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Workshops: A-C

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Accompaniment & Arranging Ideas & Technique: Joanna Mell
Type: Hands-on Level: Int-Adv When: Fri. 3:30-5pm Where: TBD
Put your individual stamp on your favorite piece! Explore the wide variety of ways to bring out a tune’s beauty and variety with interesting left-hand pattern that use melodic and rhythmic variations. Your accompaniment toolbox will get stocked with glissandi, harmonics, cascading arpeggios, and bisbigliandi. Joanna will use tunes including Amazing Grace, Be Thou My Vision and Over the Rainbow and you can bring your favorite for an accompaniment makeover. Some sight-reading skills are helpful but suitable for both sight and ear learners.
Accompaniment & Backup: Kim Robertson
Type: Hands-on Level: Int. When: Sat. 1:30-3pm Where: TBD
Begin to think like a "rhythm instrument," learn damping technique using flat-handed bass lines, power chords, syncopated patterns, and tone variations that will help you effectively back up other instruments or voice. Also included are some tips for sitting in (and faking it!) at Celtic sessions (like the one we're having on Saturday night).
Accompanying Other Instruments: William Jackson
Type: Hands-on Level: Int. When: Fri. 3:30-5pm Where: TBD
The modes used in Scottish and Irish traditional music will be discussed. Some approaches to accompanying other instruments and ideas for playing in sessions by improvising chord patterns will be covered. Take this workshop and have a headstart on playing in the Saturday night Irish session.
Along the Silk Road with the Kugo: Listening Room: Tomoko Sugawara
Type: Concert Level: Any When: Fri. 3:30-4:30pm Where: TBD
The Angular Harp dominated in Asia since before 1900 BC and was played across the whole continent under various names. The Japanese called it “Kugo.” Tomoko Sugawara will play a kugo replica in this Listening Room experience. Her Chinese and Japanese repertoire hails from the 9th and the 11th centuries and her Ottoman pieces were written seven centuries later. She'll also include Spanish pieces from the 13th century. This is a coffeehouse-style informal concert. Bring your favorite beverage and sit, relax and enjoy the music, up close and personal. This listening room is approximately 60 minutes.
Amplification & Recording Strategies: Patrice Fisher
Type: Hands-on Level: Any When: Sun. 9-10:30am Where: TBD
When sound engineers see us coming, they don’t know what to do with us. Patrice will give you some helpful tips about amplifying and recording your harp. Explore several options, including using external and internal microphones, pickups, equalizers, electronic effects and electric harps. Special guest presenter is Patrice's husband Carlos Valladares, a recording engineer. Pick Carlos’s brain with your amplification questions and recording challenges.
Anything Goes: Arranging and Composing: Rhett Barnwell
Type: Hands-on Level: Any When: Sat. 9:30-11am Where: TBD
In this workshop you'll look at the methods to the madness of arranging and composing for the lever and pedal harp, and discover that there is more than one approach. Learn how to create beautiful music out of a row of strings; by trial and tribulation or taking a more left brain approach. Rhett will lead you in how to discover making even simple arrangements of your favorite tunes by finding your “style”, selecting a mood, a key, a meter and other mechanics from a musical “toolbox”. Get down to the nitty gritty of classical forms, look at tricks of the trade, and figure out how to make things sound like they are meant for the harp. In the end, you'll discover that anything goes – if it sounds good, it IS good!
Authentic Carolan: Maire niChathasaigh
Type: Hands-on Level: Int. When: Fri. 9:30-11am Where: TBD
Harper/composer Turlough O’Carolan composed in a number of different styles from baroque to old Gaelic harp music. Gain a fresh perspective on Carolan’s work as Máire teaches you snippets in their specific styles to help you experience and hear the differences. Come learn a beautiful tune or two and find out how to approach your arranging in a new way. Taught by ear but music will be given out at the beginning of the workshop. Recording devices welcome.
Bedside Harp Special Moments: Edie Elkan
Type: Demo Level: Any When: Where: TBD
The harp is the only instrument mentioned in the Bible in the context of healing. Edie will demonstrate how those in Bedside Harp play to soothe, comfort and offer hope to patients, visitors and staff in healthcare settings. Hear what and how they play and how people respond in this heartfelt session.
Beginners Boost #1: Debbie Brewin-Wilson
Type: Hands-on Level: Nov.-Beg When: Fri. 9:30-11am Where: TBD
If you've just started to play the harp, this special workshop builds on skills Debbie and Carol Thompson covered in the Beginners' Boot Camp on Thursday, though you can drop-in on this workshop without attending Thursday's workshop. Debbie will be reinforcing harp fundamentals and skills that you need to make progress in playing music, particularly if you don't have a teacher. Get comfortable with the instrument and yourself! Music-reading ability is not necessary.
Beginners Boost #2: Debbie Brewin-Wilson
Type: Hands-on Level: Nov.-Beg When: Sat. 9:30-11am Where: TBD
If you've just started to play the harp, this special workshop builds on skills Debbie and Carol Thompson covered in the Beginners' Boot Camp on Thursday, though you can drop-in on this workshop without attending Thursday's workshop. Debbie will be reinforcing harp fundamentals and skills that you need to make progress in playing music, particularly if you don't have a teacher. Get comfortable with the instrument and yourself! Music-reading ability is not necessary.
Beginners Boot Camp: Debbie Brewin-Wilson
Type: Hands-on Level: Nov.-Beg When: Thurs. 10am-4:30pm Where: TBD
This all-day Thursday workshop is especially geared for absolutely new players. Carol and Debbie enjoy helping beginners get off to a good start so if you've just gotten your harp and want to start building a solid foundation for learning and playing it, sign-up for this experience. To help beginners get the most out of their Somerset experience, Carol Thompson and Debbie Brewin-Wilson will guide you through the basics of tuning, hand position, placing, playing, and forming chords while having fun and being introduced to a tune. Lots of hands-on! See our Beginners page for workshops we highly recommend for the rest of your Somerset weekend.
Beginners Boot Camp: Carol Thompson
Type: Hands-on Level: Nov.-Beg When: Thurs. 10am-4:30pm Where: TBD
This all-day Thursday workshop is especially geared for absolutely new players. Carol and Debbie enjoy helping beginners get off to a good start so if you've just gotten your harp and want to start building a solid foundation for learning and playing it, sign-up for this experience. To help beginners get the most out of their Somerset experience, Carol Thompson and Debbie Brewin-Wilson will guide you through the basics of tuning, hand position, placing, playing, and forming chords while having fun and being introduced to a tune. Lots of hands-on! See our Beginners page for workshops we highly recommend for the rest of your Somerset weekend.
Blissful Tone & Phrasing: Sunita Staneslow
Type: Hands-on Level: Int. When: Sat. 9:30-11am Where: TBD
Add subtlety and passion to your playing by expanding and controlling your tone and letting the music breathe. Work on articulation, angle of the fingertip, where and how you pluck the strings in this workshop with a master of tone and timing. Discover how you can add real depth to your playing without compromising simplicity. The difference between just nice and truly therapeutic music lies in the the control of your tone and phrasing. Timing really is everything.
Breakout Bass lines: Sunita Staneslow
Type: Hands-on Level: Beg-Int When: Fri. 1:30-3pm Where: TBD
It's time your left hand got out of a rut. Creating a simple, yet effective, bassline can give the illusion of complex harmonies. Less can be more, especially on the harp. Sunita will show you how to harmonize songs using a simple descending and ascending bass lines. This can become a foolproof way to improvise over your left hand that will sound beautiful even if you are just starting to learn the harp. Understanding a simple bass line will pave your way to improvising between songs and is especially useful in therapeutic environments.
Breton Music Introduction: Nikolaz Cadoret
Type: Hands-on Level: Beg. When: Thurs. 1:30-3pm Where: TBD
Even if Britany is one of the Celtic countries, its music is very distinct from the one of Scotland or Ireland. Less virtuoso, it hides treasuries of subtleness and variations. Today more than ever, it's deeply linked to dance and social life. Lever harp only began appearing in Breton music in the late 50’s. ). In this intro workshop, Nikolaz will teach a piece, by ear, and lead you through melodic variations and basic left-hand accompaniment.
Breton Music: the Next Step: Nikolaz Cadoret
Type: Hands-on Level: Int-Adv When: Fri. 1:30-3pm Where: TBD
Learn to dance, sing and play Breton music on harp to explore its subtleties and variations. This workshop is literally the Next Step up from Nikolaz's Introduction workshop! No music stand needed in this lively "by ear" workshop that will demonstrate the connectedness between music and culture. Nikolaz will give you the tools for arrangements using drones, scales and variations.
Build a Harp 1: Dennis Waring
Type: Hands-on Level: Any When: Sat. 9:30-11am Where: TBD
A 2-part workshop by Professor Dennis Waring of Waring Harps, who will guide you through the construction of their 19-string, corrugated cardboard and wood harp, built from their unique kit. Kits can be purchased at the workshop for the discounted price of $110. All tools and materials are provided. The 2nd session is in the afternoon.
Build a Harp 2: Dennis Waring
Type: Hands-on Level: Any When: Sat. 1:30-3pm Where: TBD
2nd half of this workshop. In the first part you built the harp and in the 2nd part you have to add the strings! Professor Dennis Waring of Waring Harps will guide you through stringing your corrugated cardboard and wood harp, built from their unique kit. Strings are included in the kit. At the end of this session you'll have a completed harp!
Building Muscle Memory: Carol Thompson
Type: Hands-on Level: Beg. When: Fri. 1:30-3pm Where: TBD
When you’re new to the harp and haven’t been playing all that long, it seems to be an uphill climb getting your fingers placed to play a phrase. You need to develop muscle memory! In this workshop, you’ll discover the joys (yes, the joys) of playing scales and arpeggios and learn how to place on key musical intervals. The goal of this workshop is to give you practice warm-up tools that will increase finger dexterity, build confidence in your playing and create fluidity in your phrasing.
Celtic Connections: Rachel Hair
Type: Hands-on Level: Any When: Fri. 3:30-5pm Where: TBD
Take a trip in this workshop and find the many smaller countries that have a Celtic Connection with wonderfully vibrant music. Explore the music of lesser known Celtic nations, and learn how Nordic countries and Canadian provinces fit into the Celtic World atlas. What gives their music their special flavor? Find out! You'll have other ample opportunities at the festival to explore the traditional music of Ireland, Scotland and Brittany. Tunes will be taught by ear with music provided at the end of the workshop.
Celtic Service: Debbie Brewin-Wilson
Type: Level: Any When: Sun. 8am Where: TBD
Debbie is our official pastor in residence! Join her for her Sunday morning worship service and make "a joyful noise".
Chords with Character: Anne Sullivan
Type: Hands-on Level: Int. When: Sat. 9:30-11am Where: TBD
Beautiful and expressive chords are essential to playing the harp. Give your chords character. Anne will teach you the secrets to placing them accurately and quickly, playing them cleanly, rolling them evenly, with right hand, left hand and hands together.
Christmas Carol Creativity: Kim Robertson
Type: Hands-on Level: Int. When: Sat. 3:30-5pm Where: TBD
Known for her soulful Christmas recordings, Kim will share some secrets for arranging Christmas music. She'll cover classic and lesser-known carols and give you solid tips on choosing intros & chords patterns, substitute harmonies, creating medleys and other innovations that will breathe new life into standard carols. Sample tunes will be on lead sheets.
Classical Gems for Therapeutic Harpists: Joanna Mell
Type: Hands-on Level: Int-Adv When: Sun. 9-10:30am Where: TBD
Classical music is full of beautiful pieces that should be a component in every clinical musician’s repertoire. Don’t let lever changes scare you away from adding these beautiful, soothing tunes to your repertoire. Joanna will present many examples of pieces that are useful for soothing, uplifting, and normalization of breathing and heart rates. You'll walk out of this workshop knowing how to edit the melodies and accompany pieces like Clair de Lune (Debussy), To a Wild Rose (MacDowell), On Wings of Song (Mendelssohn), Arioso (Bach) and others. Sight-reading needed.
Clinical Harp & Impromptu Composing: Joanna Mell
Type: Hands-on Level: Beg-Adv When: Sat. 1:30-3pm Where: TBD
An important skill and asset for every clinical musician is the ability to play extemporaneously in a clinical setting when familiar music is not appropriate for the patient. This workshop will teach the building blocks of improvising and "on the fly" composition at the harp by using simple musical phrases and chord progressions to build a beautiful new tune. Get ready to let the music happen.
Collections of Edward Bunting: Grainne Hambly
Type: Hands-on Level: Int-Adv When: Fri. 1:30-3pm Where: TBD
This workshop will include some background information on the Belfast Harpers Assembly of 1792, the collections of Edward Bunting, and their significance in preserving the 17th and 18th century harp repertoire. Some tunes from the collections will be taught, and ideas on how to adapt the published piano arrangements for harp will be discussed. Harpers going on the 2018 Harp Tour will want to take this workshop to preview their visit to Belfast.
Compleat Harpist: Rhett Barnwell
Type: Hands-on Level: Any When: Fri. 9:30-11am Where: TBD
By taking a progressive approach, from mental preparation, to “technique tuneups” to decreasing performance anxiety, this workshop will look at the “whole picture” of making you a better musician and harpist overall. The session will be very interactive, and all participants will be encouraged to play individually during the course of the workshops. Some issues addressed will be: effective warmups, breathing and relaxation, finger technique, how to really learn a piece, memorization, and actually enjoying performing in front of others! Rhett will also touch briefly on practical matters such as tuning, arranging and repertoire selection. There will be time for individual attention in a masterclass setting and ample opportunity for Q & A.
Contemporary Cool: Nancy Hurrell
Type: Hands-on Level: Int-Adv When: Sat. 9:30-11am Where: TBD
Contemporary songs played on the harp will please (and surprise) your audiences at wedding receptions and parties. Adapting piano versions of hits by Jason Mraz, Adele, John Legend and others will get you noticed and lead to more gigs. Learn to arrange new tunes easily and get performance tips from Nancy, whose professional career includes five years as harpist for Tea at the Ritz-Carlton, Boston.
Count Me In!: Janet Witman
Type: Hands-on Level: Beg-Int. When: Sun. 9-10:30am Where: TBD
The most important music reading skill after learning your notes is time so come to this workshop to learn how to count rhythms at sight by counting aloud. If you can say it, you can play it! Janet will help you understand time signatures, simple and compound meters, how to count dotted rhythms, eighth notes, sixteenth notes and triplets. Music stand will be helpful. Bring a pencil too..
Create and Compose: Maeve Gilchrist
Type: Hands-on Level: Int. When: Sat. 3:30-5pm Where: TBD
Join Maeve for this journey into the creative process and learn how to tap your own inner creativity and build a foundation for composing your own material. Tips for accompaniment and arranging will also be explored as well as phrasing. This is a very interactive workshop where participants will enjoy collaborating with Maeve to create a tune for the festival.
Create Hymn Arrangements from Lead Sheets: Joanna Mell
Type: Hands-on Level: Int. When: Sun. 3:45-4:45pm Where: TBD
This workshop is part of The Heavenly Harp Sunday Special.
Most hymns are simple 16-bar tunes that make them easy to arrange and accompany. Joanna will take you through several hymns and show you how to create arrangements and improv with a variety of left hand patterns, from basic to advanced. Start off with some basic arpeggios and then work them up to more advanced levels and see the difference it makes. Of course, you can take everything you experience in this class and apply it to pop tunes as well.
Cuban Rhythms & Spice: Alfredo Ortiz
Type: Hands-on Level: Int. When: Sun. 9-10:30am Where: TBD
Add some famous Cuban rhythmic styles to your repertoire. From the "Cha-cha-cha" to the "conga," Cuban rhythms are beloved around the world. Bring your harp and wear comfortable shoes to learn some very easy pieces and even learn some basic dancing steps! Easy printed music will be provided. You will also learn about the famous romantic Cuban "bolero" music style for a contrasting touch! Did you know Alfredo was born in Cuba?

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


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Updated 4/16/18
Workshop descriptions and schedules are subject to change. Refresh your browser to make sure you have the latest version of this page.