A decade or so ago I taught myself to play the harp. All the notes are in order, in a line, similar to a piano, and they repeat. I was okay on it.
My biggest stumbling block was that I have no depth perception. One of my eyes wants to see far and the other close up, so when my brain had to choose one it chose close up & gave up on the other, which gave me a wandering eye.
Although my childhood until age 8 meant glasses, patches, and more visits to the optometrist than I can remember, and we corrected the direction my eyes point, I still have never been able to perceive depth. (Those damn magic eye posters!)
Learning to play the piano was a lot easier than learning to play the harp. At least the keys are all laid out. When I started with the harp I had to tilt it slightly so I could see the strings in a row in order to find the right notes.
If I'd stuck with it longer and with more diligent I might have been able to develop the muscle memory to hold it properly, but as it was I just played it as an accent instrument and only ever wrote a handful of songs on it.
In 2019 I was on tour out west and decided to leave the harp at Betsy Tinney's house, thinking I'd be back for it soon. 4 years and one pandemic later, I picked it up from her house this summer and realized I was ready to pass it along to someone who would play it.
I don't believe in hoarding instruments. Instruments are meant to be played. If all they do is hang on a wall (or sit in a museum case) what's the point of them? There are so many people who can't afford to buy even one. Music is for everyone.
I loved my harp from Harpsicle Harps but I love even more that it is being played again (thank you Jen Midkiff) by kids who really want to learn how to play. I get just as much joy knowing it's not sitting in a closet somewhere than I did with it in my hands.
Ladies of the Moonshine show (Oakville)
Photo by Terry Debono
The Wee Folk Club (Toronto)
Moonshine Cafe songwriter showcase (Oakville)
Moonshine Cafe open mic (Oakville)
Lilac Dell at the Royal Botanical Gardens (Aldershot)
Photo by Karl Stahl