When meeting someone new, the question at the top of everyone’s list is, “So, what do you do?” I typically respond, “I’m a harpist.” But like naming any profession, it only touches the surface of what it is all about. And since, I've never actually seen a job description for someone who is self-employed, I decided to write one.
Job Description for the Self-Employed Harpist
We are a seeking full-time professional harpist. Do what you love and be your own boss. Primary responsibilities include performing in a variety of settings and ensembles, and teaching harp lessons for students of all ages.
Qualified candidates will have the ability to work with others and to work by oneself unsupervised, and will be self-motivated. Candidates must be self-critical while maintaining a positive attitude. Candidates will be able to stay focused in ever-changing environments and will have the ability to juggle multiple tasks. Candidates will have degree(s) in music from accredited university or have an equivalent experience. He/she must be familiar with music history, theory, repertoire, and have a good ear for music. Experience in marketing, administrative, and finance is a must! Harpist must of course, be able to play the harp at a high level and should have intimate knowledge of harp techniques. Knowledge of French, Italian or German is desirable.
Duties and Responsibilities
Harpist will continually prepare for upcoming performances including, but not limited to: solo recitals, symphony-orchestra concerts, concertos, chamber recitals, studio sessions, weddings, church services, education concerts for school-aged children, cocktail hours, receptions, restaurants. In preparation you will also sometimes practice and rehearse with others.
You will be required to transport and maintain your own instrument and equipment including: bench, music stand, dolly, harp case, harp trunk, strings, tuning key, tuner, bench, music stand and a vehicle suitable for transporting harp(s).
Performances are scheduled most often on weekends, holidays and weekdays in the morning, afternoon and evenings. You must be available on these days.
Harpist must maintain a studio of harp students and be able to work with studies of different ages and abilities. As an instructor, he/she will teach each student to read music, basic harp technique, advanced harp techniques, basic and advanced practice techniques, artistry, best performance practices, techniques for memorization, how to mark pedals and fingering, to rehearse in chamber and orchestral settings and basic harp maintenance. Harpist must provide a supportive and nurturing environment while pushing each student forward to the best of their ability.
Harpist must maintain appropriate instrument(s) for students of a variety of ages and skill levels, including at least one each of a lever harp and pedal harp. Harpist must also provide adequate space for teaching.
Harpist is required to self-advertise. This includes maintaining and updating a website, advertising through print and online outlets, networking, posting regularly on social media outlets and provide new and exciting recordings of performances.
Harpist is responsible for maintaining personal business records. Harpist must maintain detailed calendar of performances and teaching schedule. Harpist must keep detailed records of income, expenses and mileage, create invoices and contracts for each performance and ensure that payment is received and follow-up with each client.
Involvement with other related projects is strongly recommended. Summer music camps, conferences, harp ensembles, chamber coaching, master classes, organizing competitions, board member of music organization, arranging or composting original music, directing/conducting or organizing music festivals are all excellent examples.
Continuing education through private coaching sessions, workshops, master class participation, concert attendance, and reading the latest literature is highly recommended. You can always become a better teacher or musician. The learning never stops.