What is Harp Quest?

Aug 29, 2022

By Anne Sullivan

“When I was a young harpist…” 

Every harp teacher says those words at some point. Sometimes the rest of the sentence is a reminiscence of the joys and discoveries of being a harp student. Often though, the thought expresses a tinge of regret or frustration at the changes in our harp world, changes bringing a wealth of opportunity but frequently accompanied by just as much overwhelm.

New technologies have made it easier to learn the harp, to connect with other harpists and to explore new music. It has even made tuning the harp easier. But being a young harp student has never been more complicated than it is right now.

The increasing demands of schoolwork and extracurricular activities make it difficult to focus - and stay focused - on a pursuit as demanding as learning the harp, even for a student who loves playing the harp. In addition, practicing the harp is a solitary activity and no teenager wants to feel left out or isolated from their friends. At the same time, most of their friends don’t really get it; they just don’t understand the inner need to play the harp. 

This leaves parents frustrated and confused too. Their child loves the harp, so why won’t she or he practice? Or possibly the student is dedicated but the parents don’t feel supported by the child’s school music program. There are plenty of overworked school music directors who simply don’t know what to do with a student harpist to include them in their program.

Enter Harp Quest.

Harp Quest is Harp Mastery’s answer to the question: how do I keep my young harpist interested and engaged without adding more work, overwhelm or frustration? 

Since 2012,  Harp Mastery® has been working with adult harp students to help them overcome similar challenges.Too often these students aren’t given the right instruction and end up feeling frustrated, confused and disappointed by a lack of progress.  Founder Anne Sulivan began Harp Mastery® with a single idea: to help harpists achieve harp happiness, by showing them how to play the music they want the way they want. Harp Mastery®  has since grown to be a world-class online resource for adult harp students. Anne and the Harp Mastery® Certified Coaching team teach harp students around the globe through courses, workshops, communities and coaching as well as in-person retreats.

Harp Mastery® is geared toward adults. But what about the youth? How can their harp journey include more inspiration, self-expression and fun?

In 2006, Anne Sullivan started the Harp in the Mountains Summer Festival, a week-long camp for teenage harpists. Each year since then, Harp in the Mountains has brought together a diverse group of young harpists to work and play together, finding the creativity and fun in their harp playing and making friends who truly get what it means to love playing the harp. The success of this unique approach inspired Anne and Harp in the Mountains co-director Candace Lark-Masucci to create a year-round online program just for youth; that program is Harp Quest.

Harp Quest is designed for today’s young harp student. The program is still developing and growing in exciting ways. The initial focus is on building a community of students, parents and teachers working together to create connections and new learning opportunities for this new generation of harpists. Our Harp Quest Forum, along with our online workshops and webinars, give you the answers you need, whether it’s about how to change a string, or how much time your child would be practicing, or how to communicate with your school orchestra director. The forum also provides a safe space for young harp students to connect with their peers.

Harp Quest is a program that supplements a student’s regular harp lessons with creative online experiences with other harpists their age. Music study isn’t just about practicing the notes on the page. It’s also about experimentation and discovery and working together. Playing the harp isn’t about competition; it's primarily about growth, and through our online minicamps, our in-person summer camp and other immersive experiences, Harp Quest helps students connect with the creative side of music.

But more than anything else, Harp Quest is fun. Practicing the harp is hard work, and it is often difficult for a student to see the rewards. While practice is a challenging discipline for every musician, it can feel like pointless drudgery to an impatient teenager, even one who loves the harp. Harp Quest is about making connections: connections between the work of learning the harp and the fun of actually playing the harp, between the repetitive tasks of practice and the creativity and self-expression that every musician loves. And most of all Harp Quest is about making connections with harp friends who can encourage you, support you and who truly get it.

We invite you as a parent or teacher of a young harpist to join us at Harp Quest. We encourage you to participate in our free Forum and to be on the lookout for our upcoming minicamps and other learning opportunities for your harp student. Our mission is to help make every student’s harp journey a happy one. That mission starts today.

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