Pamela Bruner shown with one of Heartland Harps’ Dreamweaver harp models.
Bruner became enchanted with the Celtic harp at a Renaissance Festival, bought a small harp and a book, and taught herself to play. She has now recorded over a dozen CDs, and performs and teaches at harp conferences. "People would tell me they had always wanted to play the harp, and ask how long it took me to learn to play. I realized how many folks shared my love for the harp."
"I believe that anyone can do what I did," says Bruner. But there were two obstacles to sharing her dream -- the cost of most harps, and concerns about needing a harp teacher. Bruner, who had piano training, felt that the materials for self-teaching went too fast for most people, so she created her own, consulting with conservatory-trained harp teachers. "I wanted to make it possible for anyone to learn to play the harp, even if they had never read music before, and couldn’t find a harp teacher." Bruner’s Play the Harp Beautifully series of books and DVDs has sold over a thousand copies. "I even get emails from harp teachers, telling me they love the book!"
Creating an affordable harp was the next project for Bruner, since fine Celtic harps retail for $5000, and the orchestral harps retail for $20,000 or more. She went to her husband, Dave Woodworth of Heartland Harps, who builds top-quality Celtic harps. "I told him I wanted a full-sized Celtic harp with a great sound, that looked nice, but would cost less than $5 a day. He was skeptical at first!" Using special materials, together the couple created the Dreamweaver model, which retails for $1595 -- less than $5 a day over one year.
"I’m on a crusade," says Bruner. "Harp music is so beautiful, and brings so much peace and healing, whether people play it for themselves, their friends, a church, hospital, or nursing home. I want everyone to know that playing the harp is something that anyone can do."