Thursday, 21 May 2015

Electro-magnetic harp

Folie a Deux is a very exciting new opera for lever harp, electro-magnetic harp, and 2 vocalists by Emily Hall and Sjón by the Mahogany Opera Group.

It's been on tour and will be performed in London at the Spitalfields Festival 6th and 7th of June. details here

So what's an electro-magnetic harp?

It's designed and built by David Sheppard and Jonathan Green, and I'm very much hoping that we will be able to get an article in the forthcoming UKHA Harp magazine about this exciting project!

Am I too old to learn?

Over the years I have taught lots of adults who are learning a musical instrument for the first time and I always get asked,

"I've always wanted to play the harp, am I too old?"

The answer is NO.
The harp is a brilliant instrument to learn for many reasons, not least being that you can make a pleasant sound from the first lesson. Being able to flip some levers and get "hollywood" glisses by the end of a first lesson is pretty amazing.

It's good for you.
It's excellent for improving your co-ordination, a great "brain trainer" and that's without even going into the "therapeutic" healing effects from the vibrations coming from the sound board. 

I'll never forget the time during a school workshop when a deaf girl came up to the front and hugged my harp with her hands flat on the soundboard and her cheek against the side of my harp. The look of joy on her face when she suddenly felt the vibration as I started to play was beautiful.

I've taught people who have had all sorts of long standing health issues, and it's possible to adapt your playing style so that you can play comfortably to suit you and your hands/health. You can get brilliant lightly strung, good quality, physically light instruments which are easy to pluck. There are just so many really great lever harps of all styles you can buy now.

You can play ALL styles of music.
It's not unusual to see a harpist playing jazz, pop or as part of a rhythm section as well as in the more traditional folk and classical settings. You can learn to a high technical capability without having to play classical music if classical is not your thing.

It's easier than ever to connect with other harpists.
I was one of the first harpists to teach via Skype. Unless you are living in an Internet connection blackspot, if you don't have access to a harp teacher living near you, there is now a big choice of online teachers.

There are so many great harp festivals and harp organisations that there is no reason not to connect and meet up with other people who share your passion.

Always wanted to learn to play the harp? 

There really isn't a good reason not to. Go on, it's never too late to learn!