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Workshops

Máire Ní Chathasaigh - Frank Voltz - Ian Hepburn - Isabeau Corriveau - Timothy Habinski - Ray Pool - Diana Rowan - Harper Tasche - Joanne Griffin  
Printable version of Workshops - Version imprimable de la liste des ateliers

What level are you?   Check details on this page: Level

When choosing your workshops, read the descriptions carefully to ensure that you have chosen ones that will contribute actively to your progress as a harp student. You will gain from all workshops regardless, even if they are beyond your current level. It is always a good idea to stretch your knowledge and explore new harp concepts.

* All workshops are offered in English except for 2 scheduled for Sunday which are taught en français.  

Máire Ní Chathasaigh

    • Optional Celtic Immersion Day with award winning Irish Harpist
      Friday 9:00am

      For this full-day mini-conference, we will explore the wide repertoire of the Irish tradition - that is, the music of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century harpers, the "slow airs", songs and dance tunes - with particular reference to the special rhythms and phrasing characteristic of the tradition and the approaches to harmony and accompaniment that are most appropriate. 

      And we’ll learn some pretty tunes!

      Particular attention will be paid to the specific fingering techniques necessary to create the ornaments that are integral to a stylistically authentic performance. 

      The rhythms of Irish music are difficult to represent accurately in written form, so in order to avoid having to negotiate impossibly complex notation the established convention is to provide a simplified version only.  Written music will be available as you learn, which you’ll be shown how to interpret, but you will primarily learn the melody line by ear and by imitation. This allows you to get the authentic nuances that make this music so beautiful.  Do bring a recording device, too!

      During the day we’ll also explore strategies to release personal creativity and increase the joy of playing. Topics include: listening with your ‘inner ear’; getting to the soul of a tune; phrasing and melodic line; musical ‘giving’ and the power of heartfelt performance.

      So much music-making happens in your head. We’ll talk about concentration, thinking ahead and effective practicing.

      We’ll discuss the physical aspects of harping too. Topics will include:

      Solutions to postural issues and common problems; learning to relax and the relationship of relaxation with tone; warm-ups and exercises - what’s the difference?; technical development as a means of achieving transparency of musical intention.

      It will be a great day for fun and learning!

      ALL LEVELS
      Limited registration
      Hands-on

       

    • Style, Rhythm, Arranging, & Ornamentation in Irish Dance Music
      Saturday 9:15am

      Here is a more advanced version of the course above.  Before Máire, the harp in Ireland was not played for jigs and reels. It was used with chords and arpeggiated chords for singing. But Máire was born into a family steeped in traditional Irish music since the 18th century, and as a curious teen she was convinced that the ornaments from other instruments could be reproduced on the harp.  She experimented several years before perfecting these sounds.

      Here's a chance to learn from Máire, how to achieve gorgeous ornaments that make your music authentic.  You’ll learn the finer points of “cuts,” you’ll see a new fingering for Irish triplets that gives a specific variation of attack on the strings, and learn ornaments that sound authentically like those of the Uilleann pipes and fiddle.  

      This class will help you with the rhythm, variation, and authentic treatment of melody. And you’ll “get” the phrasing and some great accompaniment ideas… while learning a pretty tune! Feel free to bring recording device. No music reading required. A handout will be available at the end of the class.

      INTERMEDIATE TO ADVANCED
      Hands-on

    • Authentic O'Carolan
      Saturday 11:00am

      Very few of us have had a chance to experience authentic Chinese food in China, versus the “Americanized” Chinese fare we get here.  The same with the quintessential Irish composer O’Carolan: Unfortunately we only are exposed to “homogenized” arrangements.  Here is your chance to get to the real heart of O’Carolan tunes.

      Turlough O'Carolan expressed himself musically in several styles. He composed some music with Baroque influence.  He composed Irish court harp music, and tunes in the style of traditional Irish songs and dance music.

      Each needs a different approach. You wouldn't play a slow air that sounded baroque, or a baroque piece that sounded like a slow air.  Máire will teach you snippets of some tunes in their specific authentic styles to help you experience and hear the differences. Your arranging of O’Carolan will never be the same. Music reading preferable, but not essential. You’ll get sheet music for a complete tune to take away with you. Recording devices welcome. 

      ALL LEVELS
      Hands-on

    • Irish Slow Airs and how to play slow pieces
      Sunday 9:15am

      The “slow air” is probably the oldest type of music in the Irish tradition and is particularly associated with the harp.  Máire will gently draw you into a very special sonic world and show you pathways to developing the mental and physical skills you need to play these airs’ and slow pieces in general, in a breathtaking way, causing your listener to hang on as you suspend them in magical silence from time to time. 

      You’ll learn how to listen with your “inner ear.”  You’ll learn about getting to the soul of a tune, phrasing, and melodic line.   You’ll learn the relationship of relaxation with tone and ways to relax. And concentration and thinking ahead; musical “giving” and the power of heartfelt performance. And you’ll learn a simple tune (or two)!

      ALL LEVELS
      Hands-on


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Frank Voltz

Frank Voltz will deliver a series of workshops that will culminate in the creation of an original composition. These three workshops build upon one another and help the participants gather the tools they need in their musical toolbox to create their own music. The workshops are listed in order below. It is advantageous, although not a strict requirement, that they all be taken, in sequence.

    • First:  Cool Chords (You Can Use)
      Saturday 11:00am

      Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced harpist, you can learn to play chords that will ring in your listeners’ ears and that you will enjoy hearing yourself. Triads are baby steps; let’s mambo! Without any knowledge of theory, we will explore how to create chords that will give our music more life, more flair, more sophistication, and more excitement. First, we will learn how to build the chords, and then we will learn how to use them and apply them to a piece of music. This workshop is very interactive, completely hands-on, and totally fun. As time permits, attendees will pick their favorite songs and together, we will apply these cool chords and experience the new sounds we’ve created from small nuances to amazing musical colors. Let’s take the music you play, the music you create, and kick it up a notch!

      INTERMEDIATE TO ADVANCED
      Hands-on


    • Second: From Start to Finish (Introductions, Interludes, and Endings)
      Saturday 1:30pm

      Whether you are playing a song, playing a hymn in church, accompanying a singer (or yourself), improvising for the fun of it, or composing an original composition, you need an introduction and an ending. If a vocalist is involved, you will probably need an interlude so she (or you) can catch her breath. There are so many ways to create these parts within a piece of music. Every piece of music is different, so we need to decide on the style and length, and whether to incorporate the melody of the piece itself. This workshop is interactive and fun, and attendees will grasp an understanding of how, when, and why to use introductions, interludes, and endings in music.

      INTERMEDIATE TO ADVANCED
      Hands-on


    • Third: Inspired Composing for the Harp
      Sunday 11:00am

      The participants will start with the ingredients of music (pick a key, pick major/minor, select a tempo, select a style/theme, select a time signature, etc.), and then we'll create a composition for harp using the "recipe" that Frank uses when composing a piece of music for the harp. Once we have selected our musical ingredients, we will compose a piece of music for the harp together. Think of it as "composing by committee." At the conclusion of the class, Frank will take our "masterpiece" home and transcribe it and send it via email to all the attendees so they can see the finished composition. It will be fun and totally unpredictable.

      INTERMEDIATE TO ADVANCED
      Hands-on



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Ian Hepburn

    • Vibroacoustic Harp Therapy: New frontiers in the use of the healing harp
      Saturday 1:30pm

      Vibroacoustic Harp Therapy, as created by its originator Sarajane Williams, has been used to alleviate conditions ranging from chronic pain (fibromyalgia, back pain, etc.) to insomnia;  MS to stress. Several practitioners now use VAHT to help children cope with learning and behavioral difficulties. Ian Hepburn will talk about the application of VAHT at Hawkesbury & District General Hospital and in local elementary and high schools. A detailed description of the new VAHT Home Study Training  Course will be given.

      ALL LEVELS
      Conversation and Demonstration


    • Your Harp as Community Builder
      Saturday 3:15pm

      In his harp-work at Hawkesbury & District General Hospital for the past 12 years; the O P E N S P A C E S Project (Mindfulness- with- harp) work in elementary and high schools for the past 4 years; harp instructor in the Vankleek Hill Music & Arts Summer Camp for 17 years; and harp & drum sessions in seniors residences and group homes for the past 2 years, Ian Hepburn has collected experiences and stories to share about how you can use the harp in your community to make peoples’ lives better. And have fun along the way.

      ALL LEVELS
      Conversation and Demonstration


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Isabeau Corriveau

    • Touch and Tones
      Saturday 9:15am

      This is a technique that will help you improve the quality of your sound while staying relaxed. We will develop maximum efficiency for minimal effort. The first half of the workshop will include exercises to rehearse the movements. The second half will apply this technique to a short piece.

      BEGINNER TO INTERMEDIATE
      Hands-on


    • Touch and Tones (repeat; offered in French) 
      Sunday 9:15am

Cette technique vous aidera à améliorer la qualité de votre son, tout en restant bien détendu. Le maximum de rendement pour un minimum d'effort. Cet atelier sera divisé en deux sections. En première partie nous ferons des exercices pour bien comprendre les mouvements et en seconde partie, nous appliquerons la technique à une courte pièce.

INTERMÉDIAIRE À AVANCÉ
Hands-on


    • Duo, Not Duel (offered in French only) 
      Sunday 11:00am

      Vous apprendrez une pièce en duo. Ce sera un bon exercice d'écoute, de style et de travail d'équipe.

      INTERMÉDIAIRE À AVANCÉ
      Hands-on


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Timothy Habinski

 

    • Buzzes and Bumps and Strings, Oh My! - Maintenance tips and tricks for your lever harp
      Saturday 11:00am 

      Broken strings at inconvenient moments, mystery buzzes that drive you crazy, long zigzag tracks from the time your nephew explored your soundboard with a toy car – these moments when a harpist will need to do minor maintenance and repairs on their own harps are as inevitable as death and taxes. This workshop will show you how to do that maintenance with confidence. We’ll be discussing:

      • How to put together a simple harp-care tool kit
      • How to re-tie and replace strings quickly and easily
      • The ABC’s of tracking down and eliminating mysterious buzzes
      • How to minimize the appearance of surface abrasions and bumps
      • How to re-settle slipping tuning pins
      • How and where to install pickups for clear amplification.

      ALL LEVELS - Attendees are encouraged to bring their harps (with or without minor ailments) to this workshop.
      Hands-on

 

    • Rules and Regulations - How to maintain and adjust your levers for smooth action and perfect intonation
      Saturday 1:30pm

      Semi-tone levers are essential equipment for most harpists, but they can on occasion drive you crazy. Fortunately, the difference between a lever that deadens a string and misses true pitch and one that sounds perfect every time is often as simple as a quarter turn with the right screwdriver.

      In this workshop, attendees will be introduced to the major brands of harp levers, the basic principles of how they work, what tools you need to adjust them, and where those tools are available. Then we’ll get to the fun bit – actually regulating our harps! Attendees will receive practical, hands on instruction in how to adjust levers for accuracy and smooth action.

      ALL LEVELS
      Please bring your harps and roll up your sleeves!



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Ray Pool

In all of these workshops, note reading is involved for maximum participation. No one plays alone. No one has to play "by ear." All examples are completely notated in workshop handouts.


    • Clever Levers
      Saturday 3:15pm

      The ultimate in diatonic harmony. A study of seventh chords continues into a discussion of chord tones of the 9th, 11th, and 13th. “The Common Glissando” is illustrated for pedal and lever harp simultaneously. Includes performance of a lead sheet melody in three keys with modulation interludes included.

      INTERMEDIATE TO ADVANCED 
      Hands-on


    • Improvisation/Modulation Workshop
      Sunday 9:15am

      Patterns of improvisation on three chord progressions which include I – IV – V – I,

      I – VI – II – V, and I – IV – VII – III – VI – II – V – I. Also includes information on modulation among six keys playable on lever harp and pedal harp simultaneously.

      ALL LEVELS
      Hands-on


    • The Treble Harpist
      Sunday 11:00am

      Designed for entry level students of music on the harp. Note reading, rhythm exercises and arrangements at five levels of increasing complexity. All work is done on a single staff in the treble clef. The complete range of notes includes the F below middle C (three ledger lines below the staff) to the soprano high C (two ledger lines above the staff.) Fifty melodies are arranged in increasing order of difficulty. Repertoire is drawn from folk tunes, hymn tunes, Hebrew melodies, vintage American standards and songs of Stephen Foster.

      BEGINNER
      Hands-on


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Diana Rowan

    • Playing with Creativity & Expression
      Saturday 9:15am

      Beyond techniques, devices, and songs, how do we actually play with feeling and keep creativity alive? After embarking on a massive months-long project interviewing dozens of professional harpists on these burning questions, Diana brings you the 3 big core elements that keep Expression and Creativity strong.

      ALL LEVELS
      Hands-on


    • Performance Mastery
      Saturday 3:15pm

      Many great performers started out a bundle of nerves. Now they love performing in public and sharing their message. Learn the Overarching Concept for confident, joyful performing, and the 3 Pillars that hold it up. You can do it!

      ALL LEVELS
      Hands-on


    • Therapeutic World Music
      Sunday 11:00am

      Brighten up your therapeutic harp repertoire with world music from all continents. More and more, our healing harp audience reflects a global origin. This workshop gives you the tools to add world music elements to your repertoire, whether that be new songs or simply new arranging and improv techniques.

      ALL LEVELS
      Hands-on



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Harper Tasche

    • Folk Harp Boot Camp Series: Chord Calisthenics
      Saturday 9:15am

      Most everybody has an idea what chords are, and can play chords of some sort on the harp, but what is really making your chord choices – you, or your technical limitations?  We’ll start by learning to really hear what our chords sound like, then chuckle our way through an hour of play designed to limber up and strengthen our ability to make chords sound however we want.

      ALL LEVELS
      Hands-on


    • Spontaneous Ensembles
      Saturday 11:00am

      If you don't have written-out parts, how can you all play together?  Here's a hands-on approach to learn the process of creating a group arrangement, no matter how many people are present or what instruments they have.

      ALL LEVELS
      Hands-on


    • Every Day Harping for Everyday Harpers
      Saturday 1:30pm

      Do you feel guilty that you don't practise as much as you think you should?  Are you frustrated to find yourself working on the same things over and over again?  This session can help!  Learn some of Harper's favorite strategies to cram a lot of skill-building into a few minutes, and learn ways to help manage your harp time so you can keep developing technically and musically -- whether you practice for an hour every day, or can only manage 15-20 minutes of harp time every so often.

      ALL LEVELS
      Hands-on


    • Folk Harp Boot Camp Series: Flying Fingers
      Sunday 9:15am

      When you pluck a harp string, what are your fingers actually doing?  How intricately, quickly, and accurately can they move, and how relaxed can they be?  Jump-start or revitalize your technique with an (often humorous) hour getting your fingers and hands to work independently and together.  Come laugh your way to better playing with some of Harper's favorite finger exercises!

      ALL LEVELS
      Hands-on


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Joanne Griffin

    • Let’s Just Play! and How to Choose New Music Wisely
      Saturday 3:15pm

      In this workshop we will actively build repertoire by looking at a variety of accessible pieces. We’ll also review a checklist that is designed to help you out when you’re looking to buy new harp music.

      BEGINNER TO INTERMEDIATE
      Hands-on


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