We don’t want to think about it, but with everything going on in the world, especially in the last month alone, it is important we all take some time to consider how we can safeguard our precious harps in the event of a natural disaster.
In this article I discuss ways to help minimize your risk of damage to your harp in earthquakes, hurricanes/floods, and fires.
1) When not playing, back the harp up to a corner so the knee block (the part that rests on your shoulder when you play) is almost touching 2 walls. This will lessen the chance of falling over.
2) Attach a cable/cord to your ceiling right above where your harp sits. When not playing, attach the cable to the harp by looping it through the harp between the lowest string and the column/pillar.
1) Get the harp up high. Put it in its case/cover. Small harps can be put on furniture (make sure the furniture is not going to move). Large harps can be laid on a bed/couch.
2) You can also put a trash bag under the harp, pulling it up the sides as far as you can and taping it to the cover. Do several layers if possible.
1) While there is not much you can do to protect a wooden harp if your home burns, you can protect precious sheet music with markings by putting it in a fireproof safe.
2) Try to have digital copies of everything, even if you play off paper. If you play from a tablet, make backups frequently. Store those digital files and backups somewhere safe (not just on your laptop that is likely to be in your home with the original). You can use a cloud-based service like Dropbox, iCloud, or Google Docs. You can even email music to yourself so it’s stored in your email system.
And lastly, get INSURANCE on your harps and keep it current. Many harpists use Anderson Musical Insurance, which only costs $175/year to insure up to $20k of instruments and accessories (benches, stands, dollies, amps, etc). You must be a member of the American Harp Society ($60/year) or Folk Harp Society ($35/year). When one of my harps fell and had to be sent to Chicago for repairs, they took excellent care of me. Don’t forget to keep your replacement value current. You don’t want your $15k harp to be lost, receive a check for $15k to replace it, and discover a comparable harp now costs $22k. Take a look at harp prices and update yearly as needed.
Please share your thoughts and harp-saving ideas in the comments. You never know if something you suggest could end up saving someone’s harp from disaster someday.