Somerset Harp Festival Online

2022 Archive Videos

archive videos

Here are all the workshop videos we've kept online from our 2020 and 2021 festivals. Workshops in the Archive are listed here alphabetically by presenter's last name. To see the description, simply click on the title to unfold the listing.

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Erik Ask-Upmark    Nancy Beal   Eduardo Betancourt    Phililp Boulding    Deette Bunn Nicolas Carter    Edmar Castaneda    Mairi Chaimbeul    Edie Elkan    Events    Aryeh Frankfurter    Maeve Gilchrist    Robbin Gordon-Cartier    Rachel Hair    Grainne Hambly    Deborah Henson-Conant    Ann Heymann    Nancy Hurrell    William Jackson    Cass Jenzurski    Liza Jensen    Laoise Kelly    Tristan LeGovic    Karen Loomis   Lisa Lynne    Christy-Lyn Marais    John Metras    Alfredo Rolando Ortiz    Christa Patton    Ailie Robertson    Kim Robertson    Sunita Staneslow    Tomoko Sugawara    Christina Tourin

This workshop is meant to expand the repertoire for fans of Nordic/Scandinavian music or those who would like to add to the 101 workshop. Tunes will be taught by ear (sheet music will follow) and Erik will focus on different types of polskas and other types of Swedish tunes, looking especially at how to achieve a truly danceable rhythm. Lots of work with left-hand accompaniment and techniques will help make your melodies lively and danceable.

If you're looking to spice up your playing, take this workshop! Erik will give you many different ideas and tricks that you can use on all kinds of music that will help you create your own arrangements. You will first learn an easy melody by ear, and we’ll use that to build a complete arrangement with accompaniment, ornaments, variations and left hand technique. Then Erik will show you some of his “party tricks” like extending the range of your harp, changing its sound, how to use strumming and vibrato, plus using the levers in cool ways.

Whatever your level as a therapeutic harper, you'll want to find out how a double-strung harp can be your best friend in therapy work. Based on her thousands of hours of experience using her double-strung in therapeutic work, Nan will treat you to a brief harp therapy session, share stories and demonstrate how the resonance possible with a double-strung harp can be doubly effective in healing. The ability to improvise easily is vital when doing therapeutic work and Nan will show you how effortless this is on a double-strung. In this demo you'll be given concrete suggestions of various double-strung techniques that are most useful in harp therapy. Handouts will be provided. Harps are not needed to enjoy this workshop.

What is the Tropical music of Venezuela? The “Orquidea” rhythm created by Hugo Blanco composer of the song “Moliendo Cafe” uses 4/4 but it’s distinctive sounds can provide the perfect underpinnings for building your general improvising skills. Eduardo will have you doing some fun fingering exercises to achieve faster and clearer play that will free up some of your creativity to improvise. Play by ear musicians and sight-readers will be comfortable in this class.

The "arpa llanera" and its music come from the plains of Venezuela and has distinctive rhythms that you'll want to try out. This is an introduction to playing in 3/4, 6/8 and 5/8 with some of the basic Latin techniques that will add a whole lot of flair to your repertoire.

Whether you want to play with one other person or a number of other musicians, there are many tools of the trade for developing interesting arrangements to not only showcase each person's talents but perk up the ears of your audience. With over 40 years experience playing with Magical Strings and in shows with many other artists with diverse instrumention, Philip has a lot of advice and hands-on suggestions to share in this workshop.

From the moment over 40 years ago that he first heard the lush warm sounds of Keola Beamer playing guitar in the ‘real old style’, Philip thought this music (with 200+ year old origins from the Spanish cowboys in Hawaii) could just as readily have evolved on the harp. Slack-keys refers to the dropped open guitar tunings. Since he hadn't been playing harp long, Philip has developed this style for the harp, using his own guitar experience and a collaboration with Keola himself. Philip has ‘translated’ this style for the harp that is accessible to all harp players. Music for ‘Ohana Kai’ and ‘Warm Island’ will be available in the handout download. (Note: sound files also available from Magical strings Bandcamp site)

Yes! You can begin on a double-strung! This workshop is for those who are new to harping and the double-strung. You will learn how a double-strung is different from a single strung harp, how to hold your harp, basic harp technique and easy exercises appropriate for any kind of harp, and how to use them effectively on the double-strung harp. You will also learn about basic hand shapes for chords, and how to turn those into fun rhythm patterns as well as beginning techniques like echoing and overlapping that are unique to double-strung harp.

If you already play the harp, this is your chance to learn how the double-strung adds interest to your arrangements. We'll learn how to take advantage of never having your hands get in each others' way and work around having to change levers. You'll get solid new exercises to assist you with hand independence and new ideas for "thinking outside the box" when creating your arrangements.

Here is an entertaining way to spice up your Christmas repertoire! Nicolas Carter has put a new twist on beloved North American traditional Christmas pieces so you can wake up your listeners with joyful rhythms and a delightful surprise to the ear. Nicolas makes all his workshops FUN, so he'll show you how to play "Joy to the World” as a Colombian Cumbia, a very popular Latin dance music style that will truly bring joy to the song.

Everyone is able to improvise music and discover their own melody hidden within them. Nicolas believes it's an intuitive approach to composing music and he'll prove it to you in this workshop. The improvisational exercises will facilitate defining melodic phrases to create an original composition. Even though this workshop will be recorded for later replay, have your own recording device (like on your smartphone) handy to capture the specific bits that strike you most. Nicolas has been composing and recording music for over 25 years and his compositions combine styles of music from around the world.

Most of the world's cultures include some kind of waltz in their dance repertoire. In this fun workshop, learn about the distinct characteristics of waltzes in Latin American music and how specific Latin harp techniques will make you sound like an entire band. Nicolas will teach the music "by ear." Nicolas will use the Paraguayan waltz Lena Luna. You can hear him play it on the video on his bio page. Bring a recording device to jog your memory later.

Smaller than even most lap harps, how can you make the most out of a 10-string lyre? Nicolas explores many ways to make music with the lyre, techniques, musical patterns, rhythms, special effects and even half steps notes. You will be surprised with the musical possibilities. Check out his quick little video: http:// youtube:

Joropo was a Spanish word that originally meant "a party", but now it has come to mean a type of music and dance that identifies Venezuelans. Typically, played on a Llanera, a Venezuelan harp, Edmar will teach the bass lines and chord progressions and get both your hands working together. You don't need a llanera to take this workshop! Any harp will do.

In this workshop you'll be building on fundamental Latin rhythms and focusing on Salsa, the roots of which lie in eastern Cuba but grew and developed in New York City during the 60s. Different regions of Latin America and the United States have distinct salsa styles of their own, such as Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Cali Colombia, L.A. and New York styles. Both hands will get a heavy-duty workout and you’ll leave this workshop feeling energized and accomplished!

One of the most important musical skills you can develop is the ability to learn by ear. It allows you to really dig into the core of different styles by transcribing and learning from recordings of the musicians you love, to dive into playing situations where we might be unfamiliar with the music with more confidence, and get the music that’s in our heads onto our instruments. Màiri will share her top tips on techniques, tools and exercises for developing your ear, looking at hearing and identifying patterns and shapes, and getting out of your head when it all feels a bit much! Targeted to any level player who is inexperienced in learning by ear or wants to improve that skill.

You’ve heard people play jigs, reels, strathspeys and more, and you love it, but when you try to play these tunes yourself, especially when learning from sheet music, it just doesn’t sound the same! If this rings true, this workshop is for you! Join Màiri to explore the rhythmic nuances of some of these Celtic tunes, and work through some tips and exercises on how to get that special lilt into your playing.

Rhythm and groove drive what makes music sing, and makes us feel good, and makes other musicians extra fun to play with. Màiri will show you exercises and tools for focusing on rhythm and groove in your playing. You’ll learn about syncopation, poly-rhythms, odd meters, using your metronome creatively and ways to split grooves between the hands.

When you accompany yourself or others singing, do you find yourself coming back to the same patterns again and again? In this workshop, Màiri will teach some groove patterns to help your songs shine, bringing momentum and vitality to your accompaniment. After learning the basic groove pattern, split between the hands, Màiri will walk you through different ways of developing the pattern, and how to apply it to different tempos, chord progressions, and feels.

Clear off your music stand, breathe in and out, and just sit down and play If you want to really play music from the heart, Edie will give you the confidence to creatively improvise and noodle without sheet music in front of you. A great workshop for beginners.

You've heard of harp therapy and therapeutic music training programs, and you are interested in this field, but how does doing this work differ from a wedding gig, playing at church or a recital? Come and find out what therapeutic musicians do every day and what it's like. Discover what a fulfilling day can be and what special skills are needed. Come if you're interested in the topic. You don't know what you don't know.

Edie will share her repertoire and programming tips on her work in Lifecare Communities which includes conducting Sing Alongs and Name That Tune games in Independent Living, Assisted Living and Dementia Units. This is a hands-on on how to play chords to accompany yourself singing along with the seniors you'll be playing for which is much easier than having to deal with both melody and harmony. Edie will show you various ways to play the chords—from simple one-hand accompaniment to somewhat more complex stuff, with focus mainly on I, IV, V chords. You'll be singing and playing some simple chordal accompaniment in no time! Participants for the whole workshop will receive a discount coupon for Edie’s Strike the Harp and Join the Chorus, a guide on using the harp as an instrument of accompaniment.

You can replay 2020's Carolan Marathon featuring Grainne Hambly, Kim Robertson, Dominique Dodge, and Kathy DeAngelo in a celebration of Carolan's 350th birthday. We had over 150 in the room playing along on some of his most popular tunes.

In honor of Turlough O'Carolan's 350th birthday Somerset sponsored a Carolan Play-Along for Lá na Cruite, Harp Day, on Oct. 17 with Grainne Hambly & William Jackson and Cormac de Barra in Ireland, and Kim Robertson, Dominique Dodge & Kathy DeAngelo in the US. Here's the sequence of tunes on this video and the final playlist: Aibhlin McCrann of Harp Ireland, which organized Harp Day, gives introductory remarks.

Kim Robertson, Eduardo Betancourt, Ailie Robertson, Aryeh Frankfurter & Lisa Lynne

Mairi Chaimbeul, Grainne Hambly & William Jackson, Tristan Le Govic, Maeve Gilchrist

Dominique Dodge, Nicolas Carter, Grainne Hambly & William Jackson and Maeve Gilchrist. We also have special end-of-concert song and celebration of 20 years of festival.

Shelley Fairplay, Rachel Hair & Ron Jappy, Erik Ask-Upmark, Deborah Henson-Conant, and our closing song guests

Sunita Staneslow, Robbin Gordon-Cartier, Joy Yu Hoffman

Jo Morrison, Christina Tourin and Alfredo Rolando Ortiz

John Metras, Mairi Chaimbeul, Rachel Hair, Deborah Henson-Conant

Philip & Pam Boulding, Ann & Charlie Heymann, Laoise Kelly, Edmar Castaneda and his quartet. Ann Heymann receives our Lifetime Achievement Award. Video tribute.

A looper pedal enables performers to record their playing live on stage and then perform over their recorded ostinato tracks. Learn the joys of using ostinato patterns in your own playing and discover some basics on how a looper pedal can be used with harp in performance. You do not need a looper pedal for this session, but you will need to download the paper print out of one!

There are a wide range of mysterious topics that come up in harp playing, including unusual techniques, harp specific symbols on music and notational challenges surrounding lever and pedal markings. This workshop with Shelley is intended for the more advanced sight-reader.

There are hundreds of tunes and song out there waiting for you to include in your repertoire. But how do you take a simple melody and arrange it yourself? Aryeh says you start by rethinking left hand technique to be more like a “rhythm guitarist” than a pianist and use left hand chordal patterns to create variety in phrasing. Get some useful tips for creating and developing interesting and evocative arrangements by composing intros, bridges, and “outros” which add a personal and original dimension to any traditional tune. Aryeh will share some useful ideas to create movement, lift, phrasing and dynamics by using a couple of very easy tunes everyone can play and applying these ideas to show how they work. Some notation is used but people do not have to “sight-read.” Reading music helps, but it is not essential to getting something out of the workshop.

Whether it's to share your music on the Internet or just to listen and learn about your own playing or needing a demo to promote yourself or wanting a final packaged CD to sell, this workshop will touch on all the basics of recording you and your harp. Aryeh will go over the basic essentials of creating a good recording for the harp as well as the stages of recording. Learn about tracking, mixing, mastering, and producing a final packaged CD, as well as options for selling digital downloads.

This workshop is for those who have the fundamentals down but are looking to go deeper into finger dexterity, sound-control and looking to find more ease with the instrument. We’ll tackle finger-strengthening exercises, jumps, slides and speed playing techniques across both hands with a focus on breath, weight-distribution and lightness. Think of this as a boot camp for technique and be prepared to try new things, let go of old-hang-ups and get more connected to your instrument.

Fully explore the benefit of working with arpeggios as part of a comprehensive exercise and dexterity program. Delve deeply with Maeve and find how using them in different shapes will help stretch fingers and break muscle memory while increasing dexterity over the full range of your harp. By using unorthodox shapes and different inversions, arpeggios can be the most beneficial exercise that will help free up your hands and navigate your instrument more freely.

Maeve will walk you through how to play both faster AND better, something that you might think is impossible for you. Maeve makes it look easy but there's a process she's worked for years that makes her playing look effortless. It's not really a secret but it will take some dedication! If you're interested in working on building up your dexterity, style and comfort in more up tempo music, this is the workshop for you. You won't be going from 0 to 60 by the end of the workshop, but you'll be headed in that direction.

Rhythm brings vitality and drive to music and can make the difference between an amateur and a professional. Maeve will focus on rhythm and how to incorporate it into warm-up and practice routines to strengthen all aspects of your playing. Learn about hand independence, poly-rhythms, syncopation, ostinato's and more!

In this workshop, Maeve will walk you through a well rounded practice session focusing on the warm up and how to incorporate metronome use right from the beginning. Combining rhythm, hand independence and finger exercises for a thorough and effective warmup, you'll realize that the most effective routine is one that YOU can create to fit your own level and challenge yourself. She'll then give examples of how to isolate problem parts of pieces or tunes and tackle them, using time in an effective way and saving the most enjoyable parts of playing to the very end of the practice session as a reward! Questions and group participation will be highly encouraged in this workshop in order for participants to get the most out of it that they possibly can. This will be a fun and highly useful workshop for any level of harpist.

Explore the world of digital sheet music and how to make the switch from paper to tablet. Robbin will go over the basic starter pack and give tips and favorite shortcuts and enhancements to make going digital easy and helpful. Find out how liberating it is not dragging a case of music to a gig and having access to music that is not even in your paper library yet. You'll get all the pointers in getting started, including how to convert music you already have, organizing tips, best practices for using the tablet in practice and at gigs and so much more.

There are gospel songs and spirituals that stand the test of time and transcend generations, denominations and all spiritual situations. Robbin will actively lead participants and take one of the classics and turn it up into a 21st century gospel hit! You'll learn tips for arranging, adapting and assessing how songs can be updated, which will be applied to a variety of gospel songs. By the end of this workshop you'll be playing the new gospel song arrangement and have the tools to learn and arrange other gospel songs.

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 like Cornwall, Galicia and Asturias. What gives their music their special flavor? Find out! There are other ample opportunities at the festival to explore the traditional music of Ireland and Scotland. Tunes will be taught by ear with music downloadable as a PDF.

The Isle of Man is sandwiched in the middle of the Irish Sea between Scotland, England and Ireland, and its music has some similarities to its surrounding neighbours but also some unique qualities. Learn about how the music was revived and learn a sampling of this particular flavor of Celtic music! Tunes will be taught by ear, with music provided as a downloadable PDF.

Sandwiched in the middle of the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man and its music has some similarities to its surrounding neighbours in Ireland, Scotland and Great Britain but also some unique qualities. Learn a sampling of this particular flavor of Celtic music! Tunes will be taught by ear, with music provided as a downloadable PDF. To learn more about the culture, see Rachel's Manx Music 101 in our Archive for a tour of the island and more tunes!

The mysterious island in the middle of the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man, is the smallest of the Celtic Nations, but in recent years has been making waves in the Celtic Music scene. The Claasagh (Manx Gaelic for harp) has been undergoing a recent revival on the island, so come help further the cause and learn some of the tunes from the island in the process! Add some Manx tunes to your repertoire. Tunes will be taught by ear, with music provided at the end of the workshop.

There's nothing quite like a wistful waltz to swirl your fingers around. Rachel has a nack of picking the most satisfying, feel-good tunes to teach. The waltzes she has chosen, from a variety of traditions, will be a wonderful addition to your repertoire and just perfect to play when your session needs a breather from the fast-paced jigs and reels. Tunes will be taught by ear, but music provided in advance.

We're still playing their music more than 300 years later and many of their pieces have worked their way into the folk tradition. Learn about the popular harper/composers who are not Carolan and preceded him in the musical timeline. Their simple, elegant melodies have stood the test of time and some we only know from music collections like Buntings. Add some new pieces to your repertoire. Taught by ear with written music in PDF that is downloadable before/after the class.

Broaden your repertoire of Irish dance tunes, with some slides, polkas, barndances and other less widely played tunes. Grainne will teach some of these easy melodies, along with some tips on appropriate ornamentation and how to add lift and rhythm through interesting accompaniment and syncopation. This workshop is ideal for both intermediate and advanced players, as the melodies are not difficult to learn but playing them up to speed can be a fun challenge! Music taught by ear, no sight-reading necessary.

We're still playing O'Carolan's music more than 350 years after he was born. These are simple, elegant melodies that are as popular today as then. Learn about Carolan's life and the times he lived in and some of his music in this hands-on workshop that will add 2 new pieces to your repertoire. Taught by ear with written music distributed at the end of the workshop. The festival will be having a Carolan Marathon as its special event Saturday night to mark Carolan's 350th birthday.

Build on your current Irish repertoire with this bonus workshop from the 2021 Somerset Saturday series. Gráinne will teach a dance tune by ear and show you how to do the various stylistic ornamentations that give the music that lilting quality. Gráinne will also give you important tips on fingering that will help you play more quickly. While Irish music is all about the melody, you'll learn how to add an appropriate accompaniment.

Start your Irish dance repertoire, or build your current repertoire, with this workshop. Gráinne will teach a dance tune by ear and show you how to do the various stylistic ornamentations that give the music that lilting quality. Gráinne will also give you important tips on fingering that will help you play more quickly. While Irish music is all about the melody, you'll learn how to add an appropriate accompaniment.

A progression is a series of chords – and some are especially powerful for improvisation. Once you learn how to use them, you can easily create spontaneous improvisations – or use them as intros or interludes for the music you already play. In this workshop, you’ll learn one of the world’s most useful progressions, the “two-five-one-six”, that DHC calls the “Power Progression” because it can be used in so many ways: for intros, improvisation and to modulate from key to key. You'll learn how to put it together, build jazz chords on it and then improvise with it. Once you learn how to do this, you’ll be able to add jazzy chords to other progressions DHC will show you in the workshop.

Do you long to have fun and jam with other musicians! To hear people say to you "Wow, I never knew you could play THAT on a harp!" If so, then take this workshop! You'll learn the 3 essential musical roles in the Blues--and how to play them with only 2 hands! Learn one of the coolest, and most useful bass techniques at YOUR level of technical ability--a technique that's not just great for the Blues, but for lots of rhythmic music. Learn the wickedly simple harmonic structure of the 12-Bar Blues and why that simplicity is such a rich field for creative expression. Get the ultra-fun swing rhythm at the heart of the Blues--it's already deep inside your body.

Did you know that Jazzy Arpeggios can be easier than regular arpeggios? That’s because they’re visually symmetrical. And here’s what’s so great about them: there are only 4 possible shapes for a 7th chord arpeggio and once you learn those shapes you can learn basic jazzy arpeggios, hand-over-hand and cascading inversions. And that’s what we’ll do in the workshop! The best part is that you’ll be able to put what you learn immediately into play by using these beautiful arpeggios as introductions and interludes to any tune you play.

If you want to perform, you DO want to play with fire! Regardless of whether you’re a Fledgling or a Professional, jumpstart your own path to playing with greater passion with this workshop from the fiery harp diva herself. Using her dramatic harp showpiece “Baroque Flamenco,” DHC will show you how to go from just "learning the notes" and “counting it out” to finding the core of a melody and playing it with a grace that transcends playing ability, then expand it as your skills increase. She’ll show you how your body can lead you to the 'character' that brings the music alive. This workshop will totally energize your morning and have you tapping in rhythm the rest of the day!

Learning to sing and play the harp at the same time is more than the mechanical aspect of what to do with your hands while your voice does its thing. Use the harp to unleash that path to your heart's voice. Accompaniment doesn't have to be complicated to support your singing. DHC will give you her favorite use-anywhere left-hand patterns and show you how you can adapt them to achieve a solid accompaniment roadmap to get your song where it's going!

The ancient Irish harp of Ireland and Scotland is richly portrayed in legends and poetry, and imbedded within are deep truths about the evolving traditions. Ann Heymann will take you on a journey following the "echoes" of archeology, mythology and history, revealing deep esoteric traditions and a conjectural role of the Irish harp in the development of the harp in Europe.

Estampies are instrumental pieces played for courtly dances in the 13th-14th centuries. The music has several verses anchored with a repeated refrain, making them easy to learn. Nancy will lead you through “La Manfredina” and “La Quarte Estampie Royal”, two tuneful pieces with an exotic medieval flavor. Sight-reading is necessary.

Join Nancy in a virtual Renaissance ensemble and play multi-level harp parts: learning each part from Nancy and then playing along with her virtual band. You'll learn two popular pieces from around 1600. These ensembles were performed by Nancy’s students in the Brandeis University Early Music Ensemble. Advanced beginners and intermediate level; sight-reading is necessary.

Nowadays, Scottish harpers are just as likely to play jigs and reels as the fiddlers and pipers are, but in the "old" days this wasn't the case. Learn about the "old" harp repertoire and the harpers who played it. Take advantage of William Jackson's expertise in interpreting and arranging this music. The music will be taught by ear but sheet music is also provided as a downloadable PDF.

What makes a new composition sound traditional? This is a comprehensive look at the structure of traditional music and the modes and rhythms used from Gaelic song, strathspeys to jigs and reels. Learn how to use a simple chord progression as the basis for developing melodic ideas and then expand these melodic ideas into a larger work.

At its closest, Ireland and Scotland are only separated by 12 miles across the Irish Sea. They share similar Celtic albeit distinct cultural flavors and their histories are inextricably entwined, politically, and for our purposes, musically! Well-known Scottish harper William has deep family ties to Donegal and will take you through a musical exploration highlighting the cross-musical connections between Ireland and Scotland.

Cass brings to this class her 20 years of experience in ministering to those who are dying. Because not all music is created equal in this situation, playing in a hospice environment or other situations where a loved one is actively dying has a special dynamic that requires the utmost sensitivity. She will lead this workshop on the specifics for playing harp and/or singing at the deathbed through demonstration, discussion and group participation. Beginners should know simple chord structures.

The mysteries of harp regulation will be completely resolved in this one workshop with our expert harp technician! Liza will answer your questions about what it means to have your harp regulated and all its associated concerns such as what happens to your harp as it ages and why the harp shifts. See what that looks like. Bring your harp to this workshop and see it for yourself. How old is too old for your strings to be on your harp? What are the top 5 reasons your harp will buzz? There are all sorts of things to be learned about your harp--no matter how long you've been playing you'll learn all kinds of useful info in this workshop.

Even if you've been playing harp for a while, trying to play dance tunes at speed in an Irish session is a daunting feat. Get some useful tips from Laoise on accompaniment patterns for reels and jigs and maybe a hornpipe that will have you more confident in navigating your way through bassline progressions.

Just because they're called "slow" airs doesn't mean that they are easier to play than dance tunes. These beautiful pieces defy written music transcription. Laoise will take you through the fine art of interpreting and learning an Irish slow air and getting the nuances that make these pieces among the most challenging in the Irish tradition to get just right. This workshop is taught by ear and no written music will be provided.

Breton music is part of the Celtic repertoire along with Irish, Scottish or Welsh music. Tristan will introduce you to the traditional music of Brittany, which is now part of France. Add traditional dance tunes, marches and songs to your repertoire and learn the different styles with different modes and rhythms. You'll learn a melody by ear and then Tristan will step you through basic arranging appropriate to this music. No prior knowledge of Breton music is needed. This workshop will be taught by ear.

Join Tristan for this fun workshop to learn how to use colourful chords or scales, groovy basses and swing to make our Celtic repertoire sound a little more contemporary and jazzy. A good understanding of playing chords and theory fundamentals is needed. We will go in a step-by-step progression. You'll learn some tools to understand the process of arranging: take a teaspoon of theory and just add a pinch of analysis (nothing hot, it’s for the flavour). Learners by ear and/or with the music are all welcome.

The bell-like sound of the harp of Ireland and highland Scotland was heard in great halls throughout the Gaelic world. Built to be strung with wire, the substantial frames of the few surviving historical instruments stand in silent testament to a rich, centuries long musical tradition. Karen will premier the results of her forensic analysis and study of Ireland's Hollybrook harp.

From the middle ages through the early modern period, the bell-like sound of the harp of Ireland and highland Scotland was heard in great halls throughout the Gaelic world. Built to be strung with wire, the substantial frames of the few surviving historical instruments stand in silent testament to a rich, centuries long musical tradition. Today, this type of harp is undergoing a revival, as musicians seek to recapture its lost sound. In this presentation, Karen will trace the history of this iconic instrument through the surviving harps. Hear how Karen's ground-breaking forensic analysis of the Queen Mary harp and other recent discoveries are reshaping our understanding of these ancient instruments and are making it possible to build new instruments that more closely follow the craftsmanship of the originals.

Although the historical harpers are long gone and can’t be here to show us how they played their instruments, they left behind visible wear showing where their hands and wrists (and feet and legs too!) rubbed against the soundbox, how they replaced strings, and even how they adjusted the position of the harp to play it. See for yourself, and inform your own explorations of playing style. This workshop will include demonstration and discussion of how to interpret the harpers’ wear marks. For more on Dr. Loomis' forensic analysis on early Irish harps, see her archived 2020 workshops.

Get over the worry of how to accompany a singer, instrumentalist or ensemble. The harp can be used for rhythmic or harmonic support--learn how to step into a backing role and then step out for a solo. In this workshop, Lisa will help you create a toolbox of accompaniment options to keep at your disposal at anytime and feel ready to jump in and do your part. Besides creating chord charts and working from a lead sheet, you'll learn the secret of how to transpose and change key in an instant and how best to contribute to the whole. Guest artists will participate in this workshop. Sightreading not essential.

Learn some useful harp chords and progressions for therapeutic and other environments and how to create patterns for improvising in any key. Learn the how-tos of choosing or creating appropriate music for many situations.

Few of us have unlimited amount of time to play our harps. Life interrupts. So how can you make real progress with only 10 minutes practice? Christy-Lyn will show you how to practice effectively and make real progress. Instead of just playing through your pieces every practice session, find out how to get the best bang for your buck with your practice time.

You might already think that it's hard enough getting your left and right hands coordinated well enough to play together and then add singing on top of that? How is that possible? This fun workshop is an introduction to singing and playing (also applicable to accompanying a singer/instrumentalist) and Christy-Lyn will teach you how to play from lead sheets and what the chord symbols mean. Find out why we sometimes call them numbers! You'll get solid examples of choosing simple accompaniment patterns and learning how to coordinate them with singing or another instrument. Christy-Lyn will ground you in what you do with the right hand do when you’re not playing the melody too.

Dive into the fascinating world of the chromatic cross-strung harp and learn about its history in its various forms. John will play musical examples showing how the instrument can play music of all styles with all the “juicy” chords that are often eliminated in lever harp playing. Hear about the pros and cons of this fascinating instrument and find resources to help you get started. All ability levels welcome.

Dive into the fascinating world of the chromatic cross-strung harp. In this second part of John’s introduction to the Cross-strung Harp, you will have the opportunity to learn how play melodies, chords and scales. Be sure to download the PDF for this workshop as you get ready to view this video.

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 to learn some very easy pieces. Easy printed music in the downloadable handout. You will also learn about the famous romantic Cuban "bolero" music style for a contrasting touch!

Latin American harp traditions include many unique and fun special effects. Even if you've never heard these terms before, you'll learn muffling techniques, muffled glissandi, Paraguayan "trino" (mandoline-like effect) and more. If you're interested in pop or jazz or looking to do something with your own compositions, this workshop will expand your technique repertoire with these interesting effects. Even beginners will be able to master some effects right away while understanding others to put them into practice in the future.

Every harp player needs to be aware of how their technique and body should work together to prevent injury and playing problems and facilitate the performance of difficult passages. With his medical background in the fields of Music Therapy and Sensory Motor Learning, Dr. Ortiz will help you focus on the right aspects of your technique and learn good habits. Prevention is the key and breaking bad habits may seem difficult but learning how your body works and responds to your playing technique is essential. Take this workshop if you've ever gotten up from the harp with sore hands, arms or shoulders!

Originating in the 12th and 13th century, French Estampie are finely crafted and timeless dances and music, meant to evoke a full range of scenarios: from an intimate dance of veils to an earthy and exquisite celebration of movement. In this workshop, Christa will show how the simple verse-refrain form of French Estampie make them easy to play and serve as a base to improvise. Sight-reading required but good ear learners will have no trouble picking up the refrains.

Experience the charm of music popular in the American Colonies from collections such as the Scots Musical Museum, theatre songs from England performed in New York City, a collection of Favorite songs by Alexander Reinagle of Philadelphia, and a little ditty that Washington’s granddaughter, Eleonor Lewis Park, may have played on her early French pedal harp.

King Henry the VIII of England was a well known music lover and patron of the arts. In his personal psalter he is depicted playing a harp as his fool stands by. Many compositions attributed to him can be found in a manuscript named after him. You and Christa will be looking at these sparse but lovely polyphonic pieces and enjoying how well they fit the harp, both as complete pieces to play alone or in consort with other harps. All harps are welcome. Sight-reading needed.

The harp was an indispensable instrument, accompanying songs and playing dances. In some parts Hispanic people use the harp still to welcome guests into their homes, to express deep piety in the church, as well as accompany their beloved Romances ( ballads), Danses, and Bailes in the theatres and in the streets. Join in and learn some ravishing songs and rousing dances for harp from 17th century Spain and the New World.

Dance music was learned in Spain in the 17th century as a way of becoming familiar with the harp, guitar or keyboard. Pieces could be played simply at first, each being only a few measures long, but could also be expanded into compositions with infinite variations. Christa will teach some basic dance pieces and their chord accompaniment and then lead you through making up a few variations of your own. Reading ability required.

You'll find yourself transported to the dance-halls of Montreal to enjoy its vibrant French culture in this workshop with Ailie. Quebec has a rich tradition of achingly beautiful waltzes and airs, as well as wonderful dance tunes. Come and learn about the lyrical Quebecois tradition with its sweet melodic lines and rich accompaniment. Old and new compositions will be explored. You will leave with your fingers flying, your feet tapping, and your heart full of joie-de-vivre! Taught by ear with sheet music available as a downloadable PDF.

The Shetland Islands, located between Scotland and Norway, have a rich Celtic and Scandinavian heritage. Come with Ailie and explore Shetland's rich music traditions and find out what makes for its distinctive sounds and techniques. Ailie will teach traditional and contemporary music from Shetland and explain what makes this area unique.

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.

Almost everybody loves the music of 17th century Irish composer Turlough O'Carolan. Take a cue from Kim's inventive experience, and find out how to add a modern twist to some of those pieces. Using a few of his well known and lesser known pieces, discover how to create intros, interludes, rhythmic motifs and alternative harmonies for making contemporary arrangements of these timeless melodies. Lead sheets will be used. A basic knowledge of chord structure helpful.

What makes some of Kim's music so compelling is her inventive and cool left-hand accompaniment patterns. This is your chance to look under the hood at how she does it. Learn some of Kim’s cool LH accompaniment patterns and find out how to add rhythmic complexity and harmonic spice to any melody. In this workshop, you'll learn how to build on drones, use 5ths and harmonic variations. Kim will also challenge you with more advanced syncopated patterns. Reference worksheets provided but reading music is not a requirement.

Lullabies are particularly well-suited for small harps, with their sweet, bell-like tone. Kim will teach some lovely traditional lullabies along with some accompaniment patterns that make the most of a smaller range. Excellent class for a beginning player and because it's Kim, the more advanced player will get quite a lot of ideas on accompaniment. Reference worksheets provided but reading music is not a requirement.

If you've never taken Sunita’s arpeggio workshop and want to get some new ideas for playing different types of arpeggios, this is the workout you're looking for! Sunita says she works with arpeggios like a sculptor. Learn cool things like how to take the same arpeggio and make it sound like a Spanish Guitar, or romantic or soothing. If you've taken her Arpeggios workshop before, you'll get even more out of this supercharged version. This workshop is targeted to players Intermediate level and beyond who want to learn how to creatively noodle! Learn how to sculpt beautiful phrases and play more musically. This is very hands-on.

Beginners who have never taken Sunita’s arpeggio workshops and want to get some new ideas for playing different types of arpeggios will have fun in this class. This is a no-pressure experience to get beginners really comfortable in using both hands to create the quintessential harp sound. This is very hands on and liberating because there is lots of looking at your harp and not at the paper.

Hymns can sound very heavy when played straight from the hymnal, which are basically written for piano. Sunita will share the arranging techniques she uses to make hymns more harp-friendly and contemporary without losing their original character. Find out how to tweak the harmony and make the arrangement flow so they fit the hand of a harpist. Basic sight-reading is required for this workshop.

Jewish music often has a distinctive and passionate sound created by the modes that it uses. What modes are commonly used in Jewish music? Sunita will give an overview and cultural signifcance of these modes and what will help make your arrangement or performance sound more authentic. You'll learn two traditional Jewish melodies that will give you the confidence to play for a Jewish wedding or audience. Add some Jewish flavors to your repertoire!

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.

Discover how the court music of the ancient Tang Dynasty (700-1000CE), which disappeared from China, survived in Japan as the Emperor’s court music, Gagaku. These manuscripts were taken to Japan, where they survived. Scholars have transcribed them into Western music notation and now some of these simple and beautiful pieces have been arranged for harp by Tomoko, who presented and performed them last year at Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Be part of the revival of this ancient music. Suitable workshop for beginners who can sight-read.

More than 400 Cantigas de Santa Maria, poems and songs, were composed by Spain's King Alfonso X in the 13th century in the Galicia/Portugal. Tomoko will take you through some really lovely pieces which are hybrids of Iberto-Arabic music. Sight reading is required to get the most out of this workshop. Anyone who wants to get the feel of medieval music on harp needs a few Cantigas in their repertoire. Any type of harp is welcome in this workshop. More Cantigas in Tomoko's workshop in our Archive.

Japanese folk tunes are sometimes a bit sad, but beautiful. Most of the Japanese favorites are about the seasons. In this workshop you will learn beautiful melodies and use easy chords to mark the seasons. Sakura is a traditional Japanese folk song depicting spring and autumn.

Therapeutic harpists become familiar with many modes to use in their playing in different environments. In this workshop, Tina will share her research in the comparisons of the Eastern 5 Element modes put forth by the Shanghai Orchestra’s music for strokes, heart attacks, migraines and 5 element healing. Learn how those in our Western Greek modes can provide music to address depression, fear, lifelessness, anger, lack of structure and inflexibility by gently using the magic of the modes to address these issues. Find out and practice how you can balance a person’s energy. Guided melodies and improvisations will enhance music from both Eastern and Western cultures to bring forth the similarities. Sheet-music provided for sight-readers with beginner arrangements and chord charts included for “by ear” players.

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Updated 5/9/22 Workshop descriptions and schedules are subject to change. Refresh your browser to make sure you have the latest version of this page.