Basic Harp for Beginners by Laurie Riley

I need to qualify this review up front.  This book covers every conceivable thing you need to begin to play pretty much every harp out there.  Having said that, 80% of the book is useless to me despite claims to the contrary.  I have a 12-string baby harp.  There are no sharpening levers, no pedals, and no extra strings by which to play the bulk of the pieces and exercises in here.  I’m sure this book would be just as useful on all fronts as it was on the bits I could use, thus driving up the rating.

For the parts I could use, I can honestly say this book saved me some frustration.  Being unaccustomed to string instruments, and being the not-so-patient soul I am after years of beatdown, if it didn’t tell me up front that I would need to constantly tune the harp while the strings were new, I’d have probably given up by now.  Seriously, it’s out of tune again by the time you’re done tuning it.  That makes for an actual practice window of about 2 and a half seconds, if you’re lucky.  But since I’m forewarned, I’m willing to see this through.  Thankfully the harp is a forgiving instrument, so even out of tune it sounds like magic.

And I can already claim to play Beethoven.  :P

Beyond the obvious shortcomings of this book being meant for a far larger harp, the worst thing I can say is it would have been nice to have a spiral bound version of this that stays open.  A baby harp sits in your lap, so even if you’re playing it one-handed so as to hold the book open (which is rubbish to attempt anyway), you still have to somehow ensure it doesn’t slip out of your knee-lock.  So essentially what this book offers me is the opportunity to learn some things I needed to know for preparation, for which I’m grateful, combined with the insistence that I fall back on my old standby system of playing by ear after getting an idea of what’s on the page.  First world problems for musicians.  lol

3 stars


2 thoughts on “Basic Harp for Beginners by Laurie Riley

  1. Get a piano/keyboard. It’s not very portable, but it is the easiest instrument to learn to play. Playing the really difficult, virtuoso pieces is something else, but you can do anything on the piano.

    Liked by 1 person

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