Kristina Finch

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    Kristina Finch on · in reply to: 4-2-3-1 fingerings #197441

    My feeling on this is that it is always best to listen to your body.  As you said, you have small hands, so it makes sense that you might have to adapt some things.  My hands are also on the smaller side, and I am always adapting fingerings to suit my own needs. For the most part, the fingerings put into music, especially at a more advanced level, are suggestions of what has worked for ONE harpist… the one who edited the edition or composed the piece.

    Maybe I am wrong, and I welcome anyone to correct me here… but if the 3-1 sounds better and is easier on your hand I say go for it, and try to consider printed fingerings more as helpful guides that can be adapted to your own needs.

    Kristina Finch on · in reply to: Harp=Money #189125

    I think that harp is like any of instrument as far as player affluence is concerned. There are those that come from wealthy backgrounds and those that don’t. Most working professional harpists (freelance) would tell you that finances are a struggle, as they are for any musician living this lifestyle. Think of it in terms of pop stars: there are a few who make a lot of money, and a bunch that make ends meet… this is certainly true of harpists.

    Small harps have become so reasonably priced these days, even adult beginners do not need to fall into a higher tax bracket than the rest of us. The instrument has become much more accessible in the past few years… but with that being said it is still extremely expensive and specialized.

    I think that the harp is associated with money from an outside perspective only.

    Kristina Finch on · in reply to: Harp Popularity #189122

    The question of why the harp isn’t as popular as the piano can be seen in the heritage of the instruments. The piano has been around (in different forms) for hundreds of years where as the harp as we know it today was only invented in 1811. The world of piano is simply exponentially larger than harp… there are more instrument manufacturers, and (importantly) more composers who write music for the instrument. Piano is extremely accessible; anyone can sit behind it and feel like they are making music. I do not believe the same can be said for harp. Sure anyone can strum their fingers over the strings and play a glissando, but as far as sitting down and playing “Chopsticks” or “Heart and Soul” the instrument does not offer the same ease of use. In my experience lack of exposure to the instrument is the #1 reason that there are not more people playing the instrument. I live in Miami, and considering the number of people who live here there are a shamefully small number of harpists. The reason for this is that there are only a small number of professionals in this area. We are all out playing and working as much as possible (trust me… we will work more if there is more work to be found!) and yet still people are not being exposed to the instrument.
    The issue of beginning a harp program in a school system is multi-faceted. First you need someone who is willing and able to teach young students. The schools have to be willing to purchase/rent an instrument as well as pay a teacher to guide students and help maintain that instrument. In my experience schools are very unlikely to be willing to shell out $25,000 in the hopes that a harp program will work (and in the few schools in my area that do have harps they are stuffed in cases, un-used, un-loved, and often in un-playable condition). The only way a school program works is for someone (the harpist) to give themselves 100% over to its development. If the school is unwilling to pay for the program the harpist then has to provide instruments. In Miami there is absolutely no access to instruments. There is no where that you can go and buy a harp. To obtain an instrument one would need to drive up to St. Petersburg, Atlanta, Virginia, or order an instrument directly from one of the manufacturers.
    Honestly I could go on and on about this…
    My thoughts on this issue are that the reason harp isn’t more popular today is because it is an expensive, specialized instrument by nature. We as harpists must always be working to expose wider and greater audiences to our instrument with the goal of creating new audiences and bringing new young people and adult beginners into our world!

    Kristina Finch on · in reply to: Harp and piano #188036

    I believe the Grandjany “Aria in a Classic Style” could be done on Piano and is a lovely (not too hard) work!!

    Kristina Finch on · in reply to: Reviews on Salvi Juno needed #188035

    I own a Salvi Juno and have many thoughts about the instrument. On the whole, with everything considered I think its a good harp. It’s extremely portable (the case has backpack straps) and the sound is pretty good for a harp of that size. I have had issues keeping the instrument in tune (some of the pegs won’t stay put no matter how hard I press them in) and I had to re-drill one of the leg attachment areas when it randomly fell off. They string these harps in the carbon fiber strings which feel a little different under the fingers and have less tension than I am used to (but I’m primarily a pedal harpist). It took me a few times on the harp before I knew the kind of pressure it could take and still make a good sound. The Salvi Juno is primarily a student instrument… the price is low and you basically get what you pay for. The wood is not high quality but they are durable little harps.
    If you are just looking for an inexpensive harp that is easier to tote around I would definitely consider the Salvi Juno 🙂

    Kristina Finch on · in reply to: A buzzy B #187903

    Alison, this might sound stupid… but have you taken the instrument to a different location to see if it still buzzes? It’s possible that the pitch might resonate with something in the room and might not be your harp at all! If not this then it might be time to visit a technician. Also, test around on the metal plate on the back of your harp… feel for vibration, it could be coming from inside.

    Kristina Finch on · in reply to: METROPOLITAN OPERA AUDITIONS #187875

    Congratulations Emmanuel!!! I am so pleased you will be joining us in the USA!!

    Kristina Finch on · in reply to: Harp and college #187821

    I have a few degrees in harp performance! I knew going into my auditions that I wanted to major in music, and auditioned almost exclusively at conservatories. Choosing a career in music is not something to idly stroll into… it has to be something in your blood… in your heart… something you know you cannot live without doing.
    With that being said there are lots of options for people who aren’t sure if they want to go into music!!
    1. Go to a state school: you will be much less likely to have to take out thousands in student loans!!
    2. Go to a school that offers dual programs: at Eastman there were MANY harpists who chose to also major in other areas at the University of Rochester
    3. Minor in music: You can always start out minoring and then move to a major if you so decide!!
    With all of these options though I can give one major piece of advice: go take a few lessons… meet a few teachers at schools that you are interested in. You might just find a teacher that captures your imagination (I know I did!) and pushes you in one or the other direction!
    Good luck, and keep on harping!!

    Kristina Finch on · in reply to: Good and Bad Days #187820

    Bad days are always going to happen. As musicians we are trained to be constantly working toward bettering ourselves, and our music. I’m not sure I have ever been 100% happy with a performance/recording… this is just the way life is. BUT! This doesn’t mean that we can’t use our “bad” days for something good!!!
    On the days that my hands just aren’t working (you know, you go through that tricky fast passage and your fingers are literally falling off of the strings) I take that as a sign and an opportunity to do some good-ol’ metronome work! As terrible as it sounds I find working with a metronome on “bad” days to be almost like therapy. By taking things at half tempo (and sometimes even slower than that) you give your hands the time to move properly even when they aren’t cooperating!

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