Back to the Celtic Harp Main Page    Finding a Harp Teacher You Can Work With
Choosing a Teacher and a Technique

A practical technique is very important when playing the harp, but remember that your health and well-being come first. Don't let anyone tell you that you should be using a technique that is in any way damaging to your health! A technique may sound wonderful, but if it gives you carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pains, or a bad back, then it's just not worth it! Everybody's hand and body shape is different, and some techniques or styles may not work for you.
Be sure to find a teacher that is willing to accommodate your particular needs, while still being firm about helping you stay consistent with your technique. Remember that there is a difference between the aches and pains caused from an inappropriate technique, and the good old-fashioned callouses and slightly sore muscles that come from lots of hard work and practice. Playing the harp is a full body experience; keeping proper posture goes a long way to avoiding back and neck pain, and you should be able to develop a technique, with help from your teacher, that enables you to express yourself to the fullest of your musical potential without causing health problems.

For more information on playing the harp, see the Tips for Beginners/Avoiding Injuries page, and check out our list of method & repertoire books for lever harp.

If you are looking for a non-conventional or less common approach to music (ie. Celtic, folk, fusion, improv, jazz), remember that you can broaden your search beyond traditional music institutions and try talking to harpists teaching out of their own home. Also, don't be shy to talk to other harpists. Many of the Celtic harpers I've met are quite willing to answer questions either at intermission or after a performance, and some harper/ists who don't normally teach might be willing to make an exception - for instance, if they develop a personal relationship with you, or are the only other harpist in the area. (Note: The terms "harpist" and "harper" are fairly arbitrary; "harpist" usually refers to those specializing in classical music (or jazz), while "harper" usually refers to Celtic and/or folk players. Some people even use the term "harperist" as a general term including all styles.)

I am currently giving harp lessons in Peterborough, Ontario (Canada). To find out more, please see my personal page. Below you can find a list of harp teachers in Canada, the U.S.A. and other parts of the world. If you have a teacher you'd like to recommend, please let me know (and be sure to include some way of contacting them, such as email or phone number).

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Finding a Harp Teacher in Your Area
(See list of teachers below)

First of all, there are the usual non-internet means of searching. Many music teachers advertise in the yellow pages and/or in local publications. They may also be affiliated with a music school in your area (music schools, in turn, may be affiliated with other educational institutions like universities or colleges, or with a local music store). You can sometimes track down pedal harpists by talking to someone from a local orchestra (if you have one), and resorts usually have lists of people who will play for special events (which may include harpists for weddings). You could also see if there is a chapter of a harp-related organization near you.

When searching on the internet, try to be as specific as possible (include your province or state in your search, as well as the type of music you're interested in). Be warned that just looking for "harp" can lead you to some pretty odd pages, including ones about harmonicas and harp seals. Some sites dedicated to particular types of music (e.g. Celtic) have lists of instruments and teachers on their sites. Also, more and more teachers are starting to advertise on the net, either via their own home page or in affiliation with an educational institution, musical group, organization or music store. You can also try posting a question to one of the harp mailing lists hosted by Yahoo (lists formerly on egroups/onelist). It's the best way I've found of reaching a large number of harp folks at once. You have to subscribe to a list to post to it, but it's very easy to unsubscribe afterwards if you wish (the "harplist" mailing list will reach the largest number of harpists, while some of the other lists are more specific). You could also try any of the number of music-related newsgroups that exist (these are constantly changing, so just search for "harp" or by style of music).

People living in or around the Toronto area would also do well to contact the Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto's Faculty of Music. The Royal Conservatory's music store always stocks a fairly decent selection of harp music, including beginners' books and Celtic repertoire. There are also a couple of harp teachers at the Conservatory. Be aware that the Conservatory has a very specific method of teaching, which has a strong focus on pedal harps / classical music (though not to the complete exclusion of other styles).

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HARP TEACHERS & SCHOOLS - listed alphabetically

Harp Teachers - Canada (for U.S. & International teachers, see below)

Andrew Chan, Toronto, Kingston ON - Pedal & Lever
Dianne Broughton, London, ON
Caroline Debono, Toronto, ON
Cecile Denis, Regina, SK; pedal & celtic
Chantal Dube, Mississauga, Brampton, & Halton Region, ON - Pedal & Lever
Clarsach Harp School, Toronto, ON (Instructor: Maureen McKay)
Deb Ethier - Windsor & Essex County, ON
Melenia Gacanin (Harp FX) - Windsor, ON & surrounding area, Beg.-Int., possible harp rentals for beginners
The Gaelic College in Nova Scotia offers harp lessons
Kathleen Gahagan - London & SW Ontario area; pedal & lever
Elizabeth Goossen, Winnipeg - Celtic
Joanne Griffin, Ottawa, ON
Tanah Haney, Peterborough, ON - Lever/Celtic Harp, all ages & levels; Celtic, Classical, Folk, Improv
Lucile Brais Hildesheim, Ottawa, ON - pedal and lever, also Skype lessons
Alys Howe, Vancouver, BC
Liane James (MMus, BMus), Ajax, Ontario - Pedal and lever harp, rental harps available.
Joanna Jordan, Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville ON - Classical, Celtic/Latin, Jazz, Pop, Rock (Lever/Pedal)
Kate Kunkel (aka The Harp Lady), BA, VAHT, Markham, ON - Based in Markham, but has students from Kitchener to Kingston. Also works via SKYPE.
Anita Leschied, Windsor and Chatham, ON - Pedal & Lever harp, fluent in a variety of genres
Debi MacKay, Oro Station, ON - Lever harp, blended Grandjany/Salzedo
Maureen McKay, Toronto area, ON - Lever & Pedal harp
Leslie McInnis, North York, ON - Classical, Jazz (Pedal Harp)
Alyssa Michalsky, Hamilton, ON - Pedal & Lever
Mary Muckle, Ottawa, ON
Roger Muma, London, ON - folk harp
Moira Nelson, Toronto, ON - basic technique (beginners & intermediate); improv & arranging all levels
Cheryl O'Hagan, Halifax, NS - Celtic
Kaori Otake, Surrey, BC, also Vancouver & White Rock - Lap, Lever & Pedal Harp
Marilyn Rummel, Duncan and Victoria, BC
Salvi Artist Development Program, Toronto & Markham, ON
Alison Vardy, Victoria, BC - Celtic, Latin & World Music; workshops on improvisation & rhythmic techniques
Alana Viner, Waterloo, ON - Celtic
Elizabeth Volpe Bligh, Vancouver, BC
Sharlene Wallace, Toronto, ON - Celtic

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Harp Teachers & Schools - U.S.A. (for Canadian teachers, see above; for International, see below)

Mary Jane Ballou, St. Augustine & First Coast area, Florida - Lever Harp
Deborah Bennett, San Jose, California - Celtic Harp
Annette Bjorling, Chicago area - Lever & Pedal, incl. Klezmer music
Valerie Blessley, Vancouver, WA - Modified Grandjany technique on Folk Harp, & Finnish Kantele, Perho Valley style
Philip Boulding (of Magical Strings), Seattle, WA
Pamela Bruner, Zirconia, North Carolina - Celtic
Karlinda Caldicott, Saratoga Springs, NY, lever/pedal, classical/Celtic/early
Devon Carpenter, Jacksonville, IL - pedal & lever harp (mainly Salzedo method)
Cynthia Cathcart, Silver Spring, MD - wire harp
Eala Clarke, Chalfont, PA - Celtic Harp in the aural (by ear) tradition, beginners welcome
Nancy Davis, Spokane, WA
Kathy DeAngelo, Voorhees NJ (Philadelphia area) - Irish harp
De Luna, Hooksett, NH - folk harp, some theory, improvisation
Patricia Ann Diers, Denton, Dallas & Ft Worth Metroplex - Lever & Pedal; Specialized instruction of beginners, all ages & levels; rental harps avail.
Cynthia Lynn Douglass, Salt Lake City, UT

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Hannah Eagleson, Hershey, PA - Pedal & Lever
Star Edwards, Denver, CO - Celtic Harp
Janna Engell, Spokane, WA - Classical, Celtic, Contemporary
Bethany Evans, Salem, OR - pedal & lever
Lisa Craig Fenwick, Ithaca, NY, Fingerlakes area - Lever/pedal, classical & celtic
Mary Fitzgerald, Bowie, MD area
Gloria Galante, Morrisville, PA - Celtic harp (traditional & paraguayan) & pedal harp (Classical & jazz)
The Geoffrey Harp School, Bedford, Texas
Mara Grey, WA - Celtic harp
Moira Greyland Peat, M.M., North Texas, Dallas Metroplex area - pedal & folk harp, voice; all levels
Denise Grupp-Verbon, Toledo, Ohio - all levels of lever harp, music theory
Harps Etc. Harp Academy, Walnut Creek, CA
Stephanie Janowski, San Jose, CA - pedal & lever harp
Jan Jennings, Orlando, FL
Cynthy Johnson, Richmond, VA - individuals, groups, workshops
Myra Kovary, Ithaca, NY - Classical pedal harp & Lever harp
Mitch Landy, San Francisco Bay area - lever harp, mainly classical
Rita Linck, Arlington, TX - classical & celtic/folk/early
Mary LeBus, Tinton Falls NJ - beginners of all ages & backgrounds
Joyce M. Leonard, Portland, Oregon
Wilma Kelly Liles, Lenexa, KS - beginners through advanced, harps for rent & sale
Mary K. Lloyd, Bryan, Texas area - individual instruction, beginner to early intermediate, all ages, lever harp; specialize in Celtic/folk/early
RoJean Loucks, Salina, KS - Folk/Lever Harp, Beginning to intermediate levels, individual and/or group instruction

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Kate Loughrey, Southern California - Folk & Pedal Harp
Mary Kay Mann, Hockessin, DE - Celtic harp
Kathryn Mannyng, Massachussets
Christina (Nina) Marshall, central IL
Dolores Martin, Pittsburgh Area
Monique Mason - Akron & Medina, OH area. All levels, children & adults, lever or pedal harp
Karen McGarrett, Nacogdoches & Carthage, TX - all ages
Bonnie Mitchell, Kealakekua, Hawaii - Pedal & Celtic, beginners to adv. intermediate
Eva Murphy, St. Louis, Missouri - all types of harps, all types of music, to all ages, at all levels
Serena O'Meara, Menomonie, Wisconsin - pedal & lever; all levels
Elizabeth ("Betsy") Paine, Houston, TX; now offering online instruction - lever, cross-strung, & pedal
Heather Paschoal, Petaluma, CA - pedal & lever harp
Jennifer Pratt-Walter, Vancouver, WA - modified Grandjany style on Celtic harp
Bonnie Pulliam, Missoula, Montana
Dr. Julieanne Rabens, Twin Cities area, Minnesota - Celtic & Pedal harp
Sue Richards, Rockville, MD
Donna Rickard, Orange County, California
Marlene Satter, Oceanport, NJ - wire & nylon, theory, all ages
Margaret Sanzo Sneddon, NYC area - teacher, certified therapeutic music practitioner
Barbara Seidman, Washington DC

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Julie Shrake, Winsted, CT
Michelle Shrewsbury - Detroit area, pedal & lever (beginning harp)
Victoria Schultz, Florida
Julia Mae Staley, Yardley, PA - pedal harp; Celtic, classical & pop/jazz
Odarka Polanskyj Stockert, Millburn, New Jersey - Folk Harp (Celtic, Classical) & Pedal Harp
Marian Sussman, Seattle area - Classical & Celtic
Ellen Tepper, Philadelphia, PA - Celtic, pedal & historical
Kristin Tescher, Rockport, Maine
Mia Theodoratus, Brooklyn, NY
Carol Thompson, Frenchtown, NJ
Jan Turley, Spokane, Washington
Erica Powell Walker, Irvine, Orange County, California - pedal & lever
Sarajane Williams, Macungie, PA
Janet Witman, DE, PA, MD; Celtic & Classical
Kelly Yousoufian, Michigan
Susan Zevenbergen, San Diego, CA

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Harp Teachers - International (see above for Canadian  /  U.S. teachers)

Siobhán Armstrong, Co. Waterford, Ireland - Early Irish, Renaissance and Baroque harps
Cheyenne Brown, Glasgow, Scotland - Scottish Harp
Simon Chadwick, Fife, Dundee & Edinburgh, Scotland - early clarsach / historical Scottish harp
Karen Marshalsay, Scotland - Traditional & contemporary Scottish on gut, wire and bray harps. All levels.
Anne Postic, Landerneau, Bretagne France (site en français)
Javier Sainz, Suances, Cantabria, Spain. Early Irish harp (wire-strung), Renaissance and Baroque harps (gut-strung).

Didn't find who you were looking for? Try one of the following links:
The Harp Teachers page at
The Harp Mall ( for more listings of harp teachers and professionals
The Music Teacher's List at
If you're looking for teachers in the United States, you can also check out Music Staff Music Teacher Search at