Q: I am a beginner, no experience with music, is that ok?

Most certainly! The most important thing is not how much you bring to your lessons, but rather how much you are able to gain from them. We welcome anyone who has the heart to learn!

Q: Do you teach adult students?

Yes. In fact, half of our students have been beginning adult students. Every student comes with their own unique set of aspirations, and it is our pleasure to help guide them whether it is to realize a new goal, or is to re-visit a previous interest. We believe music lessons are for everyone, and the joy of learning should have no boundary!

Q. What does your program focus on?

Lessons are in one-on-one format, and they will focus on technique, music-reading skills, rhythm, repertoire, music history and creativity. More advanced students will learn about performing skills, ensemble skills, sound projection, musicianship, sight-reading, theory and arranging skills.

Q. What does your studio offer?

Our studio is equipped with an extensive harp library which is available and encouraged to be used by students. It consists of large amount of teaching materials including sheet music, books about harps, harp history, musician’s health and interests, classical music and composers, music dictionaries, videos, DVD’s, and over 250 selected recordings (including rare LP’s). Students are encouraged to broaden their horizons by listening to recordings, researching online, attending live concerts, and exploring art forms of all kinds as part of their studies.

Performance Opportunities: We have an annual Concert to give interested students opportunities to perform in front of an audience, connect to and learn from their fellow-students. Although participation is not compulsory, all students are encouraged to perform in the recitals, and everyone is welcome to attend. Students who participated or attended in the past found the experience to be rewarding and inspiring.

Workshops and masterclasses by respected artists, as well as harp maintenance classes are periodically arranged accordingly to broaden horizons of interested students from beginning to advanced levels.

Exam Preparation for Royal Conservatory of Music Exams, auditions, music festivals and competitions is available.

Q. What is your perspective as a harp teacher, and what form of experience will your students gain?

We are dedicated to ensuring that each of our students develope a Healthy, Artistic, Recreational, and Positive experience (H.A.R.P.) to enrich their personal lives.

I believe that the journey of learning the harp can also be a valuable metaphor for ones journey through life; in setting goals, learning new skills, meeting challenges, finding solutions, building self-confidence, and taking joy in the satisfaction of accomplishing ones aims.

“To teach, is to touch a life forever.”

It has been especially rewarding for us to observe beginning students who come to their first class with trepidation gradually shed their cocoon and emerge on vibrant wings of song

Q: Is the harp very difficult to learn?

This depends equally on the individuals approach and dedication to the task. The harp has survived thousands of years because people love to play it! While it is true the harp takes effort to master, its beauty is accessible from the start. Even ‘simple’ pieces sound lovely and carry an eloquence that can often transcend ones initial aptitude.

The key to musical success is careful instruction from the beginning and a commitment by the student to practice regularly, even if only for 15 to 25 minutes for the beginning stage, 4-6 days a week. A steady lesson schedule is important to ensure that you learn proper hand position, a solid but relaxed technique, fluent reading skills, and an effective practise method —– for these all work together to enable your music to grow.

Your commitment is matched by our attention to your goals – to perform, to entertain friends and family, or simply for your own delight!

Q: How often do people take harp lessons?

Most students feel they benefit the best from weekly lessons to maximize personal progress. However, for those with a busy schedule, bi-weekly lessons are another option to explore.

Beginning students can choose to start with 45-minute lessons, although most choose to graduate to a full hour weekly as they progress. 30-minute lessons are suitable for younger beginning students under the age of 9.

Dedicated students can take 2 lessons per week as intensive summer studies to maximize progress. Please discuss with us your special needs and goals.

Q: How is your teaching schedule divided?

We attempt to be as flexible as possible with my students by having availability for both weekend and weekday, daytime or evening appointments.

Q: Do I need to buy a harp right away in order to take lessons?

You can if you’d like. Students can also choose to rent a lever harp for the first few months of lessons prior to investing in an instrument of their own.

When deciding to purchase an instrument, there are many aspects to consider, and Harps on the Hill Centre will be happy to assist our students so they benefit from our expertise.

Q: Do you rent harps?

Yes. Rental harps are available for students enrolled in our program, subject to availability.

Q: Are harps expensive to buy/rent?

Harps are individually produced instruments, often on a by-order basis and with much hand-crafting involved. However, new technology has lowered the price for good beginner instruments in recent years. Prices widely range from several hundred to several thousand dollars for a solid instrument. The final cost greatly depends on the individual and their needs.

Many students choose to rent a harp for the first several months of lessons while they develop a familiarity for the harp. Rental rates are generally $85 – $120 per month for a Celtic lever harp.

Q: What kind of music do I learn?

A variety of repertoire, including Classical, Celtic, folk, early and contemporary music. We do believe that having a Classical background is important for developing the solid foundation and discipline required to excel in all genres.

Students are encouraged to discuss with us the repertoire they are interested in learning so that we may work together to achieve their goals.

Q: I am a beginner, when can I play Amazing Grace, or Clair de lune?

This largely depends on the individual student. With consistent lessons and dedicated practice, most of our students after the first few months of lessons, including those who did not have any music background, have been able to read music fluently, play satisfying tunes and even perform for friends and relatives!

Q: Are piano lessons required as a prerequisite for learning the harp?

While a background in piano can be helpful, especially with reading skills, understanding music theory and in developing an acoustic sensitivity, we don’t agree that there is a ‘prerequisite’ for learning the harp, or any other instrument.

However, advanced students who plan to pursue professional studies for a music degree, will be encouraged to take up a secondary instrument and consider piano lessons to broaden their musical senses.

Q: Are parents of young students welcome to sit in on lessons?

Parents are most welcome to observe the lessons quietly and also to practise with their child at home. They may choose to bring a book or their laptop while waiting.

Shall parents choose to drop off the students, there are coffee shops, grocery stores, book stores, a park and shopping area only steps away for your convenience.

Q: Who studies there?

Students of all ages have come regularly from different areas of GTA, including Oshawa, Ajax, Whitby, North York, Scarborough, Toronto Eastend, Toronto downtown, Westend, Etobicoke, Mississauga, Oakville, Brampton, Thornhill, Richmond Hill, Woodbridge, Maple, Aurora, Stouffville, Markham, Belleville, Napanee, Kingston and Ottawa. Visiting students have come from around Canada, Australia, China, England, Japan, Singapore, England, and USA.

Q: What do I need to do to prepare for my first harp lesson?

Clip your finger nails to the shortest you can. Bring a notebook to write down lesson notes. Come with a pair of clean hands, and a positive spirit!

Q: Will I be required to bring my own harp to lessons?

Not at all. Students are able to learn on our lever or pedal harps.