Q + A
1. Where can I learn
to take lessons from you?
Lessons are given at my studio (close to downtown Denver) and Swallow
Hill Music School at 71 E. Yale, or Skype.
2. I dont have
a harp! Where do I get a harp?
You can rent a harp from Kolancy Music, 1900 South Broadway in Denver.
David is the harp communities saving grace to help us with all of
our harp needs. Harps can be rental for as little as $20 a month and
as the amount accumulates, can be applied to purchasing a harp.
Call David for a harp: 303-722-6081.
3. I dont read
music - Can I still learn to play?
Yes! We will learn the first few songs by ear and use harp tablature
as a back up writing system to remember the song patterns. This allows
us to focus on developing good hand technique - the most important
aspect of harping. You can use your phone to record your lesson and
song, and play it back during practice. You dont have to read
music to play music!
4. I am a singer. Can
I learn to sing while I play the harp?
Absolutely! Singing will also help you learn to tune.
5. Do you teach adults
Yes, adults and children! I have taught children as young as 5 years
old and adults in their 80's!
6. I would like to play
a large pedal harp - can you help me with that?
Yes! For beginners, you can learn a lot on a Celtic style harp before
you go on to a pedal harp. Many people who want to play pedal harp
start lessons on a Lyon and Healy Troubadour or Ogden harp which has
the same string tension as a pedal harp. After you reach a certain
point in lessons, getting past the basics, I would refer you to a
pedal harp teacher.
7. What if I need to
cancel a lesson?
You can email me (email@example.com), or call Swallow Hill Music
School 303-777-1003, or the studio at 303-831-1744 to cancel. The
money you have paid for the lesson will be carried over to the next
lesson, unless its less than a 24 hour notice.
8. How do I pay you
You can pay with cash, check, credit card or Paypal. Payment is made
at the first of every month, or at the time of each lesson.
9. How long are lessons?
Lessons are ½ hour, 45 minutes or 1 hour, every week or every
other week. If you are a beginner, I suggest 2 months lessons every
week for ½ hour.
10. How long am I suppose
In the beginning its best to practice 10 minutes once or twice a every
day. A commitment to regular practice insures students will be delighted
at the progress they make, which is great motivation for continuing
11. Do I have to go
Recitals only happen if there are several students who agree they
would like to get together to share songs and play for each other.
Recitals are not required.
12. Can I learn the
songs I like? I am an adult. Do I have to play Twinkle Twinkle Little
Star and Go Tell Aunt Roady type songs?
All students start with easy songs they like. I have used some of
these songs for beginners: Ode to Joy, 3 Little Birds (Bob Marley),
Falling Slowly (Hansard + Irglova), Scarbourgh Fair, Greensleeves,
Edelweiss, And I Love Her, 1000 years (Katy Perry). In Dreams (Lord
of the Rings), Siamese Cat song, My Favorite Things to name a few
13. What things will
I learn in a lesson?
My basic process for teaching lessons are: All students learn basic
finger patterns (neighbor note patterns, every other patterns and
mixed note patterns), learn how to play music conversations improvisations,
tuning the harp, levers, hand and sitting position, harp tablature
(for non-note readers), placing and brackets (for note readers), music
notation, how to change keys using levers, 2 hand coordination, and
Bring your harp for the first lesson, for sitting position guides
for your size harp. After that, you can use the harp at the school
or one of mine in the studio.
14. How long have you
I started teaching 25 years ago when a friend of mine got a small
harp and wanted to learn how to play. I showed him the basics and
students have been coming to me ever since that day.
15. What is your musical
When I first found my harp (yes, found! At a local thrift store -
a large Venezuelan style harp), I went to visit Helen Hope, harpist
for the Colorado Symphony. She wasnt teaching any more but showed
me a few things. I studied with pedal harp teacher, Diana Carney,
medieval harper, Therese Schroeder-Sheker and Celtic harper, Laurie
Riley. All taught me different aspects of playing the harp. Because
I played guitar before, wrote songs and found a freedom in improvisation,
I went on to create my own style. After 10 years of playing by ear,
I took up the challenge to read notation after developing a system
of learning to see a logical big picture of note patterns rather than
reading one note at a time.
After hearing the same
questions from students for so long, I put a book together called,
Celtic Harp Tips. To order - click
on Contact/Order Form
These tips include:
Buying a harp - Tuning
the harp - Practicing - Fingering and Placing -Two hand Coordination
- Note Reading tips - Memorizing - Imagination - Performance Skills
- Avoiding Injury - Strings - Harp Care - Levers - Right vs Left Hand
- Tips from Other Harp Students - Kolacny Music Store comments - Resources