Ask any harpist about their favorite pieces to play, and they will rattle off a handful of titles and some lengthy explanations about why they love them. Ask any harp teacher about their favorite pieces to teach, and you’ll get a similar response—a short list of the pedagogical gems that hold a special place in their heart.

Indiana University harp instructor Elzbieta Szmyt believes you “play better and improve both your skills and your musicianship, if you play the pieces that you love.” So whether you are a student working on filling holes in your repertoire or a teacher brainstorming music to work on with your students this year, the eight amazing teachers we consulted have a teaching treasure or two you are sure to love. In their own words Lynne Aspnes, Jacquelyn Bartlett, Nicole Brady, Alice Giles, Jaymee Haefner, Joan Holland, Elzbieta Szmyt, and Ann Yeung (turn the page to meet them all) tell us about some of the pieces they love to teach and what makes each work worthy of a top spot on their list. While this list is by no means comprehensive, perhaps it will encourage you to revisit some old favorites, embolden you to build your harp skills with a new piece, and most importantly inspire you to love the music you teach and play.

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About Author

Kela Walton enjoys a varied career as a freelance harpist and teacher in Buffalo, New York. An innovative educator, Kela has maintained a private studio since 1998. In 2014 Kela joined the faculty at Buffalo Suzuki Strings, where she teaches individual and group harp lessons as well as Suzuki Early Childhood Music. Before relocating to Buffalo, Kela founded and directed the harp program for the Round Rock ISD schools in central Texas. Kela was privileged to serve as a harp faculty member previously at Temple College, the University of Houston Moores School of Music Preparatory and Continuing Studies Program, and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. Her orchestral credits include engagements with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Corpus Christi Symphony, and Temple Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician she has premiered several new works by award winning composers and is the harpist with the Buffalo Chamber Players. She also held a four year position as harpist for tea and holiday brunches at Austin's historic Driskill Hotel. Currently Kela is honored to serve on the national board of directors for the American Harp Society, Inc. Kela Walton holds a Master of Music in Harp Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Houston Moores School of Music where she studied with Paula Page. Additionally she has a Bachelor of Music in Harp Performance from the University of Texas at Austin where she studied with Gayle Barrington. Kela is also an alumnus of the Salzedo School in Camden, Maine where she studied with Alice Chalifoux. Her Suzuki training includes coursework in early childhood education and harp with Sharon Jones, Delaine Fedson Leonard, and Dr. Laurie Scott. After realizing how much her yoga practice enhanced her harp performances and teaching, Kela became certified in Dharma Yoga at the 300 hour level. Kela lives in Buffalo with her husband, conductor Stefan Sanders.