What inspires people to want to play the harp?
Reasons vary, from being mesmerized by Harpo Marx playing the harp in a old Marx Brothers movie, attending Renaissance fairs or Irish music festivals, classical music concerts, hearing recordings, to being drawn to the harp’s beautiful look and sound. Susan’s mother was professional New York City harpist, Ruth Kelly. She grew up surrounded by harp playing and always wanted to play it.
At what age do most students start taking harp lesson?
Students begin at almost any age. In fact, you are never too old to start learning the harp! Many adults begin when they finally have the time to pursue it. The ideal age for young students is 4th or 5th grade. A background in piano is ideal, although not required. Older students, especially those who have played other instruments, can often make rapid progress in their harp studies. Susan studied piano for four years before starting harp lessons with Lucien Thomson in 5th grade. Today, she includes his best selling beginner course in her curriculum.
Is learning the harp similar to learning the piano?
In many ways, Yes! Like the piano, harpists play music in two clefs, the treble and bass clefs, and have a note range similar to the piano. Harp music looks like piano music. However, harpists do not use their pinky fingers. We are limited to 8 fingers not 10. We don’t have to worry about the key signature of a piece. We set the sharps and flats in advance and only have to be concerned with the changes. Playing the piano or other instrument as well as the harp is encouraged.
What do I need to get started?
The most important thing you need is a commitment to learning to play the harp. Generally 20-30 minutes a day is required for beginners and 60 minutes a day for more advanced players. You will need a harp to practice on and approximately 6 square feet of space in a temperature controlled room to practice and store the harp.
Are harp lessons expensive?
The price for a one-hour private lesson is generally more expensive than piano or violin lessons. The Long Island Harp Studio offers an exclusive “Introduction to the Harp” 4-month program. It is designed to be a cost effective way to discover if harp lessons are right for you. Susan Mann will assist you in finding a harp to rent for the 4 month period. Then, Long Island Harp Studio will provide everything else you need, just find a good chair and music stand. After that, your total expenses will depend upon the cost of a harp rental or purchase, strings, music and lessons. Many companies have very reasonable rent to own harp programs. Music prices are similar to other instruments. In some cases music will be loaned to students. String cost can vary depending on keeping the harp in a stable environment and playing it properly.
Will my son or daughter get to play with an orchestra?
That depends upon how fast they progress with their studies and the support they receive from their school’s orchestra teacher. Susan Mann is happy to work with the local orchestra teacher to modify or write a harp part so your child can participate. Harpists usually attend only one or two rehearsals a week. As a long time Long Island harpist, Susan Mann has professional relationships with most of the orchestra directors of the Youth Orchestras on Long Island.
What is your approach to teaching the harp?
A multi-faceted approach works best—there is no one size fits all program. Lessons should be fun and hopefully a highlight of the student’s week. However, a good technique and practicing is essential if one wants to progress and this will be emphasized. Susan says “I love the harp and I want you to love it too!”