The single most asked question I get is, “So, why the harp?” The next is, “Do you ever wish you played the flute?” If I had a quarter for every time someone asked me these questions, I’d be able to buy a new harp. No joke.
Since so many people have asked, let me answer this question here. The story goes something like this:
My love of harp started when my parents bought me two porcelain figurines. One was a violinist and the other was a harpist. Although both were pretty, I was drawn to the harpist. She wore a yellow dress, had long, wavy brown hair, and played a beautiful blonde harp with a bluebird sitting on top of the column. This figurine was special because you could wind it up and listen to it play harp music. I would listen to it over and over. This small figurine was one of the prettiest things I had ever seen and the music it made was one of the prettiest sounds I had ever heard. And so like any child that has no concept of limitations, I determined that I was going to play the harp just like my gorgeous figurine did.
Naturally, when I told my parents about my desire, they were reluctant to pursue it. Harp isn’t cheap and they knew it. Not to mention, how would one even go about procuring a harp and teacher? My parents didn’t want to invest in such an undertaking if they weren’t sure I was even going to keep it up. So, they put me in piano lessons. While I liked my piano lessons (actually, I loved them and still play piano today) I kept dreaming about harps. My parents had hoped my harp obsession was just a passing phase and that it would blow over soon enough. It didn’t. My resolve stayed with me and I became ever more determined that one day I would play the harp.
As soon as I was old enough to start earning money from babysitting, I started saving to buy my own harp. I saved like crazy, skipping outings to the movies with my friends so that I could save the extra eight dollars. By the time I was around fourteen, my parents realized that I had no intention of giving up my dreams, so they began searching for a way to make it possible. We found a trade-in program through Lyon and Healy which afforded us the ability to buy the smallest harp and try it out for six months. If I didn’t like it, we could return it, no money lost. This was enough incentive for my parents to decide to give it a try. My first harp was a Lyon and Healy Ogden lever harp, and we found a teacher about twenty five minutes from our house. At the end of the six months, my mom asked if I wanted to keep going. Obviously, I said yes. Thus started my journey with the harp, and as they say, the rest is history.
I ended up trading in the Ogden I had for a Troubadour with a few more strings. I named her Amber, and I still have her to this day.
After about three to four years of playing, I was able to buy my first pedal harp, a Lyon and Healy 85P named Shelley. This harp allowed me to start playing more advanced pieces, and gave me the ability to play in all major and minor key signatures.
As of this year, 2018, I bought a concert grand Lyon and Healy Style 100 named Toulouse. This harp now gives me the sound and strings I need to play professionally in orchestral settings.
PS: No, I don’t ever wish I played the flute. 🙂