Lesson FAQ / Policies

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Lesson Policies:

  1. Canceling/Rescheduling:

    If you need to cancel or reschedule a lesson please let me know as soon as you can, I will do the same. If you don’t contact me at least 24 hours before a lesson to cancel or reschedule it you will still owe me for that lesson.

    If I don’t contact you at least 24 hours before a lesson to cancel or reschedule it I will owe you a lesson free of charge.

  2. Things to have with you at every lesson:

    • your harp
    • tuning key
    • a pencil (not a pen)
    • a notebook
    • any material you’re working on (or want to be working on)
    • a tuning fork if you have one (A-440)
    • anything else you might need (a particular chair or stool, glasses, etc.)
  3. Things to have available if lessons are at your house:

    (Other than the first one, these are all things you’ll want to have for your own music making anyway)
    • a chair for me
    • a comfortable space free from distractions (people passing through, TV playing, phone ringing, etc.)
    • a music stand
    • a stable chair or stool at the right height for you
    • good lighting

Please ask lots of questions! Bring music you want to work on, tell me what fascinates you …and what bores you to tears. Don’t let me get away with explaining something in a confusing way.

Remember, these are your lessons. I’m working for you, not the other way around.

Lesson FAQ:

Where do lessons take place?

I teach out of my home in Eugene, OR. I can also come to your house – I charge an extra $5 per lesson for traveling within the Eugene/Springfield area. Contact me about travel expenses if you live farther out.

Do you also teach concert harp/pedal harp?

While I do play pedal harp, my speciality is lever harp (also known as Celtic harp or folk harp). If you want to study pedal harp I can put you in contact with someone who specializes in that instrument. Of course, if you like my teaching style I would be happy to work with you!

How much should I practice?

Regular, short practice sessions are much more valuable than infrequent marathons. When you’re first learning, you’ll get a lot out of practicing for 10 minutes every day. Your practice sessions will get longer as your skill grows and you have more material to work on.

May I sit in on my child’s lessons?

You are welcome to sit in on the first lesson if you’d like. If you do so, you need to be a silent observer (as this is your child’s lesson, not yours).

If you’d like to learn the harp yourself, you might be interested in Parent/Child lessons.

Should I rent or buy a harp?

I recommend renting at first for two reasons:
  1. Renting a harp will be cheaper (in the short term) than buying harp you’re not happy with in the long run.
  2. It’s better to know how to play at least a little before you shop for a harp so that you can choose your instrument based on how it feels and sounds when you play it.

How do I choose a harp to rent/buy?

Here are several suggestions:
  1. Get a floor harp

    I highly recommend starting out with a harp that sits on the floor or a low stool rather than on your lap (a floor harp rather than a lap harp). One of the most important skills to learn in playing an instrument is how to relax; Worrying about your harp falling off your lap doesn’t particularly help with that.

    Note: This is mostly about the harp’s size relative to you. The “floor harp” I played when I was 5 is a lap harp for me now.

  2. Play it first

    It’s a good idea even if you’re renting, but certainly if you’re buying a harp: Play on the exact harp you’re considering, not just the same maker, style, or model but the harp you’re looking at. Play on it yourself.

    Play high, middle, and low, loud and soft. Play any extended techniques you know (harmonics, p.d.l.t, percussion, etc.). Test the sharpening levers for their action (how well they move), timber change (the difference in sound between engaged and disengaged), and regulation (the accuracy of the half-step).

    Every harp should come with a tuning key and hopefully a case. It’s also nice if an extra set of strings is included. Since harp sizes and shapes are not standardized, neither are harp strings – every model of harp will have its own string set.

  3. Other things you should have:

    • a music stand
    • wire cutters (or scisors if your harp has no metal strings). You’ll need a pair of these to replace strings.
    Recommendations: (not requirements)
    • Its nice to have an extra tuning key in case you misplace one.
    • An extra set of strings on hand means you don’t have to wait for shipping when a string breaks.
    • I recommend against electronic tuners. Get a tuning fork instead (A-440).
    • If want to jump into the deep end you can get a set of regulation tools to adjust your sharpening levers. Some harp makers sell these.

Where can I rent/buy a harp?

Some places to start:

How can I get extra/replacement strings?

You might be able to get them through the folks you bought or rented your harp from, or from the harp maker. You can also get them from Robinson’s Harp Shop who makes strings. This is particularly useful if you have a harp whose maker you can’t identify. Call them up and they can design a string set for you or find one on file if you can identify your harp. This is where I get my strings.

How should I take care of my harp?

We can talk more about this in you lessons, but to start with: