Teaching with harpsicles

Posted In: Teaching the Harp

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    shoshanna-godber on #221314

    Seeking teachers with experience teaching with harpsicles! I know there are people on here who enjoy harpsicles, and I’d love advice using them with students. They seem very awkward to hold. I rent other harps, but in some ways the harpsicle is the best harp for this student. She’s elderly and doesn’t own a car, so she needs to transport it on the bus. It’s also super cheap for her to rent (quite a bit less than my rentals). I’ve tried using a strap, but that seems to position the harp in the middle of her body. Do you use the lap sticks that Rees makes? Are they comfortable, and easy to position correctly? There’s so much for a beginner to think about, it would be great to make posture an easier part of the equation… Thanks!

    Biagio on #221457

    As you say, proper height, angle and posture are a major problem with these or any other lap” harp. The best solution would be a stand of some sort that in effect raises the harp to floor height and keeps it stable. There are several like that either on the market or easily made.

    I’ve used “lap sticks” aka “leg bones” and do not think them stable enough for a student; Blevin’s “LeStik” was much better while he still made them (and they are not hard to make yourself). Search for Le Stik to get an idea of the design.

    I designed a rather fancy folding stand which is being used by several teachers; details were published in the Folk Harp Journal, which you can read if you are a member. The editor, Beth Stockdell, ordered two expressly for her harpsicle playing students so you might ask her about it. I no longer make them since it is so easy to do and need not even fold. It amounts to an inclined artist’s table easel with an adjustable lip and a clamp. Here’s a link to it on Yahoo group The Virtual Harp Circle; see “A Folding Lap Harp Stand” (pdf):


    Another type is (or was) made by Timothy Habinski (Timothy Harps), and a somewhat simpler version is marketed by Laurie Riley. See:

    Best Playing Stand for Small Harps!

    This is simple and effective. With all respect and liking for Laurie and Timothy I think the $300 price tag is a bit steep for what amounts to a simple inclined board with rear foot and some sort of clamping device. Hardwood and inlays are nice of course, but one can make a perfectly good stand from ply or pine.


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