FAQ: Harp Lessons
What can I expect at my first harp lesson?
If you have never played the harp before, I will show you some basics to get you started, including the names of the notes, proper hand and body position, and several fun effects that you can show off for your family and friends. During the first lesson we will also discuss what you would like to accomplish so that I can do my best to help you attain your personal and musical goals. You do not need to own or rent a harp before the first lesson. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about renting a harp and to discuss various options with you during our initial meeting.
What opportunities are available for students?
All students (including adults) are encouraged but not required to participate in our annual Spring Studio Recital. Throughout the year, there are often opportunities to attend concerts, workshops, & masterclasses locally, play with ensembles, or volunteer for community outreach events. Some of my students are also involved with their school orchestra or community youth orchestra, and I sometimes refer advanced students for paying gigs if they are interested in receiving more performance experience.
In addition, I offer ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) exam preparation in both harp and music theory. The ABRSM exams follow an internationally recognized syllabus which is used to evaluate music students all over the world. Students are individually assessed and graded by an examiner, who provides constructive feedback on their playing as well as suggestions for improvement. I hold an FRSM (Fellow of the Royal Schools of Music) diploma with distinction and am qualified to prepare students for Grades 1-8 as well as the three performance diploma levels.
What's the difference between a folk/lever harp and a concert/pedal harp?
Folk harps are small and light, typically with 28-38 strings. Each string has an individual lever that raises the pitch. They are often heard in traditional music; however, a wide range of tunes can be played on these harps. Concert harps are much larger and heavier. These harps are the ones you see in an orchestra. They have 40-47 strings and seven pedals which raise and lower the pitch of each set of strings. Much of the classical and pop/jazz repertoire is better suited to the concert harp than the folk harp, though folk harps are ideal for the beginning and intermediate student.
Do you teach both folk harp and concert harp?
Yes. Most of my beginning students start out on folk harps, then choose to progress to a concert harp once they have advanced and are committed to a high level of study. For the beginner, I highly recommend renting a folk harp since it is very affordable and doesn't require a long-term commitment.
Where can I rent a harp?
There are a variety of music stores that offer folk harps for rent in Southern California. I can provide a list for you at the first lesson.
Will I need to take my harp to lessons?
No. I have a folk harp and a concert harp available for students to play on during lessons.
Where and when do you teach?
I teach out of my home studio in Altadena (East Los Angeles/San Gabriel Valley). I do not travel to students' homes for lessons. Since my teaching schedule is often subject to change and I usually have a full studio during the school year, please contact me directly to inquire about available openings. If no lesson times are currently available, you are welcome to sign up for my waiting list and I will contact you as soon as I have an available time.
How much do lessons cost?
$40 for 30 minutes, $60 for 45 minutes, or $80 for a full hour. For very young children, I recommend a 30 minute lesson each week. For older kids, teens, and adults, I recommend either a 45 or 60 minute lessons depending on the student's goals, needs, and abilities.
Do I need to know how to read music or play the piano/another instrument before beginning harp lessons?
No, you just need to be willing to learn and practice. Learning to read music and learning how to play a musical instrument both require patience and perseverance. I often remind my students when they are just starting a new piece and finding it challenging that anything is hard if you've never done it before (even for me, after over 20 years of playing!). Keeping an open mind, a positive perspective, trying your best, and working hard are key to mastering something new.
I've already played the piano/violin/flugelhorn/kazoo/etc. for years - do I really need a teacher to learn a second instrument?
One of the benefits of working with a teacher vs. learning on your own is that a good music teacher can help guide you towards repertoire that is appropriate for your current level, while also helping you work towards your long-term interests and goals. Sometimes students want to tackle everything all at once, and this can be a recipe for burnout and feeling that "I'm not good enough," "I'll never improve," or "I should just quit" when really, you just need someone to help you break things down into smaller, more manageable parts. Taking regular lessons allows you to learn step-by-step in a progressive, logical sequence so that you can feel confident in your abilities and consistently improve week to week.