Congratulations! You have a harp! Now—what do you do with it? To help beginners get the most out of their Somerset experience, Debbie Brewin-Wilson will guide you through all the basics to get you successfully started on the road to Harpdom. This all-day workshop is especially geared for new players. Debbie enjoys helping beginners get off to a good start in order to build a solid foundation. This class will be dedicated to making sure that you have a firm grasp, so to speak, on how to learn the harp. You'll get the fundamentals plus a whole lot of confidence that you can play this instrument! Debbie will be able to give lots of one-on-one personal attention to guide each person along.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this workshop and others will be held on Somerset Online. The Boot Camp will be held "live" via Zoom. The class is small and you will get plenty of attention. We'll even have some "warm-up" videos for you to go through before Thursday July 16. You must register in advance for this all-day Thursday event.
10-11:30am: Getting StartedLet's get to work! Debbie will cover all those basic starters; from using electronic tuners and how to tune the harp (the best and fastest way!) and move on to sitting, posture and hand positions. If you started the harp on your own without a teacher, you might think you knew all this, but really, it's good to work it! Lots of warm-up and exercises with the right hand to maximize dexterity.
1-2:30pm: Put Your Left Hand In
Get a solid grounding in chords and chord shapes and getting the best tone when plucking. Then it's on to some of the utility left-hand techniques like damping and learning how to "walk the bass." Debbie will also cover basic music theory (don't worry it's not hard!) like keys and the Circle of Fifths. It's a lot of fun practices and drills that'll sound really cool when everybody's playing.
3-4:30pm: Fingering, Placement & Putting It Together
When we said Boot Camp, we meant it. In this final segment, you'll learn a new tune and your coach will emphasize placing, then playing! You'll get basic fingering concepts and how to connect phrases within the context of the tune you'll learn. Slow and steady is the pace.
Whew! You made it to the end of the day. Congratulations. Look ahead to the rest of the weekend and review the workshops below to reinforce what you learned Thursday and then look over the entire Beginners' Focus Area list to round out your Beginners' Immersion at Somerset!
Beginners’ Boost 1 & 2:
Friday and Saturday
Teacher: Debbie Brewin-Wilson
Debbie taught the beginner class for years at the annual Harpers Escape weekend and she's one of most supportive people on the planet--just what you need to get over being nervous and build a solid pathway to learning. Her videos for these classes will be on Somerset Online and there you will be able to sign-up for 30-minute online personal coaching on Friday or Saturday. For the extended Beginner's weekend, add the Harpers' Escape at Somerset, at the beginner level taught by Debbie all day Sunday.
I put together a Beginner's Itinerary for Somerset which can augment the fundamentals that you'll get in the Beginner Boot Camp. These are workshops I would recommend to my beginning harp students if this was their first Somerset experience and they needed to treat the whole weekend like harp boot camp. When I put the whole workshop schedule together I was mindful to make sure I had a Beginner program with key elements that could fit into a nice schedule for you. Of the 100+ workshops we're offering, many workshops are labeled for "any" level harper. I've judiciously pared down the big list of "Any" level workshops somewhat for you. Below is the list of the director's suggestions for a comprehensive and well-rounded focus for beginning harpers, including necessary workshops like how to change strings and maintain your harp. These are all hands-on workshops.There are plenty of lectures and other special events you'll want to check out as well for those times that your brain is just fried and too tired to play any more in the day. If there's a topic that you really want to explore and it's above your playing level, there's nothing to stop you from getting in over your head! If you're signing up for the full festival, you can spread out your exploration for the remainder of the year. Videos will be accessible until December 31. Learn at your own pace.
|Thurs. 10am-4:30pm||Beginners Boot Camp||Debbie Brewin-Wilson||Nov.-Beg|
|Fri. 9:30-11am||Beginners Boost #1||Debbie Brewin-Wilson||Nov.-Beg|
|Fri. 9:30-11am||Chinese Music & Modes||Joy Hoffman||Beg.-Int.|
|Fri. 9:30-11am||Swedish Music: 101||Aryeh Frankfurter||Beg-Int|
|Fri. 11:30am-12:15pm||DIY harp maintenance 1: Knot Tying||Liza Jensen||Any|
|Fri. 12-1pm||Harp Tasting: Small (sorry, this has been cancelled this year)||Event||Any|
|Fri. 1:30-3pm||Double-strung harp: First Steps||Joy Hoffman||Beg.|
|Fri. 1:30-3pm||Music Reading 101||Robbin Gordon-Cartier||Beg.|
|Fri. 1:30-3pm||Simplify Your Music||Sunita Staneslow||Beg-Int|
|Fri. 1:30-3pm||Venezuelan Folk Music 101||Eduardo Betancourt||Beg-Int|
|Fri. 3:30-5pm||Go Paperless with Digital Sheet Music||Robbin Gordon-Cartier||Any|
|Fri. 3:30-5pm||Manx Music 101||Rachel Hair||Beg.|
|Fri. 3:30-5pm||Playing the Robert ap Huw manuscript||Karen Loomis||Beg-Int|
|Fri. 3:30-5pm||Try the Tinwhistle||Dennis Gormley||Beg.|
|Sat. 9:30-11am||Beginners Boost #2||Debbie Brewin-Wilson||Nov.-Beg|
|Sat. 9:30-11am||Double-strung harp 201||Joy Hoffman||Beg-Int|
|Sat. 11:30am-12:15pm||DIY harp maintenance 2: Tuning||Liza Jensen||Any|
|Sat. 12-1pm||Harp Tasting: Large (sorry this has been cancelled this year)||Event||Any|
|Sat. 1:30-3pm||Arpeggios 101||Sunita Staneslow||Beg|
|Sat. 1:30-3pm||Music Reading 201||Robbin Gordon-Cartier||Beg.|
|Sat. 3:30-5pm||Chinese & Japanese Court Music Rediscovered||Tomoko Sugawara||Beg-Int|
|Sat. 3:30-5pm||Harp Regulation & Maintenance||Liza Jensen||Any|
|Sun. 9-10:30am||Arranging Traditional Music||Aryeh Frankfurter||Beg-Int|
|Sun. 9-10:30am||Japanese Folk Songs||Tomoko Sugawara||Beg-Int|
|Sun. 9-10:30am||Perform with Confidence||Lisa Lynne||Any|
|Sun. 9-10:30am||Pick a Chord, Any Chord||Sharon Thormahlen||Beg.|
|Sun. 9am-9pm||Harpers' Escape at Somerset (beginner group): Sunday Add-on must register in advance||Debbie Brewin-Wilson||Beg.|