Did you ever think you’d hear Toto’s “Africa” played on the harp?
After hearing her unique harp collaborations, we knew we wanted to feature her in the Music Spotlight of Issue 19 “Make Do”. Learn more about where Sarah’s inspiration comes from and what motivates her to keep playing by reading ahead.
How did you get started playing the harp?
I started playing when I was 6 years old. My parents got me into music to help me develop other skills. Over time, my goals and outlook shifted. In high school it was centered around learning hard classical pieces. I would practice one piece for a whole year, then compete, and move on to the next.
Once I was out of high school I started experimenting with music outside of the classical repertoire. I began playing gigs, and saw that people were interested in the harp. Now my inspiration is community building. I want to use the skills I have to my advantage and provide as much positivity to those around me as I can.
“I want to show how versatile the harp is.”
What motivates you to play today?
Classical instruments are intimidating. But I want to dispel the air of elitism around them. So I play pop music and cover songs to show how versatile the harp is.
I volunteer as much as I can with the harp. I perform at Salvation Army holiday dinners, and try to use music as community outreach. This keeps me going more than just getting tips from a coffee gig. It’s a privilege that I have as a student, without ties to a full time job, that I recognize many other musicians don’t have.
Is there a time performing where you had to “make do”?
Harp is a really unique instrument and a lot of the music I play is not tailored for it. When I play modern music, I have to take these jumbled bits of piano arrangement and guitar chords to create pieces for each of the songs. Now I have three hours of gig music built up. But I still have to adapt in real time at gigs, especially with requests.