Somerset Folk Harp Festival
Somerset Folk Harp Festival

Event Dates July 16-18

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I Always Wanted to Play the Harp: Robbin Gordon-Cartier
Type: Demo Level: Beg. When: Sat. 9:30-10:30am   Where: Fest. Lobby
Have you ever said to yourself "I always wanted to play the harp"? Experience a harp first-hand, literally. This is a 45-minute workshop offered to any of our daily Visitors or non-harping companion guests as a "get acquainted" session. Robbin will talk about playing the harp and demonstrate how you can get started. Several harps will be provided for everyone to try out. Ask questions. Get Answers.
Improvising with Venezuela’s Tropical Music: Eduardo Betancourt
Type: Hands-on Level: Int-Adv When: Sat. 9:30-11am   Where: Room 10
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.
Intro to the Blues: Deborah Henson-Conant
Type: Hands-on Level: Any When: Fri. 3:30-5pm   Where: Salon 4
dhc workshopDo 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.
Irish dance music: intro to ornnamentation & arranging Grainne Hambly
Type: Hands-on Level: Beg.-Int. When: Sat. 10-11:30am    Where: Zoom
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.
I've Got an Idea!: Ailie Robertson
Type: Hands-on Level: Int. When: Fri. 3:30-5pm   Where: Room 11
In this workshop Ailie will discuss her various approaches to composing for harp. She'll take you through the different ways to generate an idea and then how to go about developing it into something more. What comes first? Melody? Chord progression? How much do you have to worry about arranging at the beginning? And of course, how to deal with the dreaded writer's block!
Japanese Folk Songs: Tomoko Sugawara
Type: Hands-on Level: Beg-Int When: Sun. 9-10:30am   Where: Room 10
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.
Latin American Waltzes: Nicolas Carter
Type: Hands-on Level: Int. When: Sat. 3:30-5pm   Where: Room 8
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.
Latin Rhythms 101: Alfredo Ortiz
Type: Hands-on Level: Any When: Sat. 9:30-11am   Where: Room 8
The traditional harp styles from Latin America are very rhythmic and exciting and use fun accompaniment patterns. You'll get the various unique rhythms, polyrhythms and syncopations of several countries and transform some well known melodies into habanera, salsa, cha-cha, meringue, conga, tango and more. Alfredo will teach you various ways of using octaves and chords for repetitive patterns while minimizing the effort to do it. Then you'll take these ideas to create your own rhythmic patterns for other music styles.
Lead Sheet Boot Camp: Sunday Add-on: Deborah Henson-Conant
Type: Hands-on Level: Any When: Sun. 9am-5pm   Where: Room 11
Imagine you’re sitting at your harp joyously playing song after song, never turning a page and playing each one for 3 or 4 minutes! On your music stand is a binder full of pages, each page is one song--and each song is a one-line melody with chords written above it. But YOU are playing a full 2-handed arrangement--and you’re creating all that extra music yourself. This is what it means to arrange from a lead sheet and anyone has the technical ability to do it as soon they have basic facility on their instrument. BUT you need to know the PROCESS for doing it AND the PRACTICE of applying that process. That’s exactly what you'll be doing in Lead Sheet Boot Camp. This is a separate all-day event that you need to advance register for. Click here for costs/itinerary.
Lead Sheet Magic: John Metras
Type: Hands-on Level: Any When: Sat. 3:30-5pm   Where: Room 6
Lead sheets are just the bare bones of a song: melody line with chords written on top. How do you develop them into something bigger? Learn useful techniques for turning a lead sheet into an interesting musical arrangement and explore how to get various rhythmic patterns, chord substitutions and melodic ideas that can be plugged into a wide variety of songs. Feel free to bring a lead sheet that you'd like to develop into an arrangement.
Lunchtime Concert: Friday: Event
Type: Concert Level: When: Fri. 11:30am-1pm   Where: Salon 2/3
Pick up lunch at the Grab & Go station, have a seat, relax & enjoy the music! New location this year in the concert hall
Lunchtime Concert: Saturday: Event
Type: Concert Level: When: Sat. 11:30am-1pm   Where: Salon 2/3
Pick up lunch at the Grab & Go station, have a seat, relax & enjoy the music! New location this year in the concert hall
Manx Music 101: Rachel Hair
Type: Hands-on Level: Beg. When: Fri. 3:30-5pm   Where: Room 7
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 at the end of the workshop.
Manx to the Max: Rachel Hair
Type: Hands-on Level: Int. When: Sat. 1:30-3pm   Where: Room 7
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.
Modal Improvisation: Kim Robertson
Type: Hands-on Level: Any When: Fri. 3:30-5pm   Where: Salon 1
There are 7 basic diatonic modes and this workshop is a right-brain, creative approach to using modes as a foundation for improvisation. Discover what makes each one sound unique and ways to use them to improvise. Kim will teach you simple but effective one- and two-hand patterns to creative beautiful improvisations and you learn how to create more personalized arrangements.
Modes Demystified: Maeve Gilchrist
Type: Hands-on Level: Any When: Sat. 1:30-3pm   Where: Room 5
You've heard harpists talking about playing in different modes and have always wondered how they are different than keys, haven't you? Maeve will demystify modes and put them into musical context that will broaden your harmonic understanding and open your ears. Walk through the scales with her and find out how useful they are.
Music for the Journey Home: Cass Jendzurski
Type: Hands-on Level: Int. When: Sat. 1:30-3pm   Where: Room 4
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.
Music Reading 101: Robbin Gordon-Cartier
Type: Hands-on Level: Beg. When: Fri. 1:30-3pm   Where: Room 1
Just as there are many recipes for Chocolate Chip Cookies; there are many ways to learn how to read music. The key is finding the way that works the easiest and quickest for you. In this workshop Robbin will go over the many ways to learn the basics of note reading, drills for practicing reading and how to go from reading notes on the paper to playing notes on the harp.
Music Reading 201: Robbin Gordon-Cartier
Type: Hands-on Level: Beg. When: Sat. 1:30-3pm   Where: Room 1
Building on Music Reading 101, this workshop will incorporate reading chords, playing from lead sheets and recognizing patterns rather than reading the notes one by one. Robbin will help you work on sight reading skills and identifying key signatures to make note reading as easy as reading words in an article. Learning how to count out rhythms and note values is also covered.
Our Day as a Therapeutic Musician: Edie Elkan
Type: Lecture Level: Any When: Sat. 3:30-5pm   Where: Room 4
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. Come and get the answers.
Perform with Confidence: Lisa Lynne
Type: Lecture Level: Any When: Sun. 9-10:30am   Where: Room 2
If you experience the physical sensations of nervousness when it comes to performing in front of people, no matter how big or small the group, formal or informal settings, this workshop is for you. Whether it's on stage, at a wedding or playing background music, this workshop will explore what stage fright is, why it happens, and what you can do about it. Besides sharing stories and experiences of stage fright, get solid tips from Lisa on how to rise above the nerves and give your best performance every time.
Perform with Passion: Deborah Henson-Conant
Type: Hands-on Level: Any When: Sat. 9:30-11am   Where: Room 11
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!
Pick a Chord, Any Chord: Sharon Thormahlen
Type: Hands-on Level: Beg. When: Sun. 9-10:30am   Where: Room 4
When learning a song from a lead sheet with only the melody line, it can be challenging to figure out what chords to play with your left hand. In this workshop, through the use of simple songs, Sharon will provide practical tips to help you figure out what chords go with the melody. You will learn what the “chord family” is and how to use it. Perfect workshop for Beginners taking our Beginner's Boot Camp.
Play El Condor Pasa: Nicolas Carter
Type: Hands-on Level: Int. When: Thurs. 1-2:30pm   Where: Room 10
el condor pasa You're probably familiar with El Condor Pasa as the melody made famous by Simon & Garfunkle from their Bridge Over Troubled Water LP. This captivating melody goes back to the time of the ancient Incas and is considered the second national anthem of Peru. Join Nicolas to learn this piece and let this popular Peruvian classic be your entry point to learning many different Latin harp techniques and fun left hand accompaniments. This piece will be taught by ear. Bring a recording device to jog your memory later.
Playing in Lifecare Communities: Edie Elkan
Type: Hands-on Level: Any When: Fri. 3:30-5pm   Where: Room 10
In this hands-on workshop, 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.
Play Pain-Free for a Lifetime: Laurie Riley
Type: Hands-on Level: Any When: Fri. 1:30-5pm   Where:
When your body is not comfortable, your music cannot flow. Everyone can benefit from learning how to avoid and alleviate discomfort, pain, and/or injury related to playing your harp, thereby increasing your musical energy and vitality. In this workshop discover easier, better ways to hold your instrument and use your hands that will never cause pain or discomfort!
Playing the Robert ap Huw manuscript: Karen Loomis
Type: Hands-on Level: Beg-Int When: Fri. 3:30-5pm   Where: Room 3
Beautiful and enigmatic, the Welsh bardic music preserved in the 17th-century manuscript of Robert ap Huw has intrigued musicians and music historians for centuries. In this workshop Karen will teach the basic techniques for reading the manuscript and playing its music. You'll work on one piece of music, learning how to interpret and play from the manuscript tablature. Attendees will receive a worksheet of fingering techniques and a list of resources for further practice and study. The handout will include the reconstruction of the pitches in modern staff notation too. Note: the method of playing makes use of the fingernails, however long nails are not required to participate in the workshop! All types of harp welcome.
Prevent Injury & Play Better and Faster: Alfredo Ortiz
Type: Hands-on Level: Any When: Fri. 3:30-5pm   Where: Room 6
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! This workshop is not meant to diagnose each participant's individual issues but feel free to ask questions!
Prevent Injury & Play Better and Faster: Alfredo Ortiz
Type: Hands-on Level: Any When: Sat. 3:30-5pm   Where: Room 6
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! This workshop is not meant to diagnose each participant's individual issues but feel free to ask questions!
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Updated 06/01/20
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