How Do I Choose the Best Harp Book?

Harp books are designed to help musicians of all levels improve their playing abilities teaching proper playing techniques and instrument care. Many books are geared toward a specific group of harpists, such as beginners or advanced players, while others offer information that is applicable to all levels. Check for information that relates to your skill level, make sure the book covers the type of harp you own, and ask your teacher for recommendations and required reading when choosing a harp book.

The basics of harp playing, such as how to sit with the harp, where to place your hands on the strings, and how to pluck them, are usually covered in a beginner’s harp book. These books also include beginner songs, speed and accuracy exercises, and information on how to read music. If you’re a beginner, look for a harp book that includes a compact disk (CD) or digital video disk (DVD) that allows you to hear what the harp should sound like when you play it. Illustrations or photos of the resting and plucking positions should be included in the book. If at all possible, pick a harp book that discusses common beginner blunders so you know what to avoid.

For players of all levels, a harp book covering harp care and maintenance as well as stretching techniques is essential. You must know how to clean, change, and tune your harp in order for it to sound its best. You should also get a book with a list of stretching exercises to do before playing the harp. Stretching exercises can help you avoid injury and prepare your hands for playing. Harp care and stretching techniques are typically covered in beginner’s books and books labeled as “harp basics.”

Intermediate and advanced players will need books with increasingly difficult songs and advanced techniques. If you’re an intermediate or advanced player, you should consider purchasing several sheet music collections. The required skill level to play songs in sheet music collections is sometimes printed on the book’s cover or included in the book’s description. If you’re not sure which collections to buy, consult your teacher or tutor. Advanced players may be interested in books that cover unconventional harp techniques, such as creating sounds that are different from the traditional harp sound, such as guitar-like or gong-like tones.

Before you buy a harp book, make sure you know what kind of harp it’s designed for. Some books are written for all types of harps, including pedal and lap harps, while others are written specifically for a specific instrument. Unfortunately, a book’s intended harp isn’t always specified on the cover or in the printed description. You can learn more about these books doing some research online, asking a teacher for recommendations, or seeking assistance from a harp retailer.

If you’re taking a class or have a harp tutor, you should buy the books that your teacher recommends. Instructors frequently refer to lessons from books in class and when practicing at home. You will be able to keep up with your assignments and follow your teacher’s lessons more easily if you purchase required and recommended reading.