30 Day Challenge Music Ideas!

Harp Column’s 30 Day Practice Challenge returns on January 1! Looking for repertoire ideas? Scroll down for our recommendations to download now!)

This year’s challenge theme is “something old, something new.” We’re challenging you to learn a new piece AND to relearn an old piece now forgotten. You’re on your own for the old piece, but we’ve got plenty of suggestions for something new at every level! “New” can mean a piece of any time period new to you. So our recommendations here are not limited only to contemporary music. However if you’re looking for ideas on the best new contemporary pieces to download, check out Amy Nam’s blog here.

Sign up for the challenge

* Indicates playable on lever harp.


*Caterpillar Classics, arr. Rachel Green
Level: advanced beginner

Are you newish to the harp and looking to play the classics? Choose any one of 24 classic pieces arranged by Rachel Green for this year’s challenge! All the classic composers are represented here, including famous melodies from symphonies, operas, string quartets, chamber music, and piano solos.

*Easy Classics, arr. Meinir Heulyn
Level: Intermediate

Another classic collection we’re excited about comes from Welsh harpist Meinir Heulyn. Easy Classics is an amazingly useful collection of 12 well-known melodies, any of which would be a perfect challenge solo! We’re particularly fond of Mendelssohn’s “On Wings of Song” made playable for lever harp by Meinir.

*Concerto in B-flat, G. F. Handel
Level: advanced

Are you a lever harpist who has always wanted to play this classic harp piece? Taken from the original manuscript, Darhon Rees-Rohrbacher’s versions for both pedal and lever harp are true to the way Handel originally intended, and also include an original cadenza.

Variations in C Major, by Haydn
Level: advanced

If you’re looking to add a new classic piece to your challenge repertoire, Isabelle Perrin’s version of Haydn’s Variations, H XVII:5 In C major should fit the bill. Perrin’s version of the familiar theme and variations has been edited from the original for the intermediate-advanced pedal harpist.

Nocturne, by Glinka
Level: advanced

If learning Glinka’s beautiful “Nocturne” has been on your to-do list, you’ll want to check out Elzbieta Szymt’s new edition of the classic. It’s fully marked with pedals, fingering, and placing to make your job even easier!

fresh and modern

*Les Amuse-Bouches, by François Pernel
Level: advanced beginner

French harpist François Pernel’s Les Amuse-Bouches (or “Appetizers”) is a collection of 60 short, charming pieces for lever harp. Designed with the advanced beginner in mind, the collection includes “a taste of modal and modern.” Any one of these would make a great challenge piece!

Onde, by Kirsten Agresta Copely
Level: intermediate

Copley’s original composition is written in a neoclassical style. It evokes an introspective and relaxing vibe with rippling patterns of arpeggios “reminiscent of water hitting the shore.” We’re hooked!

*Autre Chose for Advanced Lever Harp
Level: advanced

For something more challenging, try Pernel’s Autre Chose for Advanced Lever Harp, a collection of 35 original compositions. “Those compositions are important for me, because I’d like to push the boundaries of lever harp repertoire,” says Pernel. Choose one for the challenge and save the rest for later!

Harparium, by Arne Werkman
Level: advanced

Are you looking for a challenging solo for advanced pedal harp? Look no further than Arne Werkman’s Harparium. This “experimental” suite includes four movements, each named after a different insect or animal. We’re partial to “The Centipede With the Wooden Leg.”

Sounds Harpy

*The Merry Brook, by Frances Miller
Level: advanced beginner

Looking for an arpeggio etude that also makes a great concert piece? Look no further than Frances Miller’s “The Merry Brook.” We’ll let you in on a little secret: Miller’s daughter is none other than Harp Column Academy master teacher Lynne Aspnes, who also teaches the piece in her HCA studio!

*Angel of the Dawn, by Sharone Stevenson
Level: advanced beginner

Want to add a challenge piece that you can use in any setting? Check out Sharone Stevenson’s original composition “Angel of the Dawn,” which is part of her Healing Harmony—Essence of Joy Album. All of Sharone’s compositions are perfect for healing harp situations, and we think this one sounds particularly “harpy!”

Fountain, by Gary Schocker
Level: advanced

Gary Schocker’s “Fountain” is an arpeggio workout for more advanced players. The two-movement solo is reminiscent of traditional French harp repertoire and uses a familiar arpeggiated pattern, updated with contemporary harmonies.

Sharone Stevenson

Angel of the Dawn


fun and jazzy

*Moon River, arr. Michelle Whitson Stone
Level: advanced beginner

Michelle Whitson Stone, arrangement of the pop favorite “Moon River” is a great choice for advanced beginners, and it’s playable on lever harp! It’s a “great piece for dipping your toes in the water of pop and jazz,” says Michelle.

*Contemporary Collection, Vol. 1, Joyce Rice
Level: intermediate

This collection includes three blues and jazz inspired pieces with lush, embellished harmonies. Titles include “Red Sequins,” “Blue Bliss,” and “Plum Brandy.” Choose any one for your jazzy challenge piece!

*New Blues, by Deborah Henson Conant
Level: Advanced

You can’t go wrong with DHC’s “New Blues” if you’re looking for a jazzy challenge. It’s written especially to take advantage of the lever harp, but sounds just as good on pedal. Her fun, bluesy theme-and-variations “is fun to play and a big crowd-pleaser,” says Deborah.

Michelle Whitson Stone

Moon River


Deborah Henson-Conant

New Blues


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