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 - L1:
Scandinavian Lullabies - a Darker Side...(B-I) back to top
Lullabies are traditionally thought of as soothing songs for children, but delving
into the Scandinavian lullaby tradition we see a much darker side to some of these
with warning lyrics of fantastical beasts and haunting melodies...
In this session we will explore arrangements of some of these beautiful tunes for harp.
10:00 - 11:15 T1:
Soup up Your Scales! (ALL) back to top
Do you ever wish your scales sounded, well, a little... better? More even? Smoother? A little but
more like that harpist you hear in your head who warms up with such panache that even their
exercises sound like Beethoven...?
Scales are one of the fundamental aspects of playing the harp (or, indeed, pretty much any instrument!),
yet it's surprising that so often, after we 'master' them early on, we don't often go back and polish
them up in the way that we do other things.
This workshop will put a microscope to your scales and really focus in on the 'little things'
that will help you to improve your fluidity and sound. If you want to level up your playing,
this is the workshop for you!
11:30 - 12:45 L2:
The Magic of Miriam Makeba (I-A) back to top
Zenzille Miriam Makeba was a South African singer, songwriter and civil rights activist
and one of the first African musicians to receive worldwide recognition and bring African music
to Western audiences.
Her music is joyful, sorrowful, humorous... and the list continues! Nelson
Mandela himself claimed that 'her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us'. We will
have a glorious session exploring arrangements of this music for harp.
Yes, yes, we know that technically Sirens aren't mermaids at all, but what can we say,
we like alliteration! Stories of mysterious sea-dwelling creatures that sing so beautifully
that sailors are lured to their death appear in many different cultures throughout the world,
and perhaps unsurprisingly, the melodies that come to be associated with these creates are
often of an almost unearthly beauty.
In this session we will be learning a bewitching tune from the Hebrides which is said to have
been sung by a mermaid to her young daughter...
14:00 - 15:15 L3:
Not Just Plucking...!(ALL)back to top
As well as plucking our strings with a beautiful hand position and creating a perfect rounded sound (!),
there are many other ways we can create different and exciting noises on our harps.
Ever started a beautiful arrangement and then been floored by that frustrating harmonic at the end
that just never quite sounds?! Or had a complicated moving bass part that just ends up
buzzing for England?
In this session we will explore other commonly used playing techniques
examining the notation, what it means and how best to execute it from single harmonics to double
harmonics, from etouffe to glissandos, from staccato fingering to damping. All too often these techniques
are something we just add on or throw into a piece without really stopping and working
them out so now is your chance!
Tamsin is an accomplished and extremely eclectic composer, creating pieces such as the
boundary-pushing 'Suite for Lever Harp' and the award-winning jazz solo '16,237 (.47)'.
Her music has also made it into the Trinity exam syllabus, as well as having been performed
at the International Harp Competition in Singapore.
In this session, you will be learning one of her latest compositions - one her new collection of
what she terms quite simply 'Pretty Tunes' - simple yet beautiful melodies that are written
for the lever harp by a lever harpist, are satisfying to play and lovely to hear!
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 (I-A) 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 different approaches to the instrument.
Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the most well known and influential composers and his
music spanned from the classical to the romantic with much in between. The tales of
him turning completely deaf by the time he was in his 40s have fascinated musicians
and non-musicians alike and only added to his revered composer status.
Apart from the 'six easy variations on a Swiss song', composed for the piano but published
for the harp or the forte-piano (probably for commercial reasons), Beethoven has only
written one piece for the harp: the adagio of the creatures Prometheus. Despite this,
his works fit exceptionally well on the lever and pedal harps that we build today
and in this session we will explore a 'blast of Beethoven'!
9:30 - 10:45 T4:
A Look at the Left Hand (B-I) FULLY BOOKED back to top
So you have a lovely tune in your head - maybe you wrote it, or perhaps you just heard it somewhere.
Maybe you have some chords you've been trying with it. But is it just somehow... not working?
If you struggle to coordinate the left and right hands together, don't worry - you are not alone!
In this workshop we will take a simple tune with some chord suggestions, and then
look at some ways of both creating an accompaniment and ways to practise so that the hands work better together.
Sitting at your harp in front of a computer for long periods of time can make you very stiff!
This year, we have invited a guest tutor to guide us through a gentle yoga session specifically aimed at harpists,
to help keep us in tip-top shape for playing!
PLEASE NOTE: this session will not be recorded for later viewing.
Music was of paramount importance in the Tudor period, particularly at the royal court
where musicians were employed to entertain monarchs and tutor their children, often rewarded with
extravagant tips and personal praise from the king or queen. Henry VIII himself was an enthusiastic
musician. Travelling back in time we explore some of these melodies on our harps!
11:45 - 13:00 T5:
Write your own Mermaid Song...! (I-A) back to top
Have you ever wanted to compose, but weren't sure where to start? Does it seem like a mystery to you
how tunes come to be?
Get your creative juices flowing at this workshop where we will be looking at setting some mermaid-themed
lyrics to music (don't worry, singing is not obligatory!). We will look the structure of several
folk tunes to help uncover how they work, and use some (provided) chords, prompts, lyrics and ideas
to help you get started writing your own.
The aim of this workshop is not necessarily to produce Your Best Work (although we hope
that you like the results!), but simply to Write Something (Anything!) - which in itself is
one of the biggest lessons a composer needs to learn: not everything you produce will be 'Great',
but as you never know what will end up sounding good you need to be prepared to welcome all ideas that
come to you!
You don't have to be a harpist to come to this workshop - musicians of all stripes are welcome!
It helps if you can play or sing well enough to work out your ideas on your instrument, but even
if you're not there yet all are welcome to come and listen.
**A basic knowledge of music reading and theory will be useful as we will be using scores to help us
understand the structure and chords of some pieces, and some of the prompts to work from will consist of
If you're not confident in your music writing to notate your tune, don't forget you can record your
ideas on your phone's voice memo function and then work out how to write it down later!
13:30 - 1500 - General catch-up and goodbyes! MG3 (ALL) back to top
An opportunity to get together with everyone who's been attending the Festival and
discuss what you've learned.
This session is FREE for all Festival attendees - everyone will
receive the link closer to the event.