Your Own Harp for Lessons?

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    karen on #160588

    Just wondering if most of you take your own harp to lessons or play whatever is available where you lesson takes place. I am fortunate that I do not have to schlepp my harp to my lessons but really think my lessons would go better on my own harp. Wondering about other experiences and insights. I realize it is helpful to get comfortable using different harps but at the beginning, there is much comfort in playing my own and particularly since mine is a 32 string (Dusty FH-32) and usually at lessons, I play a 34 and it really throws me off.

    Geri McQuillen on #160589

    Hi Karen,

    My lever harp is an Aoyama 36-string.

    Briggsie B. Peawiggle on #160590

    Every harp feels different. I think it’s best not to take your own harp because when you play harp, you often are required to play a harp other than your own. The better you can adapt quickly to a different instrument, the more proficient you will be. I never bring my own harp, but that’s because I don’t play lever harp at my lessons, and I’m sure not going to haul my pedal harp. I usually get a choice when my lessons are being set up as to whether I want to study on the university harp or at my teacher’s house. If possible, I always choose her house. I’d much rather play on her Camac Atlantide than on the schools L&H 100, partly because I own a Camac and am used to the string spacing, and partly because I just like her harp better than any harp I have ever played and love to play it. However, I did play for months and months — and still do at times — on the L&H harp. I kind of like that “switcheroo” thing I have to do when I sit down to that harp.


    Audrey Nickel on #160591

    I’m lucky in that I have fairly portable harps (a Dusty Strings Ravenna 26 and a Dreamsinger “Bard” wire strung), and I do

    Sid Humphreys on #160592

    You know Geri, the difference in light is a big issue. The lights on a stage are bright and make your instrument look so different. Try taking your harp to other rooms in your house to practice and see how you do. I particularly like the kitchen… the ceiling is lower and the lights are

    renate-kvalsvik on #160593

    I never bring my own harp to lessons, because I have to travel by train to get there, and my harp (a 34-string lever harp) is too big for me to carry around. I take lessons where my teacher works, at a music academy, and there I play a pedal harp. It’s a BIG difference between my lever harp and the pedal harp, and it throws me off a lot, but at the same time I think I’m getting better at adapting to different harps faster. I want to some day be able to play the pedal harp as well, so I think it’s good that I get to play one even though it will be years until I can have one of my own. But it’s annoying when what sounded so good at home comes out awkward and littered with small mistakes and buzzes in front of my teacher, just because the sound is so much bigger in the pedal harp or because the tension is different.

    Briggsie B. Peawiggle on #160594

    I can’t speak for anyone besides myself, of course, but I believe that the reason I make some odd goofs when playing at a lesson isn’t because of the room change or the harp change, but simply because I know that I am being very very carefully observed. This causes me a lot of tension. I have a lot of trouble blowing off the fact that I am being “watched.” And, of course I WANT to be carefully observed…..this is what I am paying for, but all the same, it does cause a lot of tension…..a good thing actually. How much tension will I feel when I am performing? It’s a good thing.


    Audrey Nickel on #160595

    I think that’s a fairly common reaction.

    tony-morosco on #160596

    I don’t currently take lessons, but when I did I did not regularly take my own harp to lessons. Only twice when I was playing strictly lever harp. One of which was my first lesson so she could check out my harp and show me how to tune and check my posture at my own harp since it was smaller than the one I would be taking lessons on.

    I took lessons on her Troubadour at first and later on her L&H Style 23. Once I started on pedal harp the idea of taking my own harp to lessons would have been out of the question as I didn’t have a car big enough to put a pedal harp in.

    I never had any particular problem going from harp to harp even though my first lever harp had folk style stringing (lighter gauge and closer together) and the Troubadour, of course, is strung very much like a pedal harp.

    I agree with those who say that the bigger issue is simply nerves playing during lessons with your teacher watching than it is the difference in the harp, not that the difference doesn’t play any role, just not as much as I think we tend to attribute to it.

    And I also agree with the person who said that it is actually a good thing that we make more mistakes at lessons as that really does show where the extra work is needed. After all, if you

    elinor-niemisto on #160597

    When I began lessons, my teacher had a different color-coding for the strings.

    andy-b on #160598

    I’ve always played on the teacher’s harp at lessons, unless we had a group lesson, in which case everyone brought their own harp.

    I do think, though, that if you only play lever or pedal

    Geri McQuillen on #160599

    Great suggestion, Sid.

    Audrey Nickel on #160600

    It is fun to play outside.

    kay-lister on #160601


    The saying goes that if the wind blows hard enough to make the strings of a harp sing, it is the angels that are playing the harp.

    Tacye on #160602

    With my first two teachers I played their (or the school) harp in lessons.

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