Learning the Harp

There has never been a better time to learn to play the harp. The number of teachers is growing as is the amount of harp music and the number of harp societies and harp festivals.

Is the harp difficult to learn to play? No, the harp can be approached like any other instrument. Once you learn the hand positions for correct and comfortable playing you become more skilled with practice. In fact, unlike some instruments, the harp makes a beautiful sound from the very first steps of learning to play. The easiest of tunes sound lovely. So, it’s a great pleasure for all who hear it!

What age can children start learning the harp?

Depending on the child, some can start as young as 5 or 6. They can learn the basics of music through learning to play the harp. If the teacher is happy to teach young children, they can start on the harp as soon as they can manage to hold the instrument.

Can Adults learn the Harp?

Absolutely! If you can play another instrument, you may find it relatively easy to learn the harp. Adults tend to be self-motivated and keen when it comes to practice whereas children need more encouragement (and sometimes bribery!) If you don’t play another instrument, you can still learn the harp. It may be a little slower, but the satisfaction and sense of achievement is great!

I need a harp

There are several options when it comes to finding a harp. As a beginner it may be best to hire a harp. You can then take your time about deciding what type of harp(and there are many) is best for you. Also, it is initially a smaller financial outlay than buying a harp.

You may decide to buy a harp. It is best to seek advice on this – from your teacher or from a harpist. Depending on the size of the harp, the decoration and the quality, the price of new harps can vary enormously – a bit like cars: from a 2-door hatchback all the way up to a Ferrari! So do consider your options very carefully.

A secondhand harp is one option – harps always keep their value (as long as they are carefully looked after) and with a secondhand harp you know what sort of sound you are getting. We have an extensive list of secondhand harps on our Harps for Sale page.

You can always e-mail us for more advice on hiring or buying a harp at info@affairsoftheharp.com.

What are the different types of harps?

The Pedal Harp has 7 pedals around the base of the instrument and these are used to raise or lower each string by a semitone or half-note. If you think of the strings as the white notes of the piano then the pedals make the black notes. You can literally change key with your feet as you are playing the harp. Pedal harps come in various sizes depending on the number of strings-from 41 strings up to the Concert Grand Harp which has 47 strings.

The Non-pedal harp, also called the lever harp, the Celtic harp or the Clarsach is smaller and much more portable and can have between 20 and 40 strings. The sharps and flats or semitones are made with small levers at the top of the harp. These are ideal, because of their size and relatively light weight, for children starting to learn the harp and for adults too. They are used by professionals to play a wide and wonderfully diverse range of celtic and classical harp music.

Where do I find a Harp Teacher?

We have an extensive list of harp teachers throughout the country so if you fill out the online form on Need a Teacher and we will do our best to find a teacher in your area or as near to it as possible.
Other Enquiries?

Just e-mail us at info@affairsoftheharp.com and we’ll assist you with any other questions that you may have about the harp.