Harp Lessons (!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Big day tomorrow. A big, fat, exciting, living-the-dream sort of day. Tomorrow, I begin harp lessons.

I’ve been wanting to learn the harp for years, pretty much ever since Vanya happened. It’s been an off and on sort of thing—a dream that flares up with a roar, and then retreats, tail between its legs, because I do not have the time, money, or space to feed it. I also have a poor track record with learning instruments (viola, bagpipes, and piano are all on the list of instruments I’ve abandoned) and so I couldn’t justify purchasing a harp (they’re really expensive) until I have some idea of whether I’ll stick with it. The obvious answer is to rent a harp, but finding a place to rent a harp from is a whole different set of logistics, and for the past five years I’ve been moving back between Maine and Michigan anyway, and I just hadn’t been able to make it happen yet.

Friday. As I left the Town Office, a familiar shape caught my eye. I’ve developed a sort of ingrained reaction to harp-shaped things, thanks to the amount of time I’ve spent drawing/researching/writing about/thinking about harps. An automatic, head-turn, what’s-that-now? sort of thing. There was a cork board covered in business cards, and the one my eye flew to featured a photograph of a pedal harp, and the words, “The Harp Lady.” The card mentioned weddings, dinners, concerts, parties, events, aaaand…. LESSONS. Harp Lady, I said as I unpinned the card, you are JUST who I’ve been looking for.

When I got home I sent her an email right away, wondering about her lesson prices and if she was currently taking students and whether she was aware of any options for renting a harp in the area. Not having access to a harp is a pretty major stumbling block to learning to play one, and judging by some of the rental prices I found online it would take me a few weeks to raise the money. So I was really, really excited and hopeful, but I figured it would still be a little while before the whole thing came together.

The Harp Lady called me one hour after I emailed her(!). Not only was she willing to set up a lesson with me, she has a Harpsicle harp available to rent(!!!), and both of these for such reasonable prices that I could come up with the necessary cash in a few days. EEP! So we scheduled a lesson for Wednesday. Tomorrow. I am SO EXCITED.

I’m also a little scared, because I know I have romantic notions about harping but any instrument is hard work when you get down to it and what if it’s just the same as every other instrument I’ve tried to learn and I give up before I really get anywhere? At the same time, I really want this. The one time I sat with a harp last year (trembling, hardly daring to touch it) I loved the feel of it on my shoulder, and the way my hands shaped a chord (thumbs up, first and middle fingers down, one two three). I’m genuinely excited for the actual act of playing and learning, not just for the after part when I’ve already learned to play brilliantly.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way about any of the instruments I’ve tried before, and I am so hoping that this time, I’ll get it right. At any rate, it’s too late to turn back. Tomorrow, the journey begins.

I will let you know how it goes.

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6 Comments

  1. Excited for you! Good luck.

    Reply
  2. U. Asa

     /  November 13, 2012

    Grace I am happy for you and for the excitement you are feeling. I have wanted to play guitar for soooo long, but have never really put my heart into it. My suggestion, with that said, is keep your eye and mind on the future when you are at that point in life where you play brilliantly, but do not try to rush. Take your time and learn day by day. It will come

    Reply
  3. Hope you are doing well with your harp lesson!!! I’m gonna start my harp lesson soon too!! very excited!!! 🙂

    Reply
  4. Congratulations on following your dream and starting your harp journey. It will change your life in ways that cannot be imagined. I started on a Harpsicle too. A lap harp will give you a feel for the process, but adds some challenges, like holding the darn thing. You will know whether you want to invest in a larger harp after a few weeks of lessons with the Harpsicle. It sounds like you’ve already committed to enjoying the process of learning to play. I think that is the secret to sticking with the harp, because it may be a while before you think you sound like you are playing brilliantly. But it’s a harp, and other people will think you sound wonderful before you will😊. Good luck, and have fun!!!!

    Reply
    • Thanks for the encouragement. 🙂 I’m at a fairly transitional stage in my life right now and I want to do a lot of traveling, so I’m thinking I may stick with a harpsicle-size harp for long time. I love the idea of a harp I can carry on my shoulder, like an old troubadour. There may be a larger harp sometime in my future, though, when I have a house to put it in!

      Reply

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