On Saturday 2nd November, 2019, a group of harpers gathered in Portballintrae Village Hall to build their very own harps, using a ‘Build a Harp’ kit, developed by Brian Waugh of Turmennan Learner Harps and Build a Harp, Ireland.
Renowned harpmaker, Mervyn Waugh (Turmennan Harps, Ireland) and his son Brian, expertly guided us through the process and, by the end of the afternoon, each participant had completed the building of their very own 26 string harp.
As a harp teacher, I cannot overstate the value of this endeavour. The changing of harp strings can be tricky and as we generally don’t have to change strings very often, it can be difficult to practise the process until we feel confident with it. After knotting and winding 26 strings however, it now feels as natural as tying shoelaces!
Pupils are now working on the tuning of their harps, as strings will stretch and fall flat for a few weeks until they settle. This process too helps pupils to become more confident with tuning their instruments, attuning their ear to how it should sound when in tune.
All in all, this was a highly educational, enjoyable and unique experience for all involved. And what a huge sense of achievement we all felt when we completed the build. Well done everyone! We are all very much looking forward to beginning our next set of beginner harp classes, especially those of us with our very own self-built harps!