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How long...?

  • Unknown
    Unknown User

    Hi, I have recently began playing the harp. I have played the

    clarinet for 7 years, the flute for 5 years, and the piano for 4

    years, but the harp is my favorite instrument and I want to start to

    play professionally, so my questions are how long do you estimate it

    will take me, and my most pressing question is when do you know your

    ready, because I want to play with the symphony and play at


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    replies to "How long...?"
    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      becoming an orchestral harpist does not happen over night. I guess it depends most on your age. the ages when people [usually] absorb the most information is from ages 9-17 (or at least I think so). That does not mean you CANT play the harp if you are an adult.

      first of all, find a harp and harp teacher. Like many instruments, buying the harp is an ENORMOUS investment. You may want to start on a celtic harp, which price range is usually from $1000-$5000 (for a good one) as for the big, impressive orchestral harps (we harpists call them pedal harps) they usually go for between $15000-$60000 depending on the model and manufacturer. On average, Id say you could get ur studies up to a profressional level within 7 years or so. (it depends on how much you want it- and yhow much you practice)

      well, i guess it would be better if someone else gave you some information, as i am a wedding/orchestal harpist, but not nearly at the level of a professional.

      the harp can be rewarding, fun, and often stressful- good luck!

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    • Laurie
      Laurie Muirhead


      "How long" is a hard determination in giving you a specific answer. Time is different for each person.  However I will say, when opportunites come along to play, accept them (if you so desire) because in each one you will gain experience.  If you wait until you think you are a professional, life may pass you by with some rewarding opportunities. You will only know you are ready if you try! If symphony opportunities arise - audition.  If a wedding comes your way, talk specific details with the bride. A book that may help you is "The Harpist's Complete Wedding Guidebook" by Jan Jennings.

      Have your teacher give you guidance and share with you his/her knowledge regarding his/her experiences from weddings. Always continue to build your repertoire.

      When I began to play the harp one of the first really big pieces I learned was "The Lord's Prayer".  I played it at my church. From then on, every bride wanted me to play that at her wedding.  But then some brides wanted me to play other selections in addition to "The Lord's Prayer", so I started to build my wedding repertoire. Now 31 years later, I have several volumes of wedding music!

      Practicing and the love of playing the harp are true keys that will unlock your harp skills towards professionalism.

      Laurie Muirhead

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    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth Volpé Bligh

      I played the flute, percussion and piano for several years before I switched to

      the harp at age 17. I played the harp in orchestra after one week. Granted, I

      just covered the top line, but, with all my previous experience, I knew how to

      count bars, stay in rhythm and stay in tune, so basically I didn't cause a train

      wreck. As soon as you can get through a part without too much trouble, get in

      there! I was a regular harpist in community orchestras after one year, a soloist

      after three years, and a professional orchestra harpist after five years. You

      can do it.

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