Resources for MN harpists
Opportunities, events, Minnesota harp community:
- The American Harp Society
- The Minnesota Chapter of the American Harp Society Membership costs $15 a year for adults, $5 for students. They hold meetings every two months which involve fun discussions with other harpists, some low-key performance opportunities and educational workshops, and usually food!
- The Scottish Harp Society of America $18 per year
- The Bulletproof Musician (Performance anxiety and effective practice methods)
- 6 Essentials For Every Practice Space
- Music lessons spur emotional and behavioral growth in children, new study says
- Folk Harp Journal (includes harp arrangements of traditional tunes, easy through advanced)
- Free Blank Sheet Music
- Jigs and Reels and Hornpipes, Oh My! (Learn the difference between various Irish dance types
- The Way You Approach Music in Practice Greatly Affects Your Success in Performance
Good watching and listening:
- Your first harp lesson – 4 points for basic position A lovely little 2-minute reminder on hand position: “elbows up, wrists down, thumbs up, fingers down.”
- Josh Layne YouTube channel Josh has a series of episodes called “Harp Tuesday.” They are all great!
- Shoulder, Elbow, Arm, Hand A very detailed explanation and demonstration on harp posture and technique.
- Stephanie Claussen’s YouTube channel
- Thistle Radio Listening to quality Celtic music is essential to playing quality Celtic music.
- Write your name in every harp book you own, especially if you attend a harp studio where multiple students own those same books.
- Listen to as much harp music as possible.
- Go to as many live harp concerts as possible.
- Musescore | Music composition software
- IMSLP | Public domain music library, especially useful for finding orchestra scores
- Online Metronome
- Tuner | Free Mobile App
- “Don’t practice mistakes or you will become very good at playing them!”
- “To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.” -Beethoven
- Harp Care Tips from Dusty Strings
- Musicmakers in Stillwater repairs folk harps (even non-Musicmakers harps). Call them first to make sure they can help: (651) 439-9120.
Harp assessment and pedal harp regulation:
Jim Buxton is just about the only guy in the Twin Cities who appraises harps. Contact me for his info.
How to practice:
Hand care tips
- Nexcare Tape (available at Target and probably elsewhere) This is a fabric-like thin tape. I use it to protect minor burns, blisters, or cuts while I practice. It’s less bulky than a band-aid and less slippery as well. I would probably not have graduated from college if not for this tape. It can leave a sticky residue on the harp strings, but this can be brushed off with no lasting effects. Most pharmacies sell this tape in a wide width, but apparently Setzer Pharmacy on the corner of Rice St. and Larpenteur Ave. sells the skinny width, which is the most useful.
- Wait awhile after a bath, a shower, a long session of gardening, dishwashing, or any activity where your hands are wet before you practice. Your poor fingers will develop blisters!
- In cold weather warm your hands up with a hot beverage, jumping jacks, or finger-less gloves before practicing. This will help reduce the possibility of injury. From fall to late spring I wear wrist warmers while practicing.
Stephanie Claussen teaches harp lessons out of her home in St. Paul, Minnesota. She strives to ingrain in each student not only correct hand position, rhythm and a sense of musicality, but also a love for making music.