Play The Harp!

What’s not to love about the harp? It has a heart-of-the-world legacy — the first harp was probably an archer’s bow. With the harp’s ringing strings, the ancient bards sent warriors to battle. With the harp’s lilting melody, bards also offered comfort, joy, and gentle rest to their people (still offered by harpers to this day!).

Harp and Cranes
Harp overlooking the water – photo by Jane Valencia

Angels play it.  The Harp Twins play it too, whipping out some mean versions of “Stairway To Heaven” and snappy “Star Wars” themes.

And what about you?

Maybe you don’t think you’re musical. Maybe you think you’re too old. Maybe you think you don’t have time … or that you have too many projects, maybe even too many instruments, (as I thought 27 years ago, when I longed to play the harp … but didn’t think I should).

I have a secret to share with you.

You are right in believing that the harp is a magical instrument. It absolutely is. Here are a few reasons.

  • with all those in-tune strings, harmonics (they’re kinda like hidden notes within the string that’s played) resonate around you: you’re pretty much soaked in a healing sound and good cheer
  • the harp is a tree–or just about as close to a tree as an instrument can get. It holds all the mythic nature of a tree. You might even fancy that it’s in tune with the Elements: Air (music and sounding strings), the Water nature of melodies and glissandi, Earth (connecting us to the ground of who we are), and the life and Fire of inspiration.
  • Okay, all fanciful stuff aside – the harp is beautiful to look at, and sounds beautiful — even if you don’t know what you’re doing on it!

That last point is a clincher in my book. Find a harp. Pluck a string.

What a gorgeous sound!

Pluck two at the same time. Or three.

Ahhh!  Truly beautiful.

This is not like taking up the violin (an instrument I dearly love, by the way) with which you sound like yowling cats for the first six- or more months.

With the harp, you can make a beautiful sound from Day 1, just plucking two strings.

You can have a deep and satisfying relationship with a harp, just by “noodling” on it (playing whatever notes come to your fingers). I actually insist that all my students noodle–that is, improvise–on their harps. Improvisation follows forms (which I will show you) that help you arrange your own music, and even more importantly, help you discover your own unique music with your harp.

And of course, if you want to delve into music-making — learning how to play tunes, arranging and even composing your own pieces — you’ll want to learn the most efficient ways to play. The building blocks for and easy execution of chord patterns and melody and more.

I’m here to help you! By Skype or in-person, I love helping kids, teens, adults, and seniors to adventure with the harp. Some folks want to play their favorite pop songs on the harp, some want to sing with the harp, some want to jam with friends, play at the Scottish highland games, play to heal others or to soothe their own souls. Some want to compose their own music. Whatever your intention, I’m here to help you discover your own magic with the harp, and guide you deep into it by the most direct route I possibly can. With 27 years of teaching harp to folks of all ages and all levels — as well as a decade+ of other kinds of teaching — I have a lot of techniques and tools in my harp “medicine” bag. Some of them will be just right for you!

Harp lessons with me may be right for you if one or more below is true for you:

  • You love the sound of the harp but aren’t sure that you can ever possibly learn to play it.
  • You have a harp and have had lessons, but haven’t played for awhile. You feel stuck in your learning of and relationship with the harp. You may feel that you’ve forgotten almost everything that you’ve learned. You feel guilty whenever you look at your harp.
  • You play the harp already and want to discover or deepen your musical style and horizons with this incredible instrument.
  • You long to tell stories with the harp
  • You yearn to play the ancient wire-strung harp, which you heard is difficult, or you want to further your journey with this wondrous instrument
  • You want to develop or expand your healing harp skills
  • You plain and simple just want to play the harp!
Timeless Harp Girl
Enter the timeless realm when you play the harp!. Photo art by Jane Valencia

Imagine playing music that is beautiful to your ear and to your spirit, and that is satisfying and fun. Imagine playing music that you most enjoy. The magic of the harp is indeed possible for you!

Contact me to find out more about the harp, lessons, or anything related to the harp. I answer each and every query I receive. Blessings on your harp journey!


P. S. I teach nylon- and wire-strung harps, all levels, all ages. Fundamentals and advanced techniques, therapeutic harp skills, improvisation, arranging, composition, storytelling, and more. Just ask!


2 Replies to “Play The Harp!”

  1. When my son was 5 years old he longed to play the harp. But I had no idea how to begin, or whether a child could play. (He ended up with recorders and then the clarinet so his attraction to music was not wasted, I’m glad to say) I’m delighted that you are teaching kids as well as grownups. The harp is such a beautiful instrument.
    By the way, I heard a radio programme that said harpists have a reputation for longevity, not just long lives from healthy ones. No matter, with those beautiful vibrations passing through the body!

  2. Hi Juliet,

    Ah, recorders and clarinet are wonderful! I’ve played both. And, I too have heard that harpists have a reputation for longevity. And that oboists have a reputation of living the shortest of any other instrument player. As a teen and young adult I was a passionate oboist, and when I first heard about the short years for oboists, I totally agreed that this could be possible! I later joked that I took up harp to counteract the effects of my oboe-intense years. Anyway, I’m certain that the resonance of the harp — all those strings when they’re in tune 🙂 — are an incredible sound massage, and yes — great for my health and well-being!

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