Harp biography for Karen Peterson


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Pedal, lever, and double-strung harps

I have been playing harp for 12 years. I was trained on pedal harp for two years by Faye Seeman➚ and another two years by Julie Buzzelli➚. After college, I figured that a pedal harp was out of my reach, and went harp-less for as long as I had been playing.

Four years later, I missed it so much that I finally went online to check pedal harp prices. I had heard about lever harp, and found out I could get a 38-string for half the price of a student-model pedal. I went to the Somerset Folk Harp Festival➚ and played on all of the exhibitor’s harps until I found the most awesome one. A few months later, my Triplett Eclipse➚ arrived (the first one they made with Truitt levers), and I began delving into lever harp music.

Again at Somerset➚, in 2006, I wandered into a double-strung workshop. I’d seen Don Peddle’s beautiful flat harps➚ and figured they couldn’t possibly sound as good as they looked. Plus I had no interest in double-strung. I was surprised to discover the volume and richness of the 9-pound, 48-string Voyageur II➚, and I was excited by the new opportunities afforded by two rows of strings.

With the big Eclipse and the compact double-strung, I haven’t missed pedal harp at all.

Motivation to teach

One of the things I noticed at the harp conferences I attended was that the adult students were disappointed by their progress with the harp. I admired all of these students who had picked up a brand new instrument later in life. I wanted them to be proud that they had gotten up off the couch and actually taken the steps to do something about their desire to make music.

I hate to see people unhappy or frustrated. It is my hope that I can encourage adult students in the path they’ve chosen, either by being their teacher, or providing useful information on this website.

Ready to contact me? You can find out more about my teaching style, or see testimonials.

Other music activities

I am a member of these:

  1. International Society for Folk Harpers and Craftsmen➚

  2. American Harp Society➚, specifically the North Jersey Chapter➚

I also compose and arrange music, most recently for playing in therapeutic settings. I am a student of MHTP➚, the Music for Healing and Transition ProgramTM, working towards becoming a Certified Music Practitioner® so that I can play at the bedside of patients in hospitals, hospice, and nursing homes. See more on my site SoothingHarp.com➚.

My favorite music to play and listen to includes Medieval music, close-harmony vocals, old-time country and bluegrass, Bach, Brahms, Smetana, old Metallica, and Merle Haggard. I love complex rhythms and interesting harmonies.

When I’m not doing music...

I am a big proponent of enjoying the outdoors and spending the weekend at interesting spots nearby. If you’re looking for something interesting to do in New Jersey, especially hiking➚, I can give you some ideas.