Frequently asked questions about harp lessons

Q:  Do I need to buy a harp before I start lessons?
A: No, it's best to rent a harp first so that you can discover more about your own preferences and comfort.  Some harps are too small to both balance and play comfortably; some may feel too large, and after a few lessons, you will definitely be able to find out for yourself what harp feels "Just Right!!" 

Q: Can I rent a harp in this area?
A: You can rent a harp in Northern California from Jessie Siegel at Harps Etc. in Walnut Creek:  the link to her store is on my Harps Link page.

Q: What age is it best to start harp lessons?
A:  Every student is different.  I usually wait until a child is six years old.  Some younger children may be ready, and some older children may not be ready.  Listen to what they want.  If they dream of playing the harp, help them follow their dreams, no matter how old or how young.

Q: I'm an older adult and I've always dreamed of playing the harp.  Is it too late for me?
A: Not at all!!  You can begin the harp at any age.  I have many students who began as adults and have gone on to play professionally.

Q: Will the strings hurt my fingers?
A: Not usually, although you will form calluses in time.  If you get a blister, it may be a little sore.

Q: I'm self-taught and my hands hurt.  Can you help me?
A: Absolutely.  I can usually rectify any problems you might be having with your hands very quickly.

Q: I have arthritis, but I want to play the harp.  Is there any hope for me playing?
A: Absolutely!!  Harp playing is very good for arthritis.  It will help with mobility and over time you will be able to use your hands much more effectively than you can now.  I have had students in their sixties with very bad arthritis who were able to increase their range of motion as well as their speed and coordination. 

Q: I'm experienced with the harp, but I can't get any faster.  Can you help me?
A: Certainly.  Most of the time, speed has to do with finger action, and proper use of muscles.  If you are determined, I can show you how to speed up through correct finger action and muscle use.  This does not take very long.

Q: I'm experienced, but I can't learn my pieces the way I want to and they sound choppy.  What's going on?
A: This is probably a fingering issue.  Come in for a free lesson and I will show you some fingering techniques that ought to help.

Q: How long does it take to get good at the harp?
A: It varies, depending on how much time you have to practice, and how determined you are. Assume that you will know a lot about what the future holds for you with the harp after you have had about six months of lessons. If you want to play well in public, it can take from two to five years, and to be an orchestral harpist will usually take ten years.

Q: Is there any way to get better faster?
A: Oh yes, definitely!! If you want to get better faster, learn to read music really well.  
The bottom line is this: the better you read, the better you will play.
Also it helps to separate your learning tasks so you practice hand technique separately from practicing note reading, and practice rhythm separately from practicing fingering.

If you have another question, please feel free to email me, and I will do my best to answer you.  If you're not in the area, look on my Harp Links tab and you will be able to find a harp teacher near you.  Best wishes, all, and Happy Harping!!
Moira Greyland