May 17, 2013

  • It Came, It Came!!

    The lap harp came in the mail… and I am SOOO in love with it, already.  It came with a beautiful purple canvas (zippered!) carrying case – like what people have for Bible covers.  It came with twenty-five pieces of music, and a tuning page.  I’m giddy beyond words!!

    Okay, maybe I should back up, calm down, and give some detail, right?  Yeah, let’s do that.

    So… for YEARS I have wanted a folk harp.  I’m a pianist, but I have a fascination with the violin and with the harp, but have you SEEN the size of a harp?  Or the cost of a concert harp?  It’s not feasible even to consider.  But folk harps are portable, they’re beautiful, they’re… okay, NOT reasonable, but priced more like other instruments, and… well, I love the sound.  We had a folk harp play at our wedding… I’ve loved them THAT long.  Here’s a pic of a folk harp (she has it up on a stool – it doesn’t have legs, to clarify).  See… MUCH smaller than the 47-string harp.

    Many, many moons ago, when we were living in England, we went to this mostly-American church off-base (Temple Baptist), and they were meeting in this insanely old ruin of an English chapel (complete with cemetery in the yard)… and as they were preparing to move into a new building, we were all cleaning out the old one, and there was this crazy instrument there.  It was triangle shaped, and had about ten strings, and there were triangle shaped music sheets that you could slide under the strings, and you pluck the strings over the notes to play it.  I *LOVED* that thing, and the pastor let my family take it home, one night (I don’t remember what happened to it, after that, but it was gone within a day or two).  But I never forgot how KEWL that thing was! 

    ((FuN TRiVia:  I would’ve been 14 or 15, and the choir pianist at AHS, on-base… so I was well established in reading/playing music by then, and LOVED that thing.  That was also about the time that my choir teacher put together the school’s first chamber orchestra, and he asked me to play the violin.  I was head over HEELS with it… but my stepdad said I sounded like a dying cat, and made me give it back and quit the group.))

    Anyhow… I was thinking about folk harps the other day… and how I should see what there is, price them… see if anyone on Craigslist had any (yeah, right), and on e-Bay I saw the lap harp, and recognized it as that little instrument from the church in England.   So I typed in ‘lap harp’, and found this one, complete with canvas case, 25 music sheets, and lap harp.  I talked to Brian about it for a first instrument, and he was on-board (because it was less than $50), and it was a good instrument for kids to play with… AND would sate my longing for a harp.  All in one fell swoop!

    And it came!!  It came!!!  I’m so geeked… except it didn’t come with a tuning key, and of the 16 strings, the top eight are WAY off.  SO way off, LoL!!  The good news is that my husband is a machinist, and is going to make me a tuning key for it.  But the kids are pretty excited, too.

    So I wondered if I could find any music for it on-line.  Here are the sites I found:

    http://www.reigningharps.com/ (their archive has even more!)
    http://www.makingmusicfun.net/htm/harp_sheet_music_index.htm

    I haven’t tried any, yet (tuning issue, remember?)… and frankly, I think some of it is for the 47-string harp, NOT our little 15 string harp… but I think I could transpose and simplify the pieces, if need be.

    Anyhow…!  About the same time… I was in 2010 of HomeschoolDen‘s archives (I started at the beginning and am reading all the way thru her blog up to the present… still working on it.  She has SUCH fun ideas!)… and last week (er, 2010) she wrote about getting a glockenspiel for her children as an intro to ear training.  And I was intrigued when I saw what she had, and that it was only $30 on Amazon.com!  Here’s a picture of it… what do you think?  ((And you can’t see, but the carrying case it comes in has legs, to lift it off the table for better sound!))

    And… well, kids LOVE to bang on things.  The noisier, the better.  They like to make music – but don’t necessarily want to take the time to learn the nuances.  So this is actually the perfect instrument to do ear training on… it’s good for learning intervals, working on rhythm, and simple harmony.  And did I mention that everyone thinks this is fun?  But it doesn’t come with *any* music… so I went looking for some, and hit the jackpot:

    http://www.fretlessfingerguides.com/violin_songs.html

    So I’ve been printing out music for the kids, and preparing for introducing a few more instruments.  ((My hope – eventually – is to do recorder on Monday, glockenspiel on Tuesday, voice on Wednesday, harp on Thursday, and guitar on Friday… with piano practice after breakfast.  Eventually.  We shall see.))  At any rate, we have some new, fun things to play and learn with in the house!

Comments (9)

  • Looks like a small dulcimer – which I want. Just because. :lol: I LOVE dulcimer music….but I don’t need one. At the moment.

    Lap harps: http://www.harpkit.com. They have kits…..they used I have cardboard harps, but I don’t see them. Even cheaper -www.harpscicleharps.com. People on the yahoo harp list were all aflutter over these when they first came out….I have a musicmaker Gothic harp a local guy built for me. Can’t play it properly – yet – but that’s ok.

    As for the violin – yes, you sound like a dying cat for about….a month. Then it starts sounding like music. Your stepdad should have been patient! After all, you’re learning how to control a 3′ long stick at the same time you’re trying to get the fingers of your other hand in the right spot….:sigh:

    Thank you for the links!

  • I actually got to perform one song with the orchestra – Beethoven’s ninth (Joyful, Joyful). And it sounded… awkward, but good, with all of us. But it was right after that they made me quit. I still want to learn. I know you play, but you’re SO FAR – how’m I gonna get lessons from you when you insist on being in Texas all the time??? :p

  • :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: I am sooo happy for you! We went through this a couple of years ago with piano, and guitars, and drums. Then everyone found out they were really gonna have to practice to get good at it. LMBO! But we are all slowly learning guitar. Dh is getting good at piano. I would like to, but my pinky fingers are my weak point!

    I imagine you will be like this in two or three days…
    http://youtu.be/4hvuygeu_OI :yes: :lol:

  • i love it! What fun!

    I really love music but haven’t a clue about it. Pat recently bought a small keyboard for me and I’m teaching myself. One of the grands takes lessons so she will teach me what she knows. Even to peck out one little tune is awesome. :) Fifty-eight isn’t the best age to learn…my hands have so much arthritis in them. But I am determined.

    I know you’ll enjoy your harp….can’t wait to hear more about it. Blessings……Q.’

  • Right now, I wish I was one of your children. Omg, how fun! I am excited for you guys.

  • If I were closer, SpinnerMom, I would teach you and your kids to play piano, free. My kids get lessons… and I consider teaching my sister’s kids regularly (but Brian says I have such family angst that he doesn’t want me to do it). So I give lessons to my own, instead. :yes:

  • I wish we lived closer, too! I’ve always wanted to play piano…..but my brain just can’t “get” bass clef. I keep trying, though. ONE of these days, it’ll stick….wonder if I should rewrite some of ,y violin music to bass clef…..just to get familiar reading it? Not the traditional method….I need to think on this,

    Re:violin. Craigslist has them all the time, $100 or less. Usually, they’re cheap…BUT. You can put one in a cabinet with the radio set to a classical station, and let it “listen” for hours. (Works with harps, too!). This helps condition the soundboard, which makes for a nicer voice. Won’t make a cheap instrument sound like a Strad, but it DOES help. BTDT with the $75 POS we bought for Ian; after 3 days of this, I could stand to listen to it.

  • LoL!! Brian bought me a violin when we were dating. As soon as I unwrapped it, he decided to ‘tune’ it for me. Snapped the strings… and it’s been in its case, ever since. :lol:

  • Amazing information in this blog here that is truly glancing over the every aspects of topic.Musical Instruments for Kids

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