Have you ever gone house shopping? Most people look at specs on square-footage, the layout of the rooms, the price, the school district. Last fall my sister and I dragged a frustrated realtor all over town looking at potential harp homes. He would talk about the new furnace and lack of water damage in the basement. I would take one look at the entrance to the house,
and think, “Too many steps.”
I would look at the one-car driveway and the street,
and think, “Where will my students park?”
I would walk into the living room and wonder,
“Could three harps, three music stands, all my music, plus a living space fit in here?”
Last spring I needed to buy a new car. Everyone seemed to think it took me an inordinate amount of time, but when you consider the fact that I am both a poor musician, AND that only a very few station wagons will accommodate my pedal harp, I think I did pretty well. Please don’t mention a van because I refuse to drive one of those until I am either married with children or have reached a more respectable age of at least forty-five.
I went dress shopping one month ago at Macy’s. I surveyed dress after dress. Too short to wear while playing harp. Too narrow to wear while playing harp. Too short, too narrow, too short. No problems when it comes to vintage dress-up events though…
Lest anyone mention the dreaded flute or piccolo at this junction, I will say that I LOVED being the only student in my elementary school who played harp. I still think harp is by far the absolutely best instrument for me to have learned. Its long history, its strong connection to Celtic culture, its fantastic flavor, and its solo nature all click with my personality. Playing harp is worth the extra hour on either end of any performing engagement. It’s also worth the difficulty in finding the perfect house. It’s even worth wearing perpetually long dresses. It’s even worth driving a station wagon at age 29.
Read more: Ravenscroft Musicke Guild.
Stephanie Claussen is a classically-trained harpist with over fifteen years of experience performing in Minneapolis & St. Paul. Her new book of harp arrangements, “Lights So Brilliant: Christmas Carols and Tunes for Solo Harp” is now available through Mel Bay.com.