Somerset Harp Festival Online

Workshops R through S (updated 4/3/22)

Previous Page  |   Next page »

(click on any workshop to read the full description)

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.

Nancy Hurrell will lead and teach the dances for our first in-person dance event since 2019. Renaissance costumes and masks are encouraged. Everyone is invited to participate or just come to listen to the music.

Get ready to come to the Renaissance Ball on Friday night! Travel back in time through dance. Nancy will teach the dance steps and use recorded dance band music. Imagine yourself at the Parsippany Castle, dancing the elegant pavane, jolly branles, and fiery Spanish canario. No costumes needed for this class. This is an on-site, in-person workshop but Zoom attendees can still watch. If you have it, be sure to dress in garb for the Renaissance Ball on Friday night where you can show off your dance moves!

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.

Join Nancy in a Renaissance harp ensemble play-along. You will learn pieces from the early 17th Century arranged in multi-level harp parts. These performance ready ensemble arrangements have been performed by Nancy’s students in the Brandeis University Early Music Ensemble. Advanced beginners and intermediate level; sight-reading is necessary.

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.

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!

Scotland has a wealth of wonderful tune collections of traditional music and song and Rachel's favourite collector is Captain Simon Fraser from the Lochaber area of the Scottish Highlands. He took the time in the 19th century to notate hundreds of melodies from the region. Come to this workshop to explore with Rachel the beauties of this collection, first published in 1816.

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.

There are many reasons to select one harp over another. Jen will cover using ergonomics as one aspect of that so you can play pain-free for a long, happy, harp life. She'll also talk about the size of the harp, seating, lighting, and room qualities in conjunction with long practice times, playing throughout your life, and the effects of aging and fitness on your playing. Take this workshop before going into our lunchtime Harp Tasting.

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.

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.

If you want to get more creative with your left hand but aren't sure where to start, Màiri will walk you through some simple reharmonization concepts to add depth and colour to your arrangements. She'll show you some ideas for bass lines that use chord inversions to create momentum.

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!

Learn how to “jam” along with a song circle on popular sing-along songs – just like the guitar players! Verlene will use folk and pop tunes that have words and chords only – no written music. You’ll learn how to play chords in a variety of rhythm patterns and you’ll learn “fingerpicking” styles to play along with singers and guitarists and other musicians in a group setting. You can of course also use these patterns to accompany your own singing or another singer or instrumentalist!

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.

An "after hours" activity. Open to all. It's an open-mike. Sign-up to perform prior to this event or just show up and see who's on. A relaxed coffeehouse-type atmosphere where you can support your fellow attendees. Listeners & supporters are welcome too!

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.

You won't need a historical harp to enjoy this workshop featuring two 17th century tutors for harp by Lucas Ruiz de Ribayaz and Don Fernando de Huete. Christa will teach you how to improvise melodies and accompaniments with some lively rhythmic chord progressions, melodies and variations. You'll enjoy learning how to make up your own too. Sight-reading required

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.

Rachel will give you an introduction to the Scottish strathspey and its wonderful dance rhythms. You'll learn how to give this unique Scottish dance form the 'snap' that's needed to make it sound authentic. Depend on training your ear to hear what makes playing this kind of tune jump off the page.

Playing with Suspended chords is a game-changer. A sus chord turns a nice harmony into something with depth and complexity. Just by changing one note in a chord and suspending it, your harp will become a magical instrument. Sunita will show you how to work on the sus4 and sus2 chords. The next step will be to apply them to your music and learn how to flow with arpeggios of sus chords to create introductions and interludes. You will never hear harmony the same after using suspended chords.

Be prepared to tap your feet when you play the tunes in this workshop! One of the reasons Swedish folk music is becoming increasingly popular, is the fascinating rhythm that you find in dances like the polska and slängpolska as well as the schottis, waltz, long dance and maybe even the polka (yes, the one without an "s")! The emphasis will be on what makes Swedish folk music unique with its scales, accompaniment styles, ornamentation and so on, but most important will be simply getting into the groove!

Previous Page  |   Next page »

Updated 4/3/22 Workshop descriptions and schedules are subject to change. Refresh your browser to make sure you have the latest version of this page.