Sourcing a harp:
Places in the harp program are suited to students of reading age upwards. For those without a piano background, a prior year at piano is recommended though not essential. Bart is an experienced teacher of both instruments. A course at piano often proves more than a mere stepping stone to harp, having many rewards of its own, not least the acquisition of a broad foundational knowledge of music literacy and awareness of styles; but also dexterity and the two hand co-ordination which accelerate harp learning. Also fostered through piano lessons are those more elusive virtues of patience and perseverance currently missing from our modern mindset of instant acquisition! The old adage rings true: "That which grows slowly, endures".
Students of Harp Tidings have excelled in all their AMEB harp and piano exams receiving, on average, the Grade Award of A (Honours): "The candidate demonstrates an overall superior level of achievement in meeting the syllabus objectives in all Sections, in terms of musicianship, security of technique (including intonation, tone, phrasing, articulation, rhythm), and stylistic awareness" (from QLD AMEB guidelines for exam criteria marking). Bart's first harp student performed at a young age in harp Masterclasses as well as at local weddings and gave a recital in Sydney. Lately he has undertaken charitable performances for the elderly. Others have made a career with the harp, some going on to teach harp themselves. Other students, particularly adults, may wish to learn within a less structured, exam-free environment, but with equal attention given to building a solid technical foundation. The development of a sound, technical facility receives particular attention in all lessons, particularly in the early years of learning, since we are, after all, "only ever as musical as our technique allows us to be" (as distinguished harp pedagogue Sebastien Lipman would remind us).
Happily, advances in artistry and the satisfaction that spring from this, accompany your harp playing from the very outset.
Following the first 'get-to-know' lesson which is always free, Harp Tidings' studio lesson fees are governed and regulated by the parameters set and revised by the Music Teacher's Association of Queensland. Currently this works out at $60 per hour.
New or prospective students without an instrument may be loaned a 36 string lever harp, when this is available, to inform their decision making. There is no charge for the first month of harp rental, meant as incentive to encourage students to budget for and acquire their own instrument. After the first month of rental, $20 per week is asked. The maximum rental period is three months.
The harp is thought to have descended from the hunter's bow. As such it is an ancient, even archetypal instrument which remains essentially portable. Suitable harps for a beginning student include Geoff Welham's 36 String Australian-made lever harps. These fine instruments are reliable, made to last, affordable and can fit in the back of even a small car. They also carry the recommendation of the Harp Society of Queensland.
For those wishing to assemble their own Celtic lever harp, particulars of Geoff Welham's Harp Making Tuition Workshops in the beautiful Grafton Valley may be found on his website www.harpsatsang.com
Harp Tidings is always happy to address any harp-related enquiries, so feel free to contact Bart who would be delighted to answer any questions and provide suggestions and recommendations.