Harp Lesson: Frequently Asked & Answers

Thinking to Get Started:
I am a beginner, no experience, is that ok?
Do you teach adult students?
Is the harp difficult to learn?

About the Lessons, Choosing Your Teacher:
What do your lessons focus on, and what does your studio offer to its students?
What is your perspective on teaching, and what form of experience will your students gain?

How to Get Started:
How often do people take lessons?
How is the lesson schedule divided?
Do I need to buy a harp right away in order to take lessons?
Do you rent harps?
Are harps expensive to buy/rent?

About the Harp:
What is different between a Celtic lever harp and a Concert pedal harp?
What kind of music will I learn?
I am a beginner, when will I be able to play Amazing Grace, or Clair de lune?

What do I need to do to prepare for my first lesson?
Are piano lessons required as a prerequisite?
Will I be required to bring my own harp to lessons?
Are parents of young students welcome to sit in on lessons?

Location & Fee:
Where do I take my private harp lessons, and who studies there?
What are the lesson duration and lesson fees?


Q: I am a beginner, no experience with music, is that ok?
Most certainly! The most important thing is not how much you bring to your lessons, but rather how much you are able to gain from them. If you have the heart to learn, I have the heart to share what I have discovered along my own harp journey.


Q: Do you teach adult students?
Yes. In fact, half of my students have been beginning adult students. Every student comes with their own unique set of aspirations, and it is my pleasure to help guide them whether it is to realize a new goal, or is to re-visit a previous interest. I believe music lessons are for everyone, and the joy of learning should have no boundary!


Q. What does your music lesson focus on and what does your studio offer?
Lessons are in one-on-one format, and they will focus on technique, music-reading skills, rhythm, repertoire, music history and creativity. More advanced students will learn about performing skills, ensemble skills, sound projection, musicianship, sight-reading, theory and arranging skills.

Studio is equipped with an extensive harp library which is available and encouraged to be used by students. It consists of large amount of teaching materials including sheet music, books about harps, harp history, musician's health and interests, classical music and composers, music dictionaries, videos, DVD's, and over 250 selected recordings (including rare LP's). Students are encouraged to broaden their horizons by listening to recordings, researching online, attending live concerts, and exploring art forms of all kinds as part of their studies.

Performance Opportunities: There is an annual Recital to give interested students opportunities to perform in front of an audience, connect to and learn from their fellow-students. Although participation is not compulsory, all students are encouraged to perform in the recitals, and everyone is welcome to attend. Students who participated or attended in the past all found the experience to be rewarding and inspiring.

Additional Options: studio provides the options of Harp Sinfonia and Harp Circle for which students can choose to participate according to their interests.

Workshops and masterclasses by respected artists, as well as harp maintenance classes are periodically arranged accordingly to broaden horizons of interested students from beginning to advanced levels.

Exam Preparation for Royal Conservatory of Music Exams, auditions, music festivals and competitions is available.

Read: Testimonials / Studio News / Videos / More Videos
Read: Harp Sinfonia / Harp Circle

Q. What is your perspective as a harp teacher, and what form of experience will your students gain?
I am dedicated to ensuring that each of my students develope a Healthy, Artistic, Recreational, and Positive experience (H.A.R.P.) to enrich their personal lives.

I believe that the journey of learning the harp can also be a valuable metaphor for ones journey through life; in setting goals, learning new skills, meeting challenges, finding solutions, building self confidence, and taking joy in the satisfaction of accomplishing ones aims.

"To teach, is to touch a life forever."

As a harp teacher, it has been especially rewarding for me to observe beginning students who come to their first class with trepidation gradually shed their cocoon and emerge on vibrant wings of song

Read: Benefits of Playing the Harp & Music Lessons

Read: Why Play the Harp


Q: Is the harp very difficult to learn?
This depends equally on the individuals approach and dedication to the task.The harp has survived thousands of years because people love to play it! While it is true the harp takes effort to master, its beauty is accessible from the start. Even 'simple' pieces sound lovely and carry an eloquence that can often transcend ones initial aptitude.

The key to musical success is careful instruction from the beginning and a commitment by the student to practice regularly, even if only for 15 to 25 minutes for the beginning stage, 4-6 days a week. A steady lesson schedule is important to ensure that you learn proper hand position, a solid but relaxed technique, fluent reading skills, and an effective practise method ----- for these all work together to enable your music to grow.

Your commitment is matched by my attention to your goals - to perform, to entertain friends and family, or simply for your own delight!


Q: How often do people take harp lessons?
Most students feel they benefit the best from weekly lessons to maximize personal progress. However, for those with a busy schedule, bi-weekly lessons are another option to explore.

Beginning students can choose to start with 45-minute lessons, although most choose to graduate to a full hour weekly as they progress. 30-minute lessons are suitable for younger beginning students under the age of 9.

In the past, individual dedicated students have requested 2 lessons per week as intensive summer studies to maximize progress. Please discuss with me your special needs and goals.


Q: How is your teaching schedule divided?
I attempt to be as flexible as possible with my students by making myself available for both weekend and weekday, daytime or evening appointments.

I understand that my students' prior commitments and unforeseen events may occasionally cause scheduling conflicts. Rescheduling an appointment for the same week is also available with prior 24-hour notice.


Q: Do I need to buy a harp right away in order to take lessons?
I suggest my students to, and most of them do, rent a lever harp for the first few months of lessons prior to investing in an instrument of their own.

When deciding to purchase an instrument, there are many aspects to consider, and I am happy to accompany and assist my students so they benefit from my own experience.


Q: Do you rent harps?
Yes. A quality rental harp can be arranged for your needs.


Q: Are harps expensive to buy/rent?
Harps are individually produced instruments, often on a by-order basis and with much hand-crafting involved. However, new technology has lowered the price for good beginner instruments in recent years. Prices widely range from several hundred to several thousand dollars for a solid instrument. The final cost greatly depends on the individual and their needs.

Many students choose to rent a harp for the first several months of lessons while they develop a familiarity for the harp. Rental rates are generally $85 - $120 per month for a Celtic lever harp.


Q: What is different between a Celtic lever harp and a Concert pedal harp?
In general, lever harps are smaller in size and are operated by manually flipping the levers to change the pitch of the keys. Lever harps are wonderful for playing Celtic, some classical, Hymn, and generally music that does not require frequent key changes. Concert harps are larger in size and are equipped with seven foot pedals to change the keys more conveniently. This type of harp is found in orchestras, and can be used to play most types of music. Most beginning students start on the lever harps.

For pictures and more information about harps: Harps


Q: What kind of music do I learn?
I enjoy teaching my students a variety of repertoire, including Classical, Celtic, folk, early and contemporary music. I do believe that having a Classical background is important for developing the solid foundation and discipline required to excel in all genres.

Students are encouraged to discuss with me the repertoire they are interested in learning so that we may work together to achieve their goals.


Q: I am a beginner, when can I play Amazing Grace, or Clair de lune?
This largely depends on the individual student. With consistent lessons and dedicated practice, most of my students after the first few months of lessons, including those who did not have any music background, have been able to read music fluently, play satisfying tunes and even perform for friends and relatives!


Q: Are piano lessons required as a prerequisite for learning the harp?
While a background in piano can be helpful, especially with reading skills, understanding music theory and in developing an acoustic sensitivity, I don't agree that it is a ‘prerequisite’ for learning the harp, or any other instrument.

However, advanced students who plan to pursue professional studies for a music degree, will be encouraged to take up a secondary instrument and consider piano lessons to broaden their musical senses.


Q: Are parents of young students welcome to sit in on lessons?
Parents are most welcome to observe the lessons quietly and also to practise with their child at home. They may choose to bring a book or their laptop while waiting.

Shall parents choose to drop off the students, there are coffee shops, grocery stores, book stores, a park and shopping area only steps away for your convenience.


Q: Where do I take my private harp lessons, and who studies there?

Markham: Woodbine and Hwy 7 area.

My private studio is located in the theatre district of downtown Toronto ----- minutes outside major highway exits, one block from St Andrew subway stop, and close to major streetcar routes. For students coming from longer distance, I attempt to be as flexible as possible to accommodate students' schedules and needs.

Parking: FREE secure parking available for student's convenience.


Who Studies here?
Students of all ages have come regularly from different areas of GTA, including Oshawa, Ajax, Whitby, North York, Scarborough, Toronto Eastend, Toronto downtown, Westend, Etobicoke, Mississauga, Oakville, Brampton, Thornhill, Richmond Hill, Woodbridge, Maple, Aurora, Stouffville, Markham, Belleville, Napanee, Kingston and Ottawa. Visiting students have come from Waterloo, Calgary, Singapore, Japan, England, and France.


Q: What do I need to do to prepare for my first harp lesson?
Clip your finger nails to the shortest you can. Bring a manuscript notebook for me to write in. Come with a pair of clean hands, and a positive spirit!


Q: Will I be required to bring my own harp to lessons?
Not at all. Students are able to learn on either my lever or pedal harps.


Q: What are the lesson duration and lesson fees?
Students can choose from:

45-minutes - $50
60-minutes - $60

For students below the age of 9, they can consider:
30-minutes - $30

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