Teaching is a passion of Melissa’s. Melissa offers lessons to students of all ages and all levels from her home studio in the Mclean/Tysons/Falls Church area. Previous musical study helps, but is not a requirement. Lessons in both the Suzuki and traditional approaches are available.
Melissa will teach your child the language of music and the joy of harp! Her studio has a positive and enthusiastic environment. Students will learn to use the harp as a vehicle for their own expression and the skills they learn will transfer to success in the future. Melissa tailors the curriculum to match your child’s specific learning needs.
Lessons include instruction in the realms of harp technique, musicality, music theory and ear training, and performance practices.
Instruction will emphasize:
- Good hand position
- Good tone production
- Effective practice techniques
- Music reading—when child is ready to read
Once basic skills and note reading have been mastered, lessons include audition and competition preparation, arranging and composing music for harp and performing skills.
Melissa’s students perform in studio recitals at least twice a year.
Melissa encourages her students participate in many different music programs, including the American Harp Society National Competition, Music Education Auditions, The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program, American String Teacher’s Certificate Program and Suzuki Summer Institutes. Students are also encouraged to seek out performance opportunities in their schools, churches and community.
Dedicated to finding and creating opportunities for her students, Melissa is the founder and director of the Harp Program at the NOVA Music Camp. Geared toward 5-8th graders, it focuses on orchestra and harp ensemble playing and it is the only music camp in Northern VA that offers harp!!
Melissa is proud of her student’s accomplishments.
Students have been members of: The McLean Youth Orchestra, The Youth Orchestra of Fairfax, The Salisbury Symphony Orchestra, Senior Regional Orchestra, All State Orchestra.. They have attended the Saratoga Harp Colony and Young Artists Harp Seminar and have had the opportunity to perform at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Recently students have been accepted into harp programs at The Eastman School of Music, The Peabody Conservatory of Music, Westchester University have placed in the Mid Atlantic Harp Competition.
Melissa is an active member of Music Teachers National Association, Northern Virginia Music Teachers Association (NVMTA), American Harp Society, DC Chapter of the American Harp Society, American String Teachers Association, Virginia String Teachers Association, The Suzuki Association and the Suzuki Association of Greater Washington, and the American Federation of Musicians, local 161-70.
Meeting you was like a turning point of my life!
Because of this talent, I have a new harp and not a rental. I can play several songs and I’m learning to play more.
You’ve always been there to help me and my Mom with decisions on other harp opportunities. When I earned my Silver Award in Girl Scouts, you helped me to prepare for my presentation. As you know, my Silver Award project was to expose the 2nd Grade class at St. Columba School to music--notably the harp. I loved performing for them and I think they’ve learned a lot.
I’m thankful that I’ve found you to be my teacher and friend.
Melissa will help coordinate harp rentals for students and rents a number of harps directly through the studio. During lessons, students can play both pedal and lever harps, depending on interest and experience.
All ages are welcome, no prior musical experience necessary. Admission is by brief audition/interview.
Harp Lesson FAQ
I have a Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Harp Performance from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where I also studied Harp Pedagogy (the art of teaching). I am also a certified Suzuki Harp Instructor.
No. All lessons are held at my home studio in the Tysons/Mclean/Falls Church area.
This depends upon the individual child, but generally speaking between 5-10 is a good age to start. Of course it’s never too late to start!!
No. Students are welcome to use one of my studio instruments for lessons
Yes. I am happy to help you find a suitable instrument. One of at least 34 strings with concert spacing and tension is recommended
I do have a few rental instruments available. Check with me for availability.
I teach lessons in both the Suzuki and traditional approaches to lessons. Which approach we use will depend upon the students’ age and previous musical experience. Generally speaking, most younger students with no musical experience will do better with Suzuki. If you are an older student who already reads music well and plays another instrument, the traditional approach is probably better. I do supplement my Suzuki students with additional repertoire and I do have my traditional students work on some Suzuki repertoire. When you get down to it, good teaching is good teaching no matter what the initial approach may be!
I teach the Salzedo technique of harp playing, which stresses musicality, technical proficiency, aesthetics and performance. While there are many schools of harp playing and many people emphasize the differences, I have found in my teaching that there are much more similarities between them than differences. I have successfully worked with students from all backgrounds.
Absolutely. When the student is ready, note reading is introduced.
I organize 2 student recitals each year-Winter and Spring. Students are also encouraged to perform at their schools, churches and communities. Students also have the opportunity to take graded exams —I participate in the American String Teachers Association Certificate Advancement Program, and in the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program.
Lessons are billed on a semester system. Fall Semester is September-January. Spring is February-June. If students start mid semester, the cost is prorated. Summer lessons are available by appointment.