount of repertoire nor learned that level of technical skill and so will encounter problems with almost every piece they work on. Unless the person’s teacher has focused on learning technique and has made rigorous use of etudes and exercises, giving the student a complete technique at a given level, I find that most students can play certain things at a given level well but not everything at that level.

    Another way of stating it is that when a student has studied (well) for a long enough time, their technique and musical understanding are so complete that they no longer have to think about it. That’s probably the point when they no longer need a teacher, at least for weekly lessons.

    deb-l on #157259

    thanks for explaining that Carl.

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