Finding engaging repertoire for beginners can be difficult. That's why I arrange many of my favorite tunes especially for my own adult students. The first verse of this lovely piece is accessible to anyone who has mastered overlapping brackets. In the second verse, students get to work on 4-2-1 patterns, rolled chords, and placing and sliding into chords.
A minor (Key of C). One page; no lever changes; fingering and brackets included. The first verse fits on a small harp; the second verse can be played one octave higher on a small harp (a nice effect for any harp).
Listen to Come Live With Me and Be My Love (software-generated mp3)
In the old days in Celtic lands, the people believed that when a once-healthy infant wasted away, the fairies had stolen the healthy baby and left a changeling in its place. The tune has a lovely lilt, and is arranged so beginners can easily enjoy it. It features a gorgeous descending bass line, and the second verse is played up an octave and features a few easy grace notes and broken chords.
Key of G, no lever changes, beginner level. Includes fingerings and brackets.
Listen to Highland Fairy Lullaby (software-generated mp3):
This is one of those pieces that students want to play as soon as they hear it. It makes a fine recital or performance piece.
Under the Waterfall teaches pattern recognition, climbing inversions and playing 3-finger arpeggios. I suggest practicing with block chords to achieve evenness and fluidity. I've included dynamics, though instead I recommend that you experiment with several different options.
It can be played on any harp with at least a full octave below middle C.
Key of C. Beginner; no lever changes; includes fingerings and brackets; 2 pages.
Listen to Under the Waterfall (software-generated)
Sometimes a beautiful tune in an appropriately simple setting is the most satisfying, and certainly the most useful for many healing settings. This peaceful and moving tune in the Dorian mode is also a great "next piece" for beginning harpists who are ready for something a bit different than the standard Celtic repertoire.
Late Beginner level; D Dorian (Key of C); no lever changes, fits therapy-harp range. One page.
Listen to Cantiga of Alfronso Sabio (software-generated)
This gorgeous song, sung by a mermaid who must leave her child, has been a hit with my students, many of whom have learned the beginner version and then "graduated" to the intermediate version another year. The intermediate version features rippling 16ths in the introduction, descending sixths, lush chords, and a left-hand melody.
Both versions fit on a therapy harp (lowest note C below middle C). Key of C. No lever changes. Beginner version includes fingering and brackets; intermediate version has some suggested fingerings.
Listen to The Sea Maiden (software-generated mp3) beginner version
Listen to The Sea Maiden (software-generated mp3) intermediate version
In this sweet tune, you can really hear the bittersweet longing of a girl missing her beloved, as if she's trying to put a brave face on but not quite managing it.
I've included arrangements at two levels, late beginner and intermediate (or play them in succession for a longer arrangement). Other than the twice-occurring low A--which can be played up an octave--the first version can be played on a therapy harp (lowest note the C below middle C). Some fingerings and brackets included. In A minor (Key of C); no lever changes; two pages (one per version).
Listen to My Love is Gone to Sea (software-generated) easier version
Listen to My Love is Gone to Sea (software-generated) harder version
This piece is so fun to play! It gives solid beginners gentle practice in coordinating patterns in the two hands that overlap in time. This would make a nice first wedding processional, and is a sweet classical selection for therapeutic work. Fingerings and brackets included. Lowest note, C below middle C. Key of C; one page.
This piece went viral among my students; it gives solid beginners just the right amount of challenge and the chance to master overlapping brackets. Fingerings and brackets included. Key of C; one page.