6-year-old shows budding talent for playing harp
Standing beside her mini Scottish harp, 6-year-old Kiera Kaselak is matched for height.
But it didn't stop the new musician from taking home a championship title for playing the instrument.
The Dublin Pinney Elementary School first-grader doesn't read music, but last month won the National Scottish Harp Competition in the 17 years old and younger division at the Ligonier Highland Games in Pennsylvania.
"She has an ear for it," said her mother, Lindsay Kaselak. "She doesn't read music yet. She caught on very quickly."
Kiera, who has been playing the Scottish harp for a year, also is a member of the Dunham Harps Ensemble, which also won a gold medal at the competition.
"(Candyce Dunham) invites students to be in the ensemble," Kaselak said, adding Kiera had a week to learn her part in the ensemble before the competition.
Kiera said she is happy to play her harp and relishes her daily practice. She gets weekly lessons via Skype from Dunham and in-person lessons every few months when the teacher makes it into Ohio.
"I love it," Kiera said.
The young musician first saw a harp being played on a family vacation last year and it was love at first sight.
"We were in the Grand Canyon and I saw someone playing the harp," Kiera said. "He played The Little Mermaid."
After the dinner serenade, Kaselak said her daughter harped on the subject nonstop.
"We got home in May and every day she said she wanted to play it," Kaselak said. "Neither my husband or I are musical. We thought it'd be good."
A miniature harp was procured for Kiera after her mother met with Dunham, a frequent Dublin Irish Festival performer. Then, lessons started.
"We're getting her a big harp in December," Kaselak said. "She's flown through her books, so we have to get her a big one (with more strings)."
The harp competition last month wasn't Kiera's first. At a contest in Wellington, Ohio, in June, she took home the Most Promising Harper award.
At the Pennsylvania competition, Kiera showed no stage fright, especially playing against middle school students, Kaselak said.
"I want to be a harpist," Kiera said of her life plans.
The first-grader said she loves art and also takes gymnastic classes, but playing the harp is her top priority.
"She heard a Taylor Swift song on the radio and figured it out on the harp," Kaselak said.