I really liked the music in Sounding Harps book 1 and also Deb Friou’s Baroque Music. What about you?
For beginning skills my favorites were the horse book, the cat & dog book, the bug book, and the bird book by Kathryn Cater (a number of us late bloomers all started with her books — she is amazing, lots of skills nestled inside sweet harp pieces — after you’ve learned each piece you have a new harp skill and a lovely piece for your repertoire). Can’t remember the exact titles as I am so used to calling them by our pet names for them, but they can be found at Sylvia Wood’s Harp Center online…
First piece I played in public was “Monarch Wings” from her bug book. Great little study in blocked chords and downward arpeggios. Very harpy.
From there I went to the Sam Milligan Medieval to Modern Vol II. Also, Mary Lloyds books (Open Door, Unknown Paths) at Afghan Press. I play a number of her pieces now at City of Hope.
Just noticed the Harp Center is out of stock of Kathryn Cater’s bug book (“Singing Wings”), but it is put out by Afghan Press so can be found there. Enjoyed reading the Harp Center reviews. My teacher even mentioned “Monarch Wings.” I think all his students learn that one now! All her pieces are charming though. Here’s my teacher’s review…
“This is a wonderul book for teaching beginning harpers! The pieces have
basic shapes and patterns that will be of great value to the student in
many other pieces as well. They are well written, interesting short
pieces that are not all that hard to conquer and learn. “Monarch Wings”
is a favorite with its root position arpeggiated triads and a right
thumb melody. Kids love these pieces. Adult students love them, too!”
I think Le Classiques (leDentu) are small pieces that sound very nice. I love Fun from the First bk.2. Also the Sylvia Wood a and b books. I LOVE the Friou Baroque Music book, but it’s still too hard for me to play much- definitely on my for-the-future list.
For beginners I like the Fun From the First books by Sam Milligan, and Imaginations by Doris Davidson. Also The Junior Bach Collection by Pearl Chertok is an excellent beginners book. I also used Dewey Ownes Christmas Music Simplified. An excellent beginners book of Christmas music.
Of course I also used many of the A versions from several of Sylvia Woods books and they are all great.
I really like Friou’s Baroque Music book, and I also have her Early Music for the harp, and Renaissance Music for the Harp books (as well as Harp Exercises for Agility and Speed, a must have for every beginner if you ask me). They are all wonderful and I am currently learning Lament of Tristan from the Early Music book. But I think they are a bit too hard for a true beginner. More early to mid intermediate if you ask me.
Tony, I bought that early music book at the AHS Conference, and those tunes sound so great on the new Webster harp. The Lament of Tristan is gorgeous. Did you ever listen to David Munro? (or Monroe…..can’t remember which way you spell it). He has a recording of that from the 70’s
I’ve been working on some of the “beginner” Salzedo and Grandjany pieces for about two months, and they make me curious as to how the great teachers start beginners. The pieces I’ve been playing are hard, after 17 months of good instruction and faithful practice. I always have a bee in my bonnet about grading pieces, so if these are “beginner” music, it will be a while before I get to “intermediate”.
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