Best Student Solos

Check out these great solos for virtual teaching!

Harp teachers everywhere have suddenly been thrown into teaching virtually via Skype, Facetime, and Zoom with hardly any time to adapt. Teaching students virtually, especially beginner level students, can be tricky for a number of reasons. Because of this, I decided to make a list of solos for advanced beginner and intermediate level students that are short, will encourage students to practice during quarantine because they’re fun, and most importantly, are fairly easy to teach from a distance.

Jazz Lullaby

by Amanda Whiting 

This little melody is sweet and will keep students engaged with its jazzy harmonies. Its sparse melody, easy rhythms, and whole-note chords the whole way through in left hand makes it a great teach-from-home piece.

Soaring Strings

by Kathryn Cater 

This collection has nine fun, short solos that are all bird-themed! It’s really great if you are needing to get your students motivated to practice. “Black Bird Boogie,” “Flying South,” “Little Red Hen” (a fun piece using enharmonics), and “Seagull” are my personal favorites.

The Merry Brook

by Frances Miller

Like the name of this piece suggests, this piece is very merry! The happy melody is great for students working on crossing over and triplet figures. Since the triplet figures are pretty consistent throughout, once they learn the pattern, it is smooth sailing from there.

Happy Birthday

arr. Liana Alpino

During quarantine, my student wanted to be able to play “Happy Birthday” for her grandpa’s 80th birthday over Facetime. This inspired me to put my arrangements (advanced beginner and intermediate) on Harp Column Music so that harpists everywhere could bring joy to those stuck inside on their birthdays. What a fun way to connect with people and a fun piece for students to learn right now! Since it’s a melody everyone knows, it also makes it easier to teach virtually!

Petite Berceuse

by Alphonse Hasselmans/arr. Rowe

I love this short piece by Hasselmans because it is always a student favorite. The melody is very laid-back, yet peppy at the same. It is a great piece to work on dynamics and left hand cross-overs.

Petty Larcenies, vol. 1

by Joyce Rice

The thing I love most about this collection is that there are great fingerings already put in for every piece! Fingering can make teaching virtually so much harder—but not with these! The pieces are also really fun—and mimic classic melodies—like “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “Fur Elise,” “Greensleeves,” etc. I love “The Spider Ballet” at the end of the book—it is a great piece for beginners learning harmonics.

Grand 1894 Opera House Waltz

by Louise Trotter

Waltzes are always fun to play! Plus, this one has two glissandos—my students are always so excited about playing glissandos! This sweet little melody comes in lever harp solo, lap harp solo, plus parts for a second harp or flute accompaniment.

Dancing Clouds

by Joy Slavens

Another fun solo with lots of glissandos at the beginning and ending! I love that the fingering is well marked for the student, so you really won’t need your student to make any of their own markings. As Joy states, “it’s a happy, joyful, little tune!”

Pick and Mix 1—Warm Exercises for All Harpists

by Eira Lynn Jones

Lastly, if your students aren’t already working on exercises, or it’s become secondary with the everyday craziness of life, this is a great time to work them back into your student’s routine! These exercises are all short (one line)—which means students can (hopefully) “pass” each one quickly. I know my students are always motivated when they can collect stickers!

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