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Has tuning got you all wound up? Watch & read below the break for some help with that!
So you've seen some harps that are look smaller than others....what's the dif?
Want to watch the video? It's just below.
Prefer a text abridged version? It's below the vid. However, you will miss a moment of my hilarity if you don't at least watch the beginning of the video. :)
Need something to help yourself or your students plan practice sessions? Then try this easy upcycle of a photo frame! (For more on practice, check out some Reflections on Harp Column's #30DayPractice Challenge, or what's more important than practice)
Want to listen to the pieces on the example frame? Chariots, Close to You (also watch the blindfolded version!), Improv on Sonate en Ré (and another), We 3 Kings, I Have Decided, 24 Hours Without A Sail...it isn't safe, The Munsters theme song
dry erase marker
Just decorate your frame with duct tape, print the template linked above, & pop it into the frame (trim if needed),
The template has lines to write goals for the sessions & boxes to check each off, but you could also just put plain paper in the frame. If you want to keep the marker with it, add a large rubber band across the frame to hold the marker when not in use.
A few strings broke on my harp not too long ago (thanks, Irma! [maybe?]), and I do not enjoy changing strings! So, I thought I'd put together a little roundup of some resources that might be helpful!
This string octave chart with the staff from Sylvia Woods Harp Center could be really helpful!
So are you a string replacing wiz? Or not? Or somewhere in between?
Are there any great resources out there that I missed?
One of the last posts over at my old blog site (Practice Your Lasagnos) compared & contrasted lever & pedal harps. Thought I'd brush it off (figuratively, of course) & update/edit it a little to post over in this space. So, here it is!
There are different types of harps, but the most common in the U.S. are pedal harps and lever harps (even harps with no levers or pedals). Both pedal and pedal-free harps follow the same basic idea. Lever harps are not necessarily beginner harps and can be used by beginners and professionals alike. There are professional harpers (lever harp players) and professional harpists. Some people can move levers very impressively! Whether or not a student plans eventually like to add the pedal harp to his/her repertoire, a lever harp will be beneficial and a good basis. Both types of harps can be used to play a variety of genres. Lever harps tend to be more affordable and generally more portable. :)
Some websites I'd recommend perusing for harps and harp information are Virginia Harp Center, Lyon and Healy, Salvi, Camac, Sylvia Woods Harp Center, Harp Spectrum, and Harp Column. These sites should be a good start. :)
Exploring the music that is played on the various models can be useful and fun. Some harpists/harpers you might like to check out are Jakez François, Louise Trotter, Greg Buchanan, Deborah Hensen-Conant, Park Stickney, and Susann McDonald, and, of course, Harpo Marx. :)
If you're a harpist/harper, do you prefer playing pedal or pedal-free harps? Let me know in the comments! Or do you have any questions? Just leave 'em below!
P.S. The www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/FischarperHalloween printable music activity packet is available in the Fischarper Teachers Pay Teachers store!
Super exciting news over here! Today is the public launch of my first ecourse, "Breezing Through Bass Clef"!!!!!
It's designed to help you look at bass clef in a new way. Bass clef seems to be more difficult for students to grasp than treble clef, and I want to help you breeze through it! If you're a teacher, this course might give you some ideas on a different way to approach bass clef. Or, you can send your students a link to sign up (or both!). If you're a student, this course can help you grasp bass clef. Either way, right now, it's free!
"Breezing Through Bass Clef" includes text-based lessons, worksheets, and quizzes, as well as comments sections in each module to encourage discussion and questions. It's a short course, so should be quite do-able without committing to a long-term project.
Please let me know what you think of the course in the comments and on social media. I'd love for you to share "Breezing Through Bass Clef" with your friends too!
Thanks a million!
Barbara Fischer runs Fischarper, LLC and loves her job as a harpist and private music educator. She enjoys blogging about various aspects of the music field on fischarper.com/blog. For more music resources, check out the Fischarper Teachers Pay Teachers Store and Making Harp Lessons Exciting For Young Children, written by Bambi Fischer (Barbara’s mom!) and revised and edited by Barbara. You can connect with Barbara all over the interwebs on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. And you can sign up to receive Fischarper updates by joining the email list.
Christmas is just a little bit over a week away. If you're looking for a last-minute gift for your music teacher, student(s), child, or someone else who this might work for, here's an easy and inexpensive gift that you can put together with just a few things. I think it was inspired by this project.
this free printable available in the Fischarper Teachers Pay Teachers store
picture frame with glass or some kind of clear covering (check the thrift store!)
dry erase markers
Are you ready? Print the page linked above, and pop it in the frame. Wrap it and gift it with some dry erase markers, and bam! (almost) instant gift. If the paper shifts around, just try taping it to the back or to the frame.
How to use this:
However you want! In the examples I've given, the student writes the letter on the lined section, writes in the note in treble and bass clefs, traces the string on the harp, and writes the letter name on the corresponding piano key(s). I like the idea of using blue (or purple) for F and red for C. Even for piano students.....then they have that in their brains if they pursue the harp one day. :)
As a teacher, you can assign a note a week or month in your newsletter, and encourage parents to hang this in a prominent place and review everyday. It could be hung by the table and discussed during breakfast or dinner (or lunch if the student isn't in school), or by the door, where the students must say the name of the note, trace it, point to the key, same the color of the string, etc. as a "password" to enter or exit. You can also have one hanging in your studio and use it similarly.
fine motor skills
non-electronic (electronics are fun and all, but there's sooooo much screen time! I really believe it's important for children to have balanced lives apart from electronics. Of course, I'm typing this on a computer and posting it on the internet....)
Relationship between notes on page, harp, piano, alphabet.
What to do with leftover macaroni from the DIY Macaroni Harp String Necklace project? Well, one thing is download this free printable and send your students home with some fun homework! Or if you're a student, surprise your teacher by bringing this worksheet completed to your lesson.
In the example above, the student also added levers and legs with clay and labeled the parts of the harp.
This would be a great activity for beginning harp students to practice observing the order of the strings. It can also be a helpful aid for memorizing the descending order of the strings. Another option is to make it a family project...maybe a young (or not-so-young!) student could even use the worksheet to teach his/her family about the strings and/or the parts of the harp. Crafts can be fun (and beneficial) for students of many ages and levels, so don't feel that you can only use this with kids or beginners. You might have some adult students who enjoy this more than you would expect!
This is more of an inspiration post than instructions. Feel free to alter this how you see fit. This project be beneficial for any student. The student must observe the pattern of the strings and macaroni, and it helps fine motor skills! Both positive effects! If you use large noodles, this would also be great for young students.
If you're student or parent, you could even surprise your harp teacher with this!
I used some outdated macaroni. You could also buy colored macaroni, or dye another type of macaroni, but I like to use things that would otherwise get tossed. :) The small macaroni can be tough to string, so if you're purchasing macaroni, I'd suggest some noodles that have larger holes.
First, dye the macaroni. For this project, I used red and blue, and left some undyed for the white. I used this as a guide for dying the macaroni, but just guessed on amounts. :) I also let the macaroni stay in the bag for awhile (I think I saw that here).
After the macaroni has soaked, allow it to dry.
Finally, bag some up and give it to your student with instructions. You can be as detailed or as vague with your instructions as you want. Feel free to use the printable above, but sometimes students will pleasantly surprise you if you leave a lot of it up to them! One student make the project mimic how the strings go from long to short. Nifty idea, eh?
I had students supply their own threading material. One used fishing line and one used a type of yarn/thread.
Be sure to talk about the project and ask how/why they did things the way that they did and show interest! If it's not perfect, don't worry. You certainly don't want to squish your student's enthusiasm! The main thing is that the student made a real effort and did the project. Look for specific things that you can truthfully compliment.
As school is about to get back in swing, here's a list of recommended materials for your/your students' lesson and practice bag. I include practice, because these supplies are very helpful for practice as well! The word essentials isn't entirely accurate, because of course you can have an effective lesson even if a student forgets some of the materials. But "essentials" sounds better than "recommendations" in the title. :) The top of the list applies to music students in general, and the second part includes additional materials for harp students.
What do you recommend students bring to lessons? Do you require it or recommend it?
Anddd.....the lovely folks of Virginia Harp Center have offered a discount code to readers! Just enter the coupon code FIRST10 at checkout to receive 10% off any item in their online store. You can also get free shipping on any order over $150 without a code. So, go stock up on some rad tuning keys (is there such a thing as too many?) or whatever else your little harp-heart might need.
Welcome to the blog! I'm Barbara, and I work as a freelance harpist and private music educator. You can read my bio here. On the blog, you can find posts about various aspects of this career path, especially teaching and crafty stuff. Thank you for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you in the comments or on social media. And don't forget to subscribe to the email list for updates!
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Does bass clef wig you out? Try my free ecourse, "Breezing Through Bass Clef."
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