Self-taught vs. Harp Lessons

So which is better, taking harp lessons or teaching yourself to play the harp? That is the question we will explore in this post.

Can you teach yourself to play the harp? 

This may sound like a rather obvious question, but I think it is an important place to start. 

The simple answer is… yes, but keep reading…

 By “teach yourself” I don’t necessarily mean to just lock yourself in a room and play around until you think you’ve got it. You will still need some outside sources. 

Just like any other instrument, you need to understand certain techniques and fingerings in order to play it well.

If you are trying to get started on the harp, there are some good resources that aren’t terribly expensive: 

  • YouTube videos about how to play the harp (free)
  • Sylvia Woods’ book / DVD Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp (under $50)
  • Harp courses on sites like Udemy (under $50)
  • Harp Column Academy’s Single Studio Access ($4.99 /month)

These are great options for getting started. They should teach you basic techniques that are foundational to learning the harp. For continued learning…

  • Consider reaching out other harpists with specific questions, it’s likely they would be happy to share their expertise with you
  • Check out Harp Column Academy’s All Access Membership ($9.99 /month)

But, there are some key questions to ask yourself if you are considering going this route…

  1. Are you self-motivated to learn the harp?
  2. Are you patient and willing to put in consistent effort?
  3. Are you a detail-oriented, self-learner?

If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, then chances are that you are a good candidate for being a “self-taught” harpist.

What are the benefits of taking harp lessons?

While taking harp lessons are often more expensive, the results can be very rewarding. 

So what are the benefits?

  • Routine
  • Tailored help
  • Structure

Taking weekly harp lessons will certainly help you get on a practice routine. Having that set time each week will likely help keep you motivated to practice regularly – which is crucial for learning the harp.

It can also be helpful to have the tailored instruction of a harp teacher. He/she can help you spot errors in your technique that you may otherwise have never realized existed. Also, if you get stuck on anything or have questions about certain pieces of music – chances are you can get answers right away. 

Finally, taking harp lessons provides you with structure. You should come away from each lesson with specific goals for what to work on throughout the week. 

Which is better? 

Well, the answer is it depends on your learning style.

Do you prefer to move through things at your own pace? Are you detail-oriented, patient, and self-motivated? You may be able to teach yourself.

Or…

Do you prefer structure and tailored guidance? Do you thrive on routine and setting weekly goals? You may benefit from taking lessons.

Whatever you decide, I give you my best wishes on your journey to learning to play the harp!

Happy playing!

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