June 30, 2010

Gone Harpin'

No tidbits this week - I'm at the Ohio Scottish Games judging the Harp Competition and then participating in the Ohio Scottish Arts School in Oberlin Ohio.  I'm learning a ton of new stuff and sharing a little as well.  I look forward to "seeing" you next week!

June 23, 2010

In the good ol' summer time

Its Summertime!  As I mentioned last week, its also time for summer camps - especially harp camps!

I hope you're going to join me in PA in August.  But if not, I hope you're going to get to one of the other learning opportunities available for adult learners at all levels of harp performance.  Or that you'll be able to get to one of the conferences such as Somerset Folk Harp Festival or HarpCon.  And I hope I'll get to meet you at some of these events!

But one of the downsides to all this is also an upside.  Its summer, our schedules seem to be more free and there are plenty of opportunities to play.  And this is where the downside comes in - if you have a sudden ramp up in the amount of time you're playing you are exposing yourself to the potential for injury.  Not good - it totally cramps your practicing and playing!

It is also when we're learning so many things that we start tweaking our own play and that too can sometimes lead to injury.  If you get a great tip - how you sit at the harp, the type of seat you use, the shoes you wear (and not just if you play pedal!), the geometry of your hands, arms or shoulders - all of these great ideas and tips will be NEW TO YOU!  Therefore you must incorporate these changes slowly into your practice.  Don't modify your sitting position and then practice for 2 hours in this new position - you'll greatly increase your probability of injury. 

And it doesn't have to be so noticeable - simply changing the type of music you play (going from all traditional tunes to reading classical off a page for instance) can also open you to potential injury.
Athletic trainers suggest you implement changes like these about 10% weekly. 

Being a musician, regardless of your level of performance requires physical conditioning - you're asking a lot of your body.  So, just like runners or boxers, you must, as a musician, remember to warm up, cool down, stretch and stay strong and fit for the long haul.

June 16, 2010

Harp Camp

I am very pleased to have been invited to teach at Lever Harp Camp again this year.  So, if you're in the mid-Atlantic region (or you like to travel!) join us for our 15th year.  Harp Camp will be August 19, 20, and 21 in South Central Pennsylvania – easily accessible to harpers from anywhere and at any level.  I am excited to be teaching with Director Kris Snyder as well as presenters Marianna Nystrom and Lucy Stevens.

The award winning instructors of Harp Camp strive to provide a highly personalized, fun-filled, supportive environment where lever harp players at all levels extend their technical skills and enhance their appreciation for this historic instrument. We also work on building a healthy sense of self-esteem – encouraging our attendees to try new things and give them an understanding of the skills necessary to reach individual performance goals. In addition, MHTP Graduates have the potential to gain 6 CEUs for participation.

The format is tailored to you:
     No frustration of either information that you aren’t ready for, or waiting for people with less experience to understand what is being presented.
     We are offering three tracks: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced...each workshop you take will be geared toward your proficiency and comfort level.

These three days will be filled with creativity and fun.  Workshops this year will include:
* Putting on Airs (learning by ear): demonstrating the processes of learning-by-ear and working with an Air
* Practice Makes Me with Sticky Wickets: getting the best from the time you have and confronting common issues
* Improvisation from Composition: demonstrating a variety of improvisational techniques and methods for converting compositions into improvisations

In addition, MHTP graduates may attend optional presentations covering analyzing music for appropriateness for CMP work/how to change the selection for use; organizing binders for best flow; how to move from piece to piece and how to move from key to key.

We’ll spend time on mechanical issues that come with the harp: changing strings, adjusting levers. Games, Creative and Directed Ensemble and age appropriate activities are included!

If you have always wanted to try the harp without the commitment, we will have rentals available and a separate novice track designed to give you the optimum experience of trying the harp – with no strings attached!

Harp Camp has a capped attendance policy – this allows our class sizes to remain small- giving our attendees the personal attention for our instructors that they deserve.

For more information go to http://www.jeniuscreations.com/Harp_Camp.php (or write me a comment/question).

June 9, 2010

The excitement is growing palpable as we move closer to September and the Harp in the Highlands and Islands Tour.  September is rapidly approaching but not fast enough for me! I was disappointed that the spring tour was incomplete due to technical issues but we leave on the autumn trip on 6th September with a  full complement.  We'll be spending an entire week - eight days and seven nights -  on a customized tour of the Scottish Highlands and Islands seeing some of the places you’ve played about and learning tunes along the way!

As described in previous posts, this tour will go through some of the most beautiful scenery to be seen anywhere and includes the Isle of Skye, the western Highlands, the Spey valley and Cairngorm Mountains. Each day we will learn a tune or add to our harp lore. Our travelers will be great fun with broad diversity - some brand new to the harp and others further along on their musical journeys.  I'm certain they will all enjoy this trip. And their travel logistics are greatly improved and simplified with a lovely small harp awaiting them in Scotland.  We can all travel with light hearts, without fear of the airlines careless handling of our sweet investments.

This intimate tour will consist of four travelers. This very small group size allows flexibility so each day David can show us the very best Scotland has to offer as well as those special things that can’t be planned. Along the way I’ll share tunes that match our travels, experiences, and mood (to learn more about David and me, see the earlier posts and check out the website).
We leave in just three months.  We will post while we are there - I can't wait to share our trip with you! 

I'm sorry if you're not one of the lucky few who are joining us this year.  If you become enchanted (or just plain envious) while you read our posts, never fear.  We are planning on making the trip again next year - so you could join us then and see breathtaking Scotland over the arm of your own small harp! Just let me know - drop me a comment here or send me an email. I am so looking forward to sharing this incredible opportunity with you! For details and more information go to http://www.jeniuscreations.com/Harp_Tours_of_Scotland.php.

Until then, keep practicing, consider which are your favorite tunes and join us next year to learn more!  And I'll keep posting tidbits here - just to contribute to your harp development.

June 2, 2010

Ohio Scottish Arts School - OSAS at Oberlin

Are you planning to attend the 32nd Annual Ohio Scottish Arts School in Oberlin OH from 26th June - 2nd July, 2010????

I sure hope so!  This is a fantastic opportunity.  You might get to see more of the world famous Ohio Tartan:

But also, regardless of your level of experience - from beginner to master, OSAS has something to offer you!  Much of this information is directly from the OSAS website: http://www.ohioscottishartsschool.com/home_files/osas_harp.htm. Here is a little bit about what you can expect:
All Students are expected to bring their own instrument - it would be hard to study for a week without a harp!
The Scottish Harp classes will focus on:
• Basic harp technique for beginners and intermediates
• Repertoire at all levels, including tunes for competition sets
• Scottish style, including ornaments, lilt, and dance types

In addition, there are excellent students.  In addition to being great harpers of various levels of proficiency, they are very friendly and convivial.  You can look forward to not only the excitement of "pick up" evening jam sessions in which you have the chance to develop accompaniment patterns and learn more tunes but also the verve of spending that much time with other people who are as crazy about playing the harp as you are and who love the repertoire as much as you do!

You'll study Scottish dance music, airs, and songs, focusing on ornamentation, Scottish style, accompaniment, and learning by ear. In addition there are lectures, practice time, and playing in sessions. Classes really do cover everyone from beginners who have played for a few months, intermediates, and advanced players.

If you've been to OSAS before and you haven't signed up I hope you do so soon before the course fills up.  And if you've never been before - what are you waiting for? 
But hurry, registration closes 4th June - that's not too far away. 

Hope to see you there.  If you have questions that can't be answered by the website, post me a comment and I'll do my best to answer you or put you in touch with someone who can!

See you there!