How to play “Happy Birthday” on the harp? Free video lesson! [ep 20]

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Every day someone is celebrating a birthday – and today Coffee Break Harp celebrates reaching 20 episodes!

Below you will find a free video lesson that will help you master this extremely useful piece.

Who is it for?

This is a mid-beginner harp arrangement. It involves using all four fingers, playing hands together and some directional placing, also known as overlapping brackets.

I recommend that you approach this arrangement after becoming familiar with basic technical foundations on the harp.

However, if you would like to learn Happy Birthday quickly for someone who’s celebrating their birthday soon – I’ve got you covered too. In this video I will show you how to create your own easy Happy Birthday harp arrangement.

I will also show you what to do if you want to make it a surprise for someone, but are worried they will overhear you practising. In this tutorial you will learn how to slightly tweak the way you play Happy Birthday on harp to make sure nobody recognises the tune. And here’s good news – this trick will also mean that you get to know this piece even better!

Practice strategy

In this lesson you will learn about a few practice strategies for playing hands together on the harp, practising small sections and putting the music together – step by step.

  • Pick a short section
  • Start with one hand
  • Look out for any jumps, and practise these jumps
  • Then work on both hands placing
  • Play slow, place fast, and then…
  • Connect with other sections

Watch the video to see how to apply these in your own practice!

Grab your coffee, the music and your harp – and let’s get started!

Watch the video

Time stamps for this episode

0:00 Introduction
0:14 “Happy Birthday!”
2:02 Overview of the video lesson
2:26 Lever set-up
2:39 The structure of the piece
3:44 The biggest challenge (bars 6-8)
13:39 Preparing the previous section (bars 4-6)
18:57 Putting the two sections together
21:52 Explaining the practice strategy
23:20 How to simplify this arrangement
24:03 How to practise Happy Birthday secretly (and prepare a surprise performance)

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Coffee Break Harp: series of free tutorials for beginner and intermediate harpists