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I bought three beginner harp books. Harpsicle Harp Method (Darlene Walton) this one came with the Derwent harp which I bought to learn to play. Basic Harp for Beginners (Laurie Riley) and this one, Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp (Sylvia Woods).
This one is by far the best. Sylvia gets you playing tunes straight away (ok there are some exercises but you can see the point of them because what they show you is useful in the tunes). She has a nice conversational style and is reassuring and encouraging. She starts you off with the treble clef and one hand at a time. Then you do two hands but both with the treble clef and then later in the book you add in the bass clef. Genius.
The instructions are clear and the tunes are ones you probably know. Astonishingly the book has been around since 1978 but still seems fresh and very clear.
The book is spiral bound which means it lies flat.
The Harpsicle book (Darlene Walton) quickly becomes confusing, you start straight in with both treble and bass clef. At first fingering and note names are indicated and then bracketing but then these are phased out. It does come with a DVD which is quite useful and it is quite 'cheerful'.
The Basic Harp for Beginners (Laurie Riley) is awful. I wrote another review about it. Didn't suit me at all.
I would recommend Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp by Sylvia Woods very highly.
An old fashioned style book but everything you need to get going on the harp. It would be advisable to get a one off lesson of a teacher however to check you are using the right technique or this will scupper you down the line and hamper your progress.
Personally I dont understand the negative reviews, yes its in black and white and spiral bound and the pictures are old, but the content is as relevant today as it was then, ideal book for the complete beginner with simple exercises and tunes to learn, I highly recommend this for an absolute beginner
I am really enjoying using Sylvia Woods's book. It is clearly written and easy to follow. It takes one through progressive stages in easy steps giving full instructions and a brief resume of the origins of each piece of music. There area few pure exercises but mainly one is playing well known tunes which makes practice more enjoyable.
There are quite a few books available for beginners, so I took the lead from others who purchased this book. Brilliant book to get you started on learning to play the harp. Sylvia quite rightly suggests that there is no substitute for a personal tutor to prevent the development of poor technique. Highly recommend and will now look to purchase the supporting CD.