Somerset Harp Festival Online

Workshops R through S

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(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.

In Ireland reels are the queens of the dance tunes! Learn a tune and how to give a reel the lift that gets the toes tapping. Laoise will teach a tune and incorporate ornamentation that will give your tune the right feel. Find out what the right amount of accompaniment is that doesn't overwhelm the melody. Taught by ear with sheet music provided.

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.

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.

This workshop is targeted to anyone who has no trouble reading the notes on the staff but has difficulty working out how long to play each note! Words, Words, Words. Shelley will give you memorable word tricks that will help you begin to master rhythms. They really work!

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!

Traditional song has carried the oral history, stories, culture, humor and legacy of the Gaels throughout the centuries. In this workshop take a glimpse into this world by learning a beautiful Gaelic song melody and looking at the song’s story and history as you go. Once we’ve learned the melody, we’ll take a look at how to add a sensitive left hand accompaniment and some simple arrangement ideas.

An "after hours" activity hosted by the Scottish Harp Society of America and Jen Narkevicius

Sea Chanteys were sung on sailing ships for a variety of reasons, as well as for entertainment. Learn a couple of Sea Chanteys that work well as harp solos, as well as ways to accompany them when sung. We will also talk about how the song was used in the work on the ship. Simple melodies will be taught by ear (PDF available in advance for those that want it), along with accompaniment ideas for singers. (You don’t need to sing to enjoy this class, however.) An arrangement by Jo will be provided for each tune.

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.

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.

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!

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. See our Concerts/Events page for tips on how Zoom audio settings. 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.

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.

There exists distinct folk harp traditions in Sweden that is quickly gaining popularity as more and more people discover the richness of this repertoire. The focus in this workshop will be on Swedish folk music, but Erik will teach you some of the differences in style between all the Nordic countries. Erik will focus on mostly dance music with an emphasis on the polska and slängpolska and you'll learn what makes Swedish folk music unique with its scales, rhythmic grooves, accompaniment, ornamentation and more.

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Updated 12/11/2020 Workshop descriptions and schedules are subject to change. Refresh your browser to make sure you have the latest version of this page.