Principal Harp, Sarasota Orchestra
Head of Harp Department, Luzerne Music Center
I consider myself extraordinarily lucky to have studied harp with Jara Goodrich from age 5-18 when I left for college. Jara is hands down one of the greatest pedagogues I have seen, and one of the strongest influences in my life. Because of her teaching and encouragement, I chose to study harp performance, first auditioning for and receiving the one undergraduate harp opening at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and now professionally as principal harp of the Sarasota Orchestra.
Jara has an incredible gift for instilling in young students the tools they need to execute their artistic vision. She tirelessly insisted on the mechanics of technique, never letting a bad thumb, uneven arpeggio or flat wrist slip through the cracks. She also had a very high rhythmic standard which I know contributed to me being prepared later to play with orchestras from the New World Symphony to the Cleveland Orchestra. Whe I was a teenager, she guided me as I received first prize in the American String Teacher’s Association’s National Solo Competition, and prepared me for solo and chamber performances as the youngest harp student at the Bowdoin Music Festival.
As a young professional now myself, I so often try to imagine what Jara would say to a particular issue I see in a student. All of my young students have heard many stories and examples of the way she guided my musical development.
I would be so honored and privileged if any of my students were ever able to study with Jara, and consider her current students incredibly lucky to learn from such a caring and brilliant teacher.
Virginia Wilder Cross
For the past two years, I have had the good fortune to take harp lessons from Jara, and during that time she has earned my utmost respect, not only for her ability to teach me how to play a difficult instrument, but also for her patience and concern for me as well as for all her students.
Jara works tirelessly to encourage each student to work hard, have fun, and create some very beautiful music. Not only does she teach us how to play the harp, for some students she makes this experience possible by providing harps, financial help, and far more time than she has ever been compensated for. In fact over the time I have been one of her students, I have witnessed her compassion for each and every one of us, as individuals regardless of our age or ability.
Kristen Evah Hellewell
USM School of Music Alumna
I joined USM in the fall of 2007 after auditioning and being accepted into the School of Music in a minor program. I began studying harp with Jara Goodrich in private lessons as well as chamber music harp ensemble. I am writing to express my gratitude for the education I received.
Ms. Goodrich was a phenominal professor of harp, besowing her knowledge and passion for the instrument and music theory. While under her instruction I learned essential components of harp technique, care and repertoire that I would use time and time again in my post graduate years.
In harp ensemble, Ms. Goodrich brought pieces that complimented each of our abilities and strengths while challenging us technically and musically. She organized annual recitals, as well as encouraged those of us minoring in music to participate in recital class. she was a strict teacher to the Salzedo technique of playing harp, while also encouraging us to push our individual limits in music.
Not only did she invite me to stretch my abilities in solo pieces, but also in collaborative work with other musicians majoring in USM’s music program. She supported me in finding gigs and work outside of classroom walls, and encouraged me to network in the community with wedding, funeral and background music gigs. She taught me about working as a musician, the basics of self-employment, charging, contracts and essential tools for being a free lance harpist in the state of Maine.
I feel eternally grateful for the skills I learned in music theory and practice through the USM program, and especially to my wonderful harp professor, Jara Goodrich, for bestowing her wealth of knowledge and expertise.
Parent of a Harp Student
I first met Ms. Jara Goodrich when I was doing college visits with my daughter Kristen in 2006 and 2007. we met with her regarding the harp program at USM. The harp is a unique instrument and we were so pleased to find a college that offered harp as well as Kristen’s linguistics major. Of all the colleges we visited and all the people we met during that process, it was Ms. Goodrich who tugged at our heart strings who finalized my daughter’s choice of USM of the others.
Her professional and caring nature carried through my daughter’s 4 years there and a hopefully lifetime friendship was formed. Her instructions were invaluable to my daughter’s lifetime love of the harp and her proficiency. We met with her each year at the final recitals and were absolutely bowled over by the quality of the performances. It is so important to be able to offer such a unique program so that a young person can follow a dream, no matter how obscure it might be.
On a personal note, we felt that Ms. Goodrich kept an eye out and provided a support system up there at USM during a time when my daughter was wading through uncharted waters of her college experience. It was no accident that she did as well as she did and certainly Ms. Goodrich can be credited with being a huge support system and influence. You cannot start to measure the lasting impact Ms. Goodrich had on my daughter.
Deborah L. Hardy
Parent of a Harp Student
Our daughter has been studying harp with USM faculty instructor Jara Goodrich for the past four years. The experience has been a very satisfying one for our entire family.
We find Ms. Goodrich to be an excellent teacher who cares deeply about her students, both personally and professionally. She has been highly supportive of Katie’s aspirations and has gone the extra mile in many regards. She also has been flexible and accommodating, while managing never to compromise Katie’s needs as an emerging musician.
We enjoy Ms. Goodrich’s enthusiasm for her instrument and her generosity in sharing her expertise and experience, and we are grateful to have had the good fortune to engage her as Katie’s teacher.