Why did you choose to play the harp?!

Playing the harp is a rather unusual choice of hobby for a girl from Maidstone, and so this is where my career all began…

As a small girl I was regularly sent off to sleep listening to cassette tapes (yes, I am that old!) of harp music played by my mum’s university colleague. I decided that being a harpist meant that clearly you were an angel and therefore that’s what I wanted to do! Rather sensibly, my parents said ‘No’, and instead they arranged for 4-year-old Nikki to have piano lessons as we already had a piano at home. After ten years of hard graft, I had managed to take all of my grade exams (and several on the flute as well) and they finally agreed to take me to London for a trial harp lesson.

Harpists, and therefore harp teachers, are a fairly rare breed and therefore my parents knew that this was going to be a serious commitment in terms of attending lessons regularly. What they didn’t exactly appreciate was the change in lifestyle that having a harpist in the house meant… Not only was the front room rearranged to accommodate our new instrument, but we even had to go and buy a new car to move it around in!

Once we had found a harp, a car and a teacher I begun to learn the instrument that has become my professional world. This simple little piece was one of the first things that I learned to play and I still include it in my warm-up every time I sit down, more for the memories than the technicalities!

I am incredibly lucky that my long-suffering parents gave me the opportunity to play this wonderful instrument. I know how much of a big ask it was to commit to something like this, and will be forever grateful for all of their (continued) support with my mad-cap ideas! At least this one paid off ok in the end…

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