I began studying harp in 2004, at age 52, having fallen in love with the Irish harp at age 16. That’s when I saw Grainne Yeats play a small Irish harp to accompany her husband Michael while he read his father’s poems. It took me a few (!) years to figure out how to keep the promise I made to myself that evening of “I’m going to play the harp someday.”
Harp lessons are my first formal music instruction, though singing was always a part of my life in elementary school, Girl Scouts, church choir and high school chorus. Playing the harp is the first time I’ve had to know what specific note is on the staff and then find it on an instrument, instead of picking out tunes by ear.
Before starting harp lessons I played djembe and kenkeni in an African drum ensemble. These deep, ancient traditional West African drum rhythms brought me back to music. But my hands could not both drum and play harp, and the harp won out.
Since giving up drumming I’ve studied recorder, and I now play soprano in a recorder ensemble at our community college. In 2011 I got to join the community college’s Early Music Consort, which is a whole other level of challenge. But bringing to life the music and thoughts of someone who lived 500+ years ago practically makes me swoon.
I started this blog at the urging of my harp teacher, who said that other people would appreciate how I approached learning to play the harp as an adult. Much of my blog is about my journey learning to play and perform music, and learning to do this on my harp. But music grows and ripens from the rich loam of my life – so writing about retirement, my garden, travels, books I’ve read related to music, and assorted and sundry adventures end up here as well.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy what you see in Heart To Harp, and that you’ll leave a comment telling me what you think about your travels here.