Re:Harp for Kids(long)

Hi all,

   As a newish dad I can relate my experiences with my 2 year old daughter.
It all started when she was back in the womb and my wife and I decided to
talk and play music to her in utero. Whenever I would play harp to her she
would kick her feet and move. At that point we couldn't tell if she was
moving towards or away from the harp sound. In her first couple of months
she would wake up at all hours and I would walk with her on my shoulders and
the harp seemed to calm her or occasionally put her to sleep. Around the age
of 3 months she started to hate the sound of the harp and we then thought
that she was definitely trying to get away from the harp whilest in the
womb. At about the age of one year I was doing a couple of shows at the
Childrens museum. The first one was a duo with a woman singer where I played
mostly guitar except for a train imitation on the harp. My wife and daughter
attended and as I was putting the harp to my mouth, I could see the terror
in my daughter's eyes. So I played a very short train piece that day. The
following week I was part of a trio with Chicago Bob Nelson and I asked my
wife if she thought it wise to bring my daughter, since Bob would be playing
harp thru the whole show? Well they came and my daughter loved it! At that
point I surmised that it either was the way I played or that she preferred
harp in an ensemble setting. Over time we realized that it was the
latter...thankfully! Soon after that she started to warm up to solo harp
playing and actually enjoyed it. As she started singing in tune at the age
of one (BTW my wife is a vocalist) we offered her musical instruments as age
permitted. Cutting the length of this shaggy dog tale down, we gave my
daughter a F Golden Melody around the age of 18 months after she continually
would ask to play the one I kept on my desk. Recommendation for young
harpist-give them a low pitched harp! One day she threw the harp across the
room and it shattered so we gave up on that for awhile but she kept asking
for a harmonica (she already had bongos, marracas, recorder, numerous mini
piano/xylophones as well as a miniature real acoustic guitar) so I gave her
another Golden Melody in A. She likes to play it and understands that the
numbers go up when she plays. She has serendipitiously discovered both draw
bends and blow bends, single notes and has tried various methods to playing
it (backwards, vertically etc). Sometimes I'll be teaching a harp lesson in
my office with a C harp and I'll hear another harp going in a different
key-you guessed it-she's got the A harp going.
Yesterday she asked to see what's inside the harp and was fascinated by the
reedplate setup etc. The bottom line here I think is to take stock of the
child's interest level and as someone else mentioned-their level of
maturity. I think the Golden Melody is a pretty safe choice for a 2+ child.

All the best,


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