Harp Lessons with Jane

So you want to play the harp!

Jane Valencia performing the Kalevala - photo by Barry McWilliams
Jane Valencia performing “Aino and the Queen of the Lake” from the Kalevala – photo by Barry McWilliams

Congratulations! The journey with the harp is one of musical magic, joy, discovery, and, yes, during the learning process – times of challenge. All experiences are held in the journey, and I do my best to keep you inspired and to (keep) open the path to simplicity, ease, and fun in your playing of this beautiful instrument.

I’m often asked:

How long does it take to learn to play the harp?

The answer is: You can make beautiful music right away – and – it can take years to feel, if not masterful at the harp, at least satisfied with your ability to play what you want to play. That said, so much depends on not just your devotion to the path, but on your ability to relax and have fun with the music you are able to play now. A good portion of what we do together is removing any shoulds and judgments from the equation, and just enjoying being a partner with your harp in making music. That’s really the point, isn’t it?

The harp has the ability to cast a spell. I mean that in the most wholesome, enlivening sense. The resonance of its strings, the beauty of its form, the  elemental heart of its nature (tree, air, imaginative  fire), and its ancient legacy all combine to create a field of magic around you that is healing, restful, and speaks for you—if you will only open to the possibility.

In our lessons we work with that doorway as well as with cultivating technique and tending to the music with which we’re working. We also notice body and breath. How is your body responding? Are you breathing through the music, and the harp? Where is tension building and how might you release it? If you wish your journey with the harp to be both wondrous in expression and grounded in the essentials, I’d be honored to guide you!

Harp lessons with me are for you if:

  • You are open to adventure: You’re willing to keep an open mind and heart regarding  that which we work and our approach
  • You’re willing to enjoy the music you make right now, whatever your level of experience
  • You have at least 20 minutes, 3 days a week to devote to harp playing, and you’re willing to figure out a rhythm that works in your life for doing so.
  • You’re excited by the possibility that your harp can be a nourishing and fun companion — even a ‘soul friend’ to you on your life journey

You probably need to find another teacher if:

  • You can’t keep a consistent schedule and often need to cancel
  • You seek technical perfection. Period.
  • You have no patience with visualization, meditative practices, or whole body exercises to facilitate your harp playing. As for humor and fun? That feels like a distraction to you.
  • You’re convinced that there’s only one correct way to play a particular style of music

I’ve been performing and teaching the harp since 1988. To pique your idea of what is possible for you, and to show you some of which I’m drawing from to support you, here are some of the ways I’ve used the harp or worked deeply with music:

  • performance with bardic harp, story, and song. I have performed solo, duo, and in ensembles of numerous sizes and configurations, from early music to multi-level world-to-pop music groups.
  • I play in Celtic music sessions, for meditations, bedsides, healing sessions, and have performed for dancers, choirs, and community celebrations.
  • I’m honored to have played/sung for or have had my music included in all manner of life cycle events: births, rites of passage, weddings, transitions, deaths, and memorial celebrations.
  • I use harp in my energy healing practice, as well as song and poetic word
  • I share music and story with children in my work as a nature educator and when I taught at a preschool, and elsewhere.
  • I served for a number of years as co-director of the Vashon Threshold Choir, a group of women who sing at the bedside and for those who are dying, and continue to sing and serve with this group
  • arranged music for and directed the Harpers Hall Ensemble
  • have written a number of articles for the International Society of Folk Harpers & Craftsmen’s Folk Harp Journal and other harp publications
  • hosted and produced Forest Halls Celtic, a radio show that regularly featured Celtic harp music

Have more questions or ready to sign up for lessons? Please contact me here.