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Moving a harp is part of playing the instrument. Yes, I can envision a utopian society in which performance halls, schools, and churches all own a harp, just as they do with pianos. Even viewing this idealized world through rose colored glasses, I have trouble imagining that all of these harps would be excellent instruments, with fairly new strings and a recent regulations. This is, in fact, the problem with pianos. You never have to move it, but you also might get stuck having to play a clunker. The great thing about moving your harp, is that then you always get to play your harp.

Many students don't have to move their harp much at first. Generally people have an instrument at home to practice on and their teacher provides one for lessons, possibly even for recitals. As performance opportunities increase, the need to move an instrument increases as well, which can be a bit intimidating if you're not sure how to go about it.

In General

Whenever moving a harp, you want to consider the follow areas:

• Preparing the instrument for moving

• Putting the instrument in some kind of case or cover

• How to carry or wheel it

• How to get it in and out of a vehicle

• How to secure it in a vehicle

• Temperature and environment throughout the move

Temperature Considerations

Let's start with the last area first, because this applies to all harps. Most people are focused on the exterior of the instrument while moving, making sure they don't drop their harp or scratch it in any way. This is important, of course! Frequently overlooked, but equally important is the temperature of the harp. Your goal is to keep this as stable as possible while moving. Depending on the time of year, let your car warm up or cool down before you put your harp in, so there isn't a jarring change. Avoid leaving your harp in the car while running errands or going to work. If your garage doesn't have climate control, go ahead and bring the harp in the house, even if you're moving it again in a few hours. If you (or a puppy) would be uncomfortable in whatever the environment might be, then your harp will be too. 

Moving a tiny harp

This is pretty straightforward.

• If the harp has levers, make sure they're all down or disengaged. Be careful not to catch them on anything while carrying the harp.

• Put it in a case or wrap it in a blanket.

• Simply pick it up and carry it however is comfortable. Frequently people put one hand on the column and the other in the soundboard holes.

• Place it securely in your already temperature adjusted car so it won't wiggle around or fall over while you're driving.  You could lay it down in the trunk, or maybe wedge it between some pillows in the back seat. However you put it in the car, make sure that the harp isn't lever side down, again so that you avoid them catching on anything. 

Moving a medium sized lever harp

• If the harp has levers, make sure they're all down or disengaged. Be careful not to catch them on anything while carrying the harp.

• Put it in a case or wrap it in a blanket. If it comes with a cover or case, then most likely the zipper or velcro side goes on the column side of the harp. Some harps, notably the Dusty Strings line, come with detachable legs. You have to detach the legs prior to putting these in their cases as they won't fit otherwise.

• Carrying it is one option. If the case has shoulder or carrying straps, you can use these. You can also use the classic one hand on the column and one hand in the soundboard hole approach. Most people tip the harp using this grip, so they're carrying it horizontally. You can also use a two person carrying method. With this, again you tip the harp horizontally and one person carries the front while the other carries the base. 

• Using a cart or dolly is also a possibility with a medium sized harp. Tip the harp forward and slide the cart underneath the feet, coming it at from the back of the instrument (where you sit when when playing). Once the harp is securely on the cart, buckle it in. Tip the entire thing back on to your shoulder to roll it along. Many people keep their left hand on the cart and their right hand wrapped around the harp while moving for extra control over the harp.

Moving a large harp

The larger your harp, the bigger your range. The bigger your range, the  more music you can play. Exciting! But... when it comes to moving, the inverse is true. The larger your harp, the more difficult moving is. 

 

Put it in a case or wrap it in a blanket. You can simply pick it up and carry it out however is comfortable. Place it in your car securely so it won't wiggle around or fall over while you're driving. You could lay it down in the trunk, or maybe wedge it between some pillows in the back seat. Put the levers down (in their disengaged position) and be careful not to catch the levers on anything while moving it or placing it in the car. 

You also don't want to mess up anything mechanical on the harp, especially the levers or pedal mechanism. Always disengage everything before moving. The pedals should both be in their flat position and folded up. The lever should be down, or disengaged. Be careful not to catch any of these moving parts while putting your harp in and out of your car. Place the harp lever/pedal mechanism side up when laying it down.