Most of this is pointless rambling, so feel free to skip to the last two paragraphs. You don’t actually need to know my life story to answer the question.
So I have been wanting to play harp since I was fifteen, and now I have a basic harpsicle. I’ve had it since last June – but I’ll be honest, I didn’t start playing right away. I was kind of scared. I’ve been watching videos of harpists for years, studying the way they move their hands, but I felt so embarrassed just trying to do it on my own, especially since my family was being nosy about it. Kind of silly to be self-conscious about something I haven’t learned yet! But eventually, I let go of my fears and just went for it.
I would say I practice only a couple hours every week. I usually get in 10-20 minutes at night, sometimes more. But I cannot read sheet music. I know nothing about music theory. And without a teacher, I’m stuck trying to “teach myself” which is exactly as ridiculous as it sounds. They say experience is the greatest teacher, but I don’t have a disciplined schedule to optimize my learning, nor do I have the knowledge of a real harpist nearby to help me. YouTube videos are all I have!
So far I’ve discovered what sounds good and what doesn’t (I think), and most of my time spent playing is improvisation. I love it. So far I’ve only “learned to play” Amazing Grace, As The Deer, River Flows In You, Yuna’s Theme, and Abide With Me, most of which follow a similar pattern and were therefore easier to learn. Generally I improvise music, with periods of picking out tunes that I know just for fun.
Even if you skipped the rest of this post, PLEASE give me your advice on this: is improvisational learning bad? Should I be going by a certain book and getting serious about reading music? It’s extremely difficult for me to understand sheet music (I’m not very smart). I wanted to be able to dive in right away and start building skills, perfecting my technique. I am very careful about my posture and hand position, but I’m not even sure I do that right!
Am I learning things backwards, and is that going to mess me up later? Did this post make any sense at all? I’m kind of desperate and feeling alone here, sorry! I just can’t help but wonder if I’m making a mistake by trying to teach myself to play. It’s kind of depressing me and I don’t have anyone to turn to.