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4 Year Old Roger I have been involved with music to some degree or other since the age of four. I started out learning to play on a parlour pump organ that my Father had bought for my Mother. A piano soon replaced the organ in my parents Toronto household which I studied until I reached teen years when I took up the guitar. Along the way I flirted with violin and trombone.

After high school and my first full time job in the library at Carlton University in Ottawa I became involved in teaching music on an extra curricular basis with the Ottawa Separate School Board. I conducted classes for grade school children in Recorder and Classical Guitar. It was about this time that I seriously took up the study of Classical Guitar.

Having studied art in high school I was looking for some way to give vent to my artistic impulses. The first effort was to research the history and design of recorders. After moving to Vancouver, however, I became involved in making musical instruments that were in use in the Vancouver Waldorf School. In the third grade the children are exposed to myths and legends, one of which is the Kalevala. In this story Vainamoinen made the first Kantele from the jaws of a large pike. It had magical powers similar to Orpheus's lyre. Modern versions of this instrument are used in the early grades of many of the Waldorf Schools around the world and are also used in music therapy.

I started making my own version and was able to sell a number around and about. It was about this time that the harpist of the Vancouver Symphony, Rita Costanzi who was familiar with my work and was herself an alumnae of a Waldorf School, asked me if I had ever considered making harps. The answer was no. That started me thinking, and it wasn't long until I had found a book in the library called simply Folk Harp which gave instruction in the construction of a number of different folk harps.

Unfortunately the design that I chose had a flaw. It turned out that the harmonic curve was incorrect for that size of harp. The strings in the mid range were too slack. My conclusion, stated as "incorrect for that size…" was based on the fact that when I projected the harp to a much smaller size – it worked! But the book did put me on to the fact that there was a Folk Harp Journal and that proved to have a number of articles about strings and the design of harps.

So after purchasing all the back issues I embarked on the process of discovering for myself what it was that made a harp a harp. It's called "trial and error". For the first number of years I was content to restrict myself to so called "Lap Harps". The size was attractive and they could be produced for a modest cost. My exposure to the public was through craft shows in British Columbia and through the Circle Craft Co-op in Vancouver.

Eventually my family and I decided to move back to Ontario so that we could be close to the grand parents. We settled in London and have been here for the last 12 years. Concurrent with the making of instruments the music teaching has continued through the years with my being able to offer lessons in Classical Guitar, Recorders and Folk Harp.

The spin off from the making and teaching has been my involvement with the organisation of the Ontario Chapter of the International Society of Folk Harpers and Makers. A harp circle in London of students and friends of the harp led to the formation of the London Portable Harp Company that flourished for about three years. We had a good time playing for ourselves and others and have a cassette to remember ourselves by.

This may be more than you want to know about me, but if you got this far I hope it was at least mildly interesting.

  Roger Muma, 1157 St. Anthony Rd., London, ON, Canada, N6H 2R2, Ph. (519) 649-0309.