NOVICE harpists were on cloud nine at an introductory evening in Basingstoke where they had the chance to master the basics of the instrument.

The Tafelmusik Music School in New Road was packed with harps of all shapes and sizes, from diminutive lap harps to massive concert harps, and there were plenty of people eager to have a go.

Paula Smith, the harp teacher who organised the evening, said: "There were some people who had played before and had the chance to try some new harps, and there were other people who had never even seen a harp before.

"I think everybody enjoyed themselves. There were plenty of people just hanging out and playing - even the people who had never played before had picked up some simple pieces by the end."

Despite harps looking like a very complicated instrument, Miss Smith insists they are easy to learn and play.

She said: "The harp is very enjoyable and relaxing to play. It sounds great straightaway so it is an ideal instrument for beginners of any age."

For more information about how to start playing the harp, call Miss Smith on 01256 810555 or go to