Musical Instrument Introduction - Harp

Nowadays, many schools have adopted a scheme “One Musical Instrument for Each Student”. This scheme aims to enable children’s temperament and to cultivate all kinds of virtues and skills through learning musical instrument(s), such as self-discipline and creativity.  In the meantime, learning musical instrument is a great investment – not only for the children to put efforts and time, but parents also need to invest in tuition fees and instruments at the same time.  The Whizpa team hopes to introduce some of the musical instruments that parents are not familiar, including the reasons for picking or learning the instrument, to make this analysis more details for parents’ consideration. First for, we are going to introduce “Harp”.


Fee for Harp Courses

Few years ago, Harp was still a rare instrument.  The lack of Harp teachers led to a high tuition fees. Harp has become more popular, and therefore it is easier and cheaper to pick and learn this musical instrument. The number of harp classes are steadily increased, so the price of a harp is thus reduced that elementary class is about HK$300 to HK$500 per hour. The price will also vary per to the qualification and experience of the teachers, the time and the number of students. An expensive harp classes are usually taught by teachers who studied overseas or awarded winning. In contrast, the cheapest harp classes are provided by Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions. It is around HK$100 per hour in combined big class.

Parent can choose an appropriate qualification teacher based on their financial ability.  In terms of class duration, as the focus for a child is not fully developed, parent should rather pick small and shorter time classes for their children.


Harp Categories

Harp as an ancient musical instrument. Its evolvement is relevant to different cultures over time. In mainstream market, there are two kinds of Harp – (i) Lever Harp and (ii) Pedal Harp. Pedal Harp is bigger, about two meters tall, while Lever Harp has many different sizes. Beginner usually starts with a lighter Lever Harp. If the chosen size of harp is too big for children, it would become very difficult for them and they may get hurt. Parents should pick the right size of Lever Harp for their children according to their height so that children would enjoy playing and develop passion in Harp.

Although playing a Lever Harp can get a grade 8 of qualification on the Royal Academy of Music, most of the teachers recommend student to learn Pedal Harp after getting a grade 5 of qualification.  As the name of Pedal Harp, change of pitch is handled by pedal, while for Lever Harp, player needs to change pitch manually. When playing an advanced level track, playing with Pedal Harp is more flexible than Lever Harp. Moreover, Pedal Harp has a wider range, so almost all the official concert use Pedal Harp.

 Left for Lever Harp. Right for Pedal Harp, which has several pedals on the base for changing the pitch.


Learning Harp

The sound of Harp is so delicate and soft like a poetic that make many children and even adults want to learn. Elegant appearance, beautiful sound and its unique, have made Harp become an exquisite instrument.  

As Harp is an instrument which toggle the strings of sound by finger(s), finger(s) must get through the blisters and develop calluses stage.  This period is a line of demarcation to test children’s willpower – some of the children will not be able to endure this pain and give up. But there are a lot of children will suffer in silence because of their keen on playing Harp.  After a period of time, when their fingers adapt to the plucking, the pain will be diminished.  Of course, parents do not feel good to see their children getting hurt, but they can take this opportunity to teach children the concept of "No Pain No Gain".



Consideration of Buying a Harp

Hong Kong is a little places, home space is relatively small, many families will need to consider if there have enough space to keep a musical instrument in a flat when they are going to buy one for their children.  A standard harp with 47 strings is huge, it will occupy a lot of space at home. Having a musical instruments at home can make the most flexible practicing time for the children, and also develop a good feeling while playing them. As Harp is getting more popular, many centres would provide harp classes and rental services. It is convenience for children to practice in centres.

Even if you have enough space to keep a harp at home, the price of a harp is another consideration.  A Pedal Harp is more expensive than a Lever Harp.  As a sample of a U.S. brand, Lyon & Healy, the price of a Lever Harp is about HK$40,000, and a Semi-Grand Pedal Harp is around HK$120,000. The above prices are only as a reference for parents. Price varies depending on the wood, carving and design of the soundboard.

As the price of a harp is high, the second-hand market is very active. A lot of parents would sell the original harp when their child needs to get a new harp for a higher level class. Parents can pay attention to centres or even online market to trade or buy a second-hand they like. Parents should also pay attention to the recommendation from children’s teachers as a lot of teachers suggest their student to learn a higher level after getting a grade 5 of qualification.  Therefore, the purchase for a Pedal Harp to cope with a higher level of examination is needed.

As long as your children have interest in playing particular musical instrument, having their own musical instrument is not the major factor. I have learning Trombone for over 8 years. Due to its high price, I have never purchased my own musical instrument but only leasing one from school for practice. With my passion for music, my effort and time for practicing was as much as my classmates who have their own instruments. Before making decision on buying Harp for their children, parents should take children's interest and affordability into consideration. As long as children are interested in music, their progress of learning would still be the same with or without musical instruments. has listed 65 learning centres which offer harp classes, for example, Hong Kong Harp Chamber Music or HeartStrings Harp Centre. Don’t forget to write a review on your chosen provider. Your comments make education providers have better improvement!