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. Those 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.

Since beginning harp, I’ve played in a recorder ensemble and in an Early Music Consort at our community college. Now I sing in One Voice Chorus Charlotte, a LGBT and Allies GALA chorus. And I’m learning to play the mountain dulcimer.

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 music and learning to play my harp. But music grows and ripens from the rich loam of my life, so assorted and sundry adventures end up here as well.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy Heart To Harp, and that you’ll leave a comment telling me what you think about your travels here.


35 thoughts on “About

  1. Missing you and your posts and wondering what you are up to! Hope the harp and knitting are some of the things you still enjoy. Would love to hear from you. Missing the SEHW this year!!


  2. Fortunately I can still leave a comment here – comments are closed on all your posts now?

    When I saw the picture you posted back in July, the thought crossed my mind that it could mean the end of blogging, and given the lack of new posts I fear that that is true… I wish you all the best in your musical and life journey, it was a great pleasure to read your posts and comments!


    1. Thank you for your sweet comment from months ago now. I closed comments on posts after some unremembered time period to discourage spam. I’ve been on a very long break from public writing, while filling multiple journals on my interior travels. But I very much miss my blogging community, and I’m ready to start publishing and commenting on blogs again. So watch for me in your in-box. Congrats on your pedal harp and starting a whole new harp adventure!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I just now discovered your blog and am finding it very fascinating. (I’m another knitting musician — a pianist who is saving up for a lever harp.) Lovely and insightful writing, although I’m very sorry for your recent loss.


    1. Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment. I’m glad to hear that you are enjoying my writing. Another harp friend and I often think that we should tell other adults who think they want to play the harp to run the other way as fast as they can. Learning to play the harp can and will totally take over your life. And your bank account. But nine years later, I wouldn’t have it any other way. (Of course, I am now equally obsessed about knitting….hmmm, perhaps this IS a personal problem.)


  4. My daughter-in-law has been playing the harp since the age of ten. She now has a band named “Harp On This” – Forget what you think you might know about harp music – this is Harp’n Roll. Kristen is a one-women jute box of favorites and cool originals , played with a rock and roll harp trio” http://www.harponthat.com


    1. I just checked out her website. I love the concept of Harp’n-roll. Turns out my teacher studied with one of her teachers. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I am learning lots from your knitting emails,


  5. Your blog is so inspiring!! Thank you for sharing of yourself.

    Our stories are very similar. My friends tease me and call me the Patron Saint of Baby Boomers.

    Well, a saint I ain’t. I lived a good, moral life filled with a selfish motive to get to the top. But when I reached my fifties, the need for change hit me like a hammer against a solid stonewall. Changes had to be made in my life!

    I moved from a large, busy home in the Atlanta, Georgia area to a tiny, secluded cabin on the Tennessee River. My new address was Eagle Nest Island. Once there, I sat my inner-eagle; my music, free.

    That freedom allowed the voice of my music to become louder and clearer in my heart. I like to call it Wal-Mart Gospel. . . because I hope my music has a little something for everyone.


    1. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and for your kind words, Carolana! I love meeting others who are on Music’s path. I listened to your songs on your website and enjoyed the stories they tell and the faith and hope they inspire. Congrats on taking the risk to devote yourself to music and writing! I hope there are still eagles on Eagle’s Nest Island, and that they inspire you to keep your heart and music soaring.


  6. I love your insights and enjoy your blog. Thanks so much for being supportive of mine too. I don’t comment often (as you do -sorry!) but I do appreciate you so much. Have a wonder 2013 — Happy New Year! 🙂


    1. Thanks, Cynthia. You are such a skilled harpist, that I feel quite honored that you enjoy reading about my trials and travails with harp and music. I look forward to more of your music on your blog. Happy New Year to you as well.


  7. Hi! I am so happy I found your blog – finally someone who plays harp like me! I read a few of your posts, and I can relate to the nervous-hand-shaking feeling before performing a solo. Anyway, I’ll visit every couple of days to hear your new stories! Merry Christmas! 🙂


    1. Hello, Eliza – Thanks for subscribing to my blog. I hope that reading my harp adventures will be helpful to you on your harp journey. I look forward to your comments and finding out more about our common harp experiences. Merry Christmas to you, too! Janet


  8. Hello, I came by from CB Wentworth’s after reading your “joy” of the day (about the ocean porch and fried oysters which I so envy!!). Really enjoy reading your posts here – I am inspired about your learning of the harp (and I like your photos for the challenge). Keep writing! 🙂


    1. Thanks for taking a detour from CB’s blog and visiting here. Learning to play the harp was my crazy dream. I hope you will be inspired to follow your crazy dream, and make it real, whatever it is!


    1. I know – wow!!!! And thank you. Double wow! I feel very honored and I graciously accept!! I’ll be doing my blog post for the awards when I get back from harp ensemble this evening. But most of all I’m so pleased that you enjoy my blog. Thank you again!!!! Janet


    1. And thank you for visiting and subscribing to mine! I love seeing winter through your eyes and camera lens. And it may be the closest I come to real winter this year. I visited Duluth many years ago, and traveled up to Grand Marais and Thunder Bay. Such beautiful country – I look forward to seeing more of Northern Minnesota’s wonders through your blog. Janet


  9. I love this blog posting about intentions and I’m interested in reposting it on my SoulCollage® Facebook page (SoulNav), but I have a question regarding the content. Would you please email me at: ara at soulnavigation dot org?

    Ara Lucia Ashburne


  10. Very interesting. I have always said to my wife that one can learn anything if one really wants. I am 67 years old, but not yet playing nothing instrument. I do not know Irish harp, but when I was in Venezuela, I listened there their harp.

    Music in our world is finally interesting. I guess that You never heard about our national instrument Kantele. Last summer young maiden played it in a church. Why not listen to its magical sound. It has 39 strings:


    I wish all the good to You and happy playing of harp.


    1. Thank you so much for your link to the video of the young woman playing the Kantele! I did not know about your national instrument. The sound is so beautiful!!!! I wish I had another lifetime so that I could learn to play it as well. Thank you for visiting my blog and for leaving your comment.


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