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BEGINNERS LEVEL – Ages 5-8 years

Mary discusses with the parents/guardians of the harp student, the renting or purchasing of an instrument. First lessons include information on the care of a harp, including tuning and string maintenance.

A first priority is to be sure the harp is of a size to be comfortable for a beginner’s body, so that the student is sitting at an optimal height to learn hand position at the harp. This beginning of learning how to use your hands to play well is where a teacher is very important.

Based on the Suzuki piano and harp courses that Mary has taken, she fosters an approach of learning by ear for very young students which includes close involvement by their parent(s).

Mary initially teaches hand position to the parent/guardian as well as the student so the parent/guardian can work at home with their child. Learning by ear develops listening skills, but also allows the student to concentrate on how to use their hands to play, hard enough, without the complication of learning to read as well at the same time.

Harp melodies that the student knows and likes are taught at the beginning of the course. Mary also arranges solo and ensemble material according to the needs of each student.

Mary plays for her students and also plays along with them in ensemble from the first lessons. If they are interested and able, she encourages singing and simple self-accompaniment on the harp.

Mary Muckle has tailored many arrangements for voice and harp for individual students. She utilises theory books suitable for the student’s level, usually enlisting the parent/guardian to work with the student at home. Mary also encourages students to experiment with making up their own compositions on the harp.

Beginners are encouraged to attend ensemble classes from the start, even if only at first to sit within the harp circle and listen to gain confidence to play. They may play first in ensemble, before they are comfortable with solo performance in a supportive ensemble atmosphere. Mary encourages mentoring within ensemble classes when she has a wide spread of levels.

If a student is an older beginner, who may or may not have a background already in another instrument, most commonly the piano, music reading skills and theory are a part of each lesson.

Programs offered include:

  • private and group lessons for all ages and levels
  • harp ensembles - all levels
  • concerts, recitals and master classes
  • preparation for conservatory exams and festivals

Mary adapts her teaching program to the needs and interests of her students. Not everyone is interested or inspired by examination curriculum or festival participation. Aside from teaching playing skills, Mary's focus in teaching is to foster joy and confidence in making music for oneself and to share with others.


  Intermediate Harp Course Seniors Harp Course

For more information pertaining to programs, rates and schedules, please contact Mary Muckle at (613) 825-1379 or at mucklerice@rogers.com.

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