Why the harp?

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    My older sister had a childhood friend who played the harp, and when we would go to pick her up from their play dates I would always run inside and start plucking the strings on her harp. I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. I told my mom I wanted to play when I was 6 years old, but she decided to wait because I’m pretty sure I told her a number of other things that I wanted to do, and she wasn’t sure which ones were for real. LOL

    I took viola lessons when I was in the 4th grade and I was terrible–quit after a few months. I just wasn’t enthralled with the viola like I was with the harp.

    So when I was 10, she asked me if I still wanted to play and I said yes.


    When I was very little I was exposed to piano. It seemed everyone and their grandmother had one.


    I grew up in England surrounded by Celtic music and LOTS of Celtic harps. I’m a major history buff and at first I was fascinated at how easily the harp can evoke the romance of the past for people. It’s timeless. Playing historical music made me feel a connection with the eras I most enjoyed, and I enjoyed having that effect on others, as well. It’s completely addictive to play– very sensual and tactile and satisfying. Admittedly, I also like that it’s uncommon; I love when people get excited about something I love. And the harps not only draw one in with sound, but with their looks, too… oooh how I love the lines of a well-designed harp. I guess getting drawn into the world of the harp is like falling in love: one is immediately seduced by the sexy curves of the instrument, and then one falls in love with its deeper personality and substance…

    OK, OK… I’ll quit while I’m ahead! LOL… my husband is rolling his eyes and says he doesn’t like to think of the harps as competition, LOL…

    Pat Eisenberger

    I’ve played one instrument or another since I was a child, and was a music major in college. But I married young and drifted away from music. In my thirties I got into writing music, and did the usual church choir bit. In my mid-forties I went to a Renassiance Festival (as I do every year) and – there is not better word for it – I fell under the “enchantment” of a harper. I could have sat and listened all day! The next week I went back to the festival and bought a small, 30 string


    Well I was encouoraged a little too much around the piano as a child – my mother had dreams that exceeded my talent.


    June 6th, 2005 I took shelter from the miserable rain in the Harping Building at the Kansas City Highland Games. There was a group harp lesson going one, with about 5 lap harps being used by the audience. I asked if I could join and since there were no lap harps left they gave me a L&H Troubadour V, 36 strings, light maple. Within five minutes I was completely convinced, hooked, in love (a mushy term, but about accurate.) I asked question after question and when the lesson was over they let me play for about an hour in a corner.

    Nine months later I bought a Blevinsong 36, which has turned out to be perfect in every respect–size (I can just fit it in my car), sound, weight (22 lbs.), looks (very streamlined and simple, which is me to a T). I began telephone ‘lessons’ with Cindy Blevins then, and eventually started learning from the woman who was teaching the harp lesson at the Games–Jennifer Leibnitz, who I think is the most generous and inspiring music professional I’ve ever met.

    I’ve played classical piano for many years–in fact, my profession is as a piano educator. But I quickly realized that the harp is my instrument. I’m enjoying the assimilating of the ‘harp culture’ and have worked hard and progressed quickly.

    I’ve taken on my first harp student in the last month and find it utterly fascinating. So much of what I teach on the piano can be applied here and yet it is not the same in many ways, and the skills required are different. As a piano teacher my forte (excuse the pun) is in solid early training, and I think that will be helpful in teaching the harp. My teacher said that, regretfully, few harp teachers will really focus on the beginning skill required in a correct posture, hand position, and approach to the harp, music, and practicing. I hope to change that with my students, as well as to introduce the Celtic harp to the awareness of this area (Midwest, rather rural, not very musically inclined.)

    Excuse the long post. This is a fascinating thread. I think that harpers and harpists are among the most interesting of people because it takes a unique person to recognize and determine to learn the harp.

    All the best!

    Victor Ortega

    Emily, I found your post very inspiring.


    I always wanted to play the harp, but it was too expensive and there were no teachers around when I was a child.


    I recently replied to the eternal question from strangers with “Have you ever heard of somebody wanting a piccolo at their


    Another guitarist and many of the same reasons. (I also play banjo, but I started that AFTER I began harp, and I usually don’t have much overlap there, though I do on harp/guitar.

    That third factor of yours, the “feel” of it, is a major reason. It’s why I may like to hear instruments that aren’t plucked strings but don’t want to play them. It’s something physical and emotional.

    Since you quit guitar when you took up the harp, I guess you never had to deal with the fingernail problem. I didn’t quit the guitar and never solved the fingernail problem. (For non-guitarists: I mean you need longish nails on your right hand, or left if you’re left-handed.)

    Sheena Hudson

    I’ve had an interest in playing harp since I was a kid.
    I just find it really, really elegant and sophisticated to play.
    Even though I haven’t had the time to learn to play it, (Yes, I don’t know how to play it.) my interest has never gone away. 🙂


    Sheena, why not give yourself the gift of a few lessons?


    I’m new to this forum, so I’m enjoying reading some of these old threads.

    Paul and Brenda

    We started harp lessons at 29 and 28 years old with no previous musical training and have been playing for 35 years.

    Madeline Davis

    I don’t really have any idea where I first heard the harp or what made me think I wanted to play it, but as long as I can remember, I wanted to play one, strange because I didn’t know anyone, but it must have managed to catch my eye at a symphony

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