Australia’s best known harpist shares his four greatest life lessons, and explains how Harpo Marx changed his life.

I remember two early and memorable experiences with the harp. One was the extraordinary sight of Harpo Marx in A Night at the Opera. In the midst of significant chaos, he calmed the madding crowd with some sublime harp playing. The second was attending a Melbourne Symphony concert and being captivated by Huw Jones who would eventually become my teacher.

It seemed that while I knew about the harp, the experience of seeing and hearing it live reinforced the impression that Harpo Marx had made all those years earlier – this was an instrument that was enticing, beautiful, unusual and, in many ways, powerful. This was certainly the case when I had the opportunity to take up the Italian baroque triple harp. What a mighty instrument with three rows of strings – 88 in total!

Unintentionally I have found myself challenging a few norms over the years, and mostly no one’s thought twice about it. Creating a baroque band based around the Italian triple harp? Sure. Putting blu-tack on the strings to create a new sound? Why not? Can I...