Ever since a classmate of mine learned how to play the harp in the third grade, I’ve been wanting to do the same. Now, I’m finally plucking the strings of my own harp, and I’m having a great time!
My “Sharpsicle” folk harp is just what I sought for learning harp-playing techniques. I’m starting with Sylvia Woods’ music for beginning harpers, adding tunes like “Country Gardens,” “All Through the Night” and “Greensleeves” to my nightly practice sessions. Gradually, Christmas carols will make their way into my repertoire so I’ll be ready for the holidays. And how can I resist that book of 76 Disney songs for the harp that I saw at Stanton’s Sheet Music the other day?
I’m also finding that I can successfully pluck out a melody on my harp using sheet music for piano. So soon, I’m hoping to add patriotic selections from Sousa, some of my favorite Strauss waltz melodies that I’ve been humming since my first visit to Vienna in 1979, and Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer,” the featured tune on the music box with the twirling ballerina on top that my Grandpa Victor gave me long ago.
Harps are quickly becoming my new thing. During my commute, I’m listening to library CDs like Echoes of a Waterfall: Romantic Harp Music of the 19th Century and The Enchanted Isles: Harp Music of Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. I’m hoping to add some harp-themed jewelry and notecards to my collection. I’m finding out what museums own historic harps, such as those at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. I’m looking forward to the next Early Interval concert during which Ron Cook will play his neat reproduction medieval and Renaissance harps. And I’m making some great discoveries while researching organizations for harpists and harpers, such as the Historical Harp Society.
After some lessons and a lot more practice, I’m hoping to share my harp with others through a local music therapy program for the sick and the elderly. Stay tuned to hear how the novice harper is progressing!