Somerset Harp Festival Online

Workshops T through Z (updated 4/29/22)

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(click on any workshop to read the full description)

Ireland's ancient harpers had 3 strains of music, called the geantrai, suantrai and goltrai. These days we can relate these to modes. As therapeutic musicians we are taught when to use rhythm vs. non-pulse music and we are taught to use major keys, minor keys, and modes. In this workshop we will discuss how to design medleys based on the Celtic Circle for patients at the bedside and for staff and families. We will discuss the importance of the performer’s artistry and the use of key, mode, and rhythm. These same principles can be used to design concert performances and even your practice sessions by calming improvisational techniques, reflective composition, and ending with uplifting repertoire.

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.

The pandemic caused hospitals and longterm care facilities to go on total lockdown for over a year. What is a therapeutic harpist to do? This hands on workshop is packed with ideas for creating work for yourself as a therapeutic harpist by expanding your vision and repertoire to be able to serve everyone everywhere by playing by ear and improvising. All levels of harpists.

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.

If you want to show off your dexterity and be a flyer on the harp, the secret is picking your repertoire carefully! Come to this workshop to learn some melodies that will you have you speeding up and down your harp in no time and learn what to look out for when choosing the best tunes to play at tempo. Rachel will give you some solid tips on how to get the tunes you know up to speed so you can follow those fiery paced fiddlers!

Usually Erik's focus lies on Nordic music, but he is very fond of all types of folk music and in this workshop he will share some of his favorite tunes that he has collected over the years. With music from such different places as Austria, Turkey, China, Croatia and Iceland (to name a few), this workshop is sure to broaden your repertoire and teach you some new tricks!

For most harpers, coordinating both hands seems to be a big challenge. Making your hands work together requires a little patience Join Kim for this workout with some simple etudes to help develop two-hand coordination, including cross-overs, contrary motion and descants . If your goal is to develop independence in each hand and use the full range of your lever harp this is definitely the workshop you don't want to miss. No need for sight-reading.

You've probably heard other musicians talking about Vamps and are not sure what that is. Or may you know what vamps are and wish you had some to play around with. Take this workshop with the Queen of Vamps and you'll get a hands-on work-out of vamps and learn how they can expand your improv skills. No sight-reading necessary. Break free of the printed page.

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.

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'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 kick off our Youth Harp Program with a Meet & Greet session as part of our Thursday Specials. This is an optional part of the 4-day program. It's a get-acquaiinted session which includes a harp circle and an overview of what to expect during the rest of the weekend. Here are the 2 tunes that Dominique will be teaching. We recommend downloading these tunes and just listening to them, to get them into your head, before you come to Somerset.

Learning Tunes and Songs. We’ll learn to sing songs and then transfer the melodies to the harp, building ear-learning skills along the way. Once the tunes are learned, we’ll use appropriate rhythms and harmonies to build a collaborative arrangement.

Learning Tunes and Songs. We’ll learn to sing songs and then transfer the melodies to the harp, building ear-learning skills along the way. Once the tunes are learned, we’ll use appropriate rhythms and harmonies to build a collaborative arrangement.

Final get-together. Get answers to questions and/or issues regarding any topic related to harp. This will also be a time to help set new goals for playing, discuss new experiences, help students realize their potential and open up possibilities for the future. This is a wonderful opportunity for youth harpists to unite on issues they feel are relevant, exchange ideas.

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Updated 4/29/22 Workshop descriptions and schedules are subject to change. Refresh your browser to make sure you have the latest version of this page.