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Sunday Add-on to your Weekend:
Deborah Henson-Conant's
Instant Harp Ensemble

improv immersion

About the Presenter   Itinerary   Registration

She's back! Somerset is collaborating with Deborah Henson-Conant again to bring this brand new full-day harp ensemble experience to our festival. Deborah's add-on programs at the festival are always popular. Find out why! You may think you'd be too tired by Sunday, but her programs are always an energy boost and an exhilarating experience.

What if you had a set of “Instant Ensemble” pieces that you could play together with anyone - pieces you could play just for fun -- or make a mini-performance out of them with a harp ensemble?

What if they were like musical games that were easy and fun to play - but sounded like music to a listener - and had room for every level of player from beginners with a single note vocabulary - to a virtuosic soloist?

That’s what you get in “Instant Ensemble!”

One of the most energizing and enjoyable things you can do is to play music with other people in a group where you can let go of perfectionism, and just enjoy the experience of playing together. The music you’ll learn in “Instant Ensemble” is created specifically for that.

There’s a long history of music like this in nearly every musical tradition from classical to folk, from Latin to Jazz. They’re fun to play, they sound great - and at the same time they improve your skills, your listening, your sense of rhythm - and they break the trap of perfectionism by giving you back the ‘play’ in playing music.

Think for a minute about team sports. Any group of people who know the basic rules of soccer can play together if they have a ball and a field. They don’t have to know each other. They don’t even have to speak the same language, because they know how the game works. Well, you can do the same with music. And that’s what you’ll do in ‘Instant Ensemble.’ Each piece you’ll learn is like a game.

You’ll be able to play these pieces with anyone else who knows them and you’ll be able to easily show other people how to play them. That means you can bring the music back to your own harp circle or music ensemble - or better yet, bring your whole harp circle to the workshop and learn them together! And if you don’t have a harp circle yet, you can use what you learn in this workshop, to create one!

The big difference between team sports and instant-ensemble music games is that, with music, people of varying technical skills - from beginner to professional - can all play together and each enjoy both comfort - and challenge - on their own level.

The other big difference between team sports and Instant Ensemble Music is that, with music, everyone wins and nobody is ever left out.

What You'll Get in this Full-Day Workshop:

PLUS when you sign up for “Instant Ensemble” you get access to the online version of this class at Deborah’s “Hip Harp Academy.” That means you can brush up on the pieces before you come to the Somerset Sunday workshop if you want - and review them after the workshop is over, and you’ll have a full day of fun PLAYING TOGETHER.


Itinerary & What to Bring:

Like with any good improv, we’ll start with a guideline–and likely diverge from it, but the schedule will roughly follow:
9-10:30am
11am-12:30pm
Break for lunch.Last chance to visit the Exhibit Hall too!
1:30-3pm
3:30-5pm
What to Wear: Please dress comfortably and come ready to move and to play.
What to Bring: You can bring a notebook and pen if you want to take notes, but please don’t bring a music stand!


deborah henson-conantAbout Deborah Henson-Conant

Deborah Henson-Conant is a Grammy-Nominated Composer/Performer, creator of her own online school that teaches hundreds of harp players world wide improvisation, arrangement and performance techniques. She the author of the bimonthly column “Harpist Reinvented” for the Harp Column. She’s created and performed her own music and music-theater works in one-woman shows and with symphony orchestras throughout the U.S. She's released more than a dozen recordings including the Grammy-Nominated “Invention & Alchemy” of her original works with symphony orchestra. Her mentorship program “Harness Your Muse” coaches harpists in creating their own original shows and recordings.

Other DHC workshops at Somerset


Costs & Registration

Instant Harp Ensemble: Only $100 if you add it to your full festival registration during our Early-Bird discount period, which ends May 1. If you just come for the single day it's $150 during early-bird. After May 1, it's $150 to add it to your registration ticket. Although we'd like for you to sign-up in advance, you can register on-site.

Location & Hotel

The event takes place at the Sheraton Parsippany, 199 Smith Rd., Parsippany NJ. Attendees can take advantage of the Somerset discount hotel rate of $119.99/night. For more details on the location, maps, and transportation options see the Location page.

Questions? Need more information?

Call Kathy DeAngelo at 856-795-7637 or email Deborah Henson-Conant


If you find a mistake in any of these pages please let me know!

Updated 2/1/19
Workshop descriptions and schedules are subject to change. Refresh your browser to make sure you have the latest version of this page.