Festival 2022

22-23 October 2022!

Festival Bookings update: Thank you so much to all who have booked for this Festival - we are so happy about the incredibly positive response we have had!

However, to ensure everyone case receive all the relevant information in time, bookings for all courses are now CLOSED (concert places may still be booked).

We are hoping very much to run similar events in the future, so if you have missed out this time, please don't worry, there will be other opportunities! We also welcome your ideas for workshops/ideas that you would like to see featured next time.

So, happy harping from all the festival team, and please excuse us now whilst we finish the preparations!

We are hugely excited to announce our THIRD annual Transpennine Harps Online Festival weekend!

There will be a wide variety of workshops for players of all abilities, as well as an informal tea concert live-streamed by the wonderfully talented Lucy Nolan and Tamsin Dearnley.

The Festival is open to all and provides a wonderful opportunity to learn, ask questions, and to meet and chat with other harp enthusiasts!

Just show me the courses!

Although we had intended to make this Festival a mixture of live and online classes, owing to the continuing uncertainty around meetings and travel we have decided to keep our online format this year. This also allows our many new members from around the UK and the WORLD (!) to join us once again - we have been so happy at the response and enthusiasm shown by all who have attended over the past couple of years and we are really looking forward to broadening our outreach and promotion of the harp as an accessible and versatile instrument.

Not convinced yet? Here are just some of the lovely comments we got after our event last year:

As with previous events, all workshops will be held using Zoom and the relevant links and materials will be sent out to participants in good time for the classes.

All of the sessions will be recorded so you can review them later, and there will be handouts and printed music with each class for you to download and keep.

If you are unfamiliar with Zoom, never fear - you don't need any special equipment other than a laptop/phone/tablet and a reasonable internet connection. It is very simple to use and we are available for any troubleshooting!

Download Zoom for free here!

Huge thanks to our talented member Joan Dearnley for the wonderful artwork she has produced this year - we're sure you'll agree it's stunning, as usual!

Cost and how to book:

Each workshop will cost £5 (or the equivalent in your local currency). All attendees will receive course materials and a video recording of the session after the event.

If you can't make a live session, recording only bookings are also available for a reduced price of £4 (this includes relevant materials).

The Saturday tea concert will be free, but donations are always very much appreciated to help us cover our costs.

We will be using the beautifully straightforward booking system 'Zestival' (if you have been to previous events you will be familiar with this - if not, we promise it's super easy to use!). It would be very helpful if you would provide us with a phone number when booking (this will not be kept after the Festival) so that we can get in touch quickly in the (hopefully unlikely!) event of any technical issues before or during the workshops - we don't want anyone missing out because they can't connect!


You can view and download a quick-view timetable of the weekend here:

Open quickview timetable

For more information on the exact content of each course, please look at the links below.

If you have any questions at all about the content of the workshops, please do not hesitate to contact the relevant tutor: Lucy Nolan or Tamsin Dearnley.

Saturday 22nd October

Level indicator (but please do read the descriptions or contact us for more detailed information if you are unsure whether a class is suitable for your level or not - most things are adaptable!)

B = Beginners/Post-beginners

I = Intermediates

A = Advanced

ALL = All playing levels welcome

Please note that the classes will be aimed at the levels indicated, but you may of course attend any workshop that interests you! Just be aware that the class may be faster/more involved or slower/less involved depending on the intended audience.

Please tap the relevant workshop title to take you to a more in-depth description of the class:

Morning timetable:

Afternoon Timetable:

Sunday 23rd October

Morning timetable:

Afternoon timetable:

The Classes:
9:15 - 10:00 MG1: Meet & Greet (ALL) back to top

The morning 'Meet & Greet' sessions are a time for us to introduce ourselves, say hello to old friends, and generally enjoy each other's company before the classes begin. (If you're not a morning person, don't worry - attendance is not obligatory!)

10:00 - 11:15 - T1: More than the Melody (ALL) back to top

Playing music with other people is one of the BEST things about playing an instrument! It can, however, be a little daunting sometimes, especially when you're not quite sure... well, exactly what to play! How do some people seem to just know how to magic up a beautiful accompaniment seemingly out of nowhere?!

Never fear, it's not as hard as you think! In this class, we'll be looking at some simple ways to create easy but effective accompaniments spread across both hands that will work with melody instruments - be it a flute-playing friend or your own voice.

10:00 - 11:15 L1: Perform with Pizzazz (ALL) back to top

You've spent hours practising some brilliant new music but when it comes to finally sharing it with an 'audience', be it 1 or 101 does it somehow never go quite to plan or sound as good as it does when you're practising by yourself?

Or maybe it does, but you'd like to relax and enjoy your performance a little bit more? In this session we'll discuss how to prepare to perform to others and share your music without letting any doubts or performance anxiety get in the way, looking at specific techniques to help.

11:30 - 12:45 T2: Lever Boot Camp - level 1...! (B-I) back to top

The levers on our harps are a wonderful invention and increase hugely the range of music that we can play. But do you find yourself tensing up at the very idea of... (eep!) changing a lever in the middle of a piece?!

If this sounds familiar, this class is for you! Join us to learn some tips and tricks for making lever changing a little less daunting. We'll start small - inserting a lever change into an easy tune and making sure we're /really comfortable/ with it, before looking at lever technique (how to we stop unwanted noise?!) and some practice ideas.

This course is open to all, but specifically aimed at beginners and early intermediate players who'd like to either get started with or just get more confident with their lever changing.

Want MORE? Check out the 'Lever Boot Camp - level 2' for more advanced lever techniques...!

11:30 - 12:45 L2: Minnesänger - medieval German music (I) back to top

From the 12th to the 14th centuries 'Minnesängers' (German/Austrian poet-musicians) were hard at work writing beautiful courtly love songs. Shrouded in mystery as little biographical or historical information survives, they strike a romantic image and luckily for us a few of these ancient melodies survive. Come along to learn some of them and discover these fascinating musicians from the past.

14:00 - 15:15 T3: Eep! Jazz! What now...?! (B-I)back to top

If you've ever looked longingly at a lead sheet for your favourite jazz tune and thought 'oh, but I'm not sure I really get this... maybe I'll try again later' (and then never do, we've all been there!) - then this is the course for you!

Whilst it's (sadly) true that some pieces really don't work on the lever harp, there are many that DO!

This course will introduce you to how to interpret a lead sheet: why do they sometimes seem to work and sometimes not? How do we know if we need to change a lever?! Is D-7#9b13 a chord or a strong password?!

You do not require a lot of theory to take this course - we will review basic chords and 7ths chords and how they work. Do, however, bring a pencil and possibly some manuscript paper to take notes if you need to!

14:00 - 15:15 L3: Mini Masterclass (ALL) back to top

An exclusive chance to take a mini masterclass with the award-winning harpist Lucy Nolan!

This class is designed for a small group in which each participant brings a piece they would like to improve to play to the group and then discuss and work on with Lucy.

In order for everyone to get the most out of this class, numbers will be strictly limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Other participants may join as observers - once the class is full tickets will be available as 'observer only' places.

Observing a masterclass is hugely rewarding even if you're not playing yourself. Don't miss this brilliant opportunity to learn from one of the best!

15:15 - 16:00 MG2: Tea + Harps + Chat (ALL) back to top

We all need a break from playing - join us in the common room before the tea concert to meet other attendees and have a relaxed chat about, well, anything really!

16:00 - 17:00 C1: Informal Tea Concert (ALL) back to top

Join Lucy and Tamsin for a relaxed late-afternoon performance and see just how versatile the harp can be as they share their very diffferent approaches to the instrument.

9:30 - 10:00 MG3: Morning Meet and Greetback to top

Rise and Shine - come and say hello before the second day's activities!

10:00 - 11:15 T4 Lever Boot Camp - level 2...! (I-A) back to top

One or two lever changes not enough for you?

Tamsin has been described variously as 'the Queen of lever changes' and 'that girl who changes levers like a BOSS'. Whilst she may dispute these claims, it's true that she has definitely pushed the boundaries of what is often thought possible on a lever harp.

In this class she'll be sharing some of the techniques she uses to make very fast lever changes, as well as how to have control over wanted and unwanted lever noises - sometimes you want a lever slide; sometimes you really don't!

We'll also look at how to think outside the box when it comes to choosing lever changes, as well as looking at practice techniques for learning multiple ones in a piece.

Check out this video to see an example of what can be possible...!

10:00 - 11:15 L4- Spanish Romance (I-A) back to top

The luscious music of 'Romance Anonimo' was originally written for guitar, and luckily for us its flowing melodic lines fit beautifully on the harp. With no composer attributed to the music we are left guessing as to the identity of the person for whom this yearning melody was written.

This class is for you if you and your harp would like to be transported to romantic Spain or just want to learn a gorgeous new tune.

11:30 - 12:45 T5: Jazz in Autumn (I-A) back to top

Jazz is becomingly increasingly popular as a style of music to be played on the lever harp. But with it not being a 'traditional' jazz instrument it can be a little intimidating at first!

In keeping with this year's theme of 'Autumn Leaves', we'll be looking at the Jazz standard of the same name. From interpreting the lead sheet to fitting in the lever changes, join us for a more in-depth look at how to arrange a jazz standard to fit with your style of playing (hint, there's not just one way!).

On a technical level, the piece is (depending on how you arrange it) 'intermediate-advanced' but anyone with an interest in seeing how jazz arrangement is done is welcome to join us - there will be plenty for ALL participants to practise in their own time after the class!

11:30 - 12:45 L5: Cornish Creations (B-I) back to top

Cornwall is well known for its stunning coastlines and countryside but perhaps less commonly recognised for its musical output. There is a wealth of exquisite Cornish songs out there and they fit well on the harp. Intrigued?! Then this is the class for you!

13:30 - 1500 - Show and Tell + Presentation of Transpennine Harps' activities MG4 (ALL) back to top

An opportunity to get together with everyone who's been attending the Festival and discuss what you've learned. Those that would like to will have the opportunity to play everyone a piece from the weekend in a supportive atmosphere!

This session is FREE for all Festival attendees - everyone will receive the link closer to the event.