July 27, 2011

Harp Camp - another great summer event

No big post today - I am getting ready to teach at Harp Camp 2012  which starts tomorrow in Southeastern Pennsylvania.  We will be having a great time teaching in our very intimate venue; working one on one with students; sharing music, technique,

approaches and interpretation; and fun!  It's all the best parts of summer camping!  I wish you could be with us - maybe next year?  I'll post some highlights of Harp Camp next week.  In the interim, post a comment and tell me what are you working on?

July 20, 2011

Go Play Outside!

It is definitely summer! Long days with clear skies that just beg you to come outside. And why not - it can only do you good to get a little fresh air (in the shade!).

We get so used to playing in the same room, in the same spot, in the same light. But moving around could be a big help. You might be surprised how much your perspective will change.

Just by moving outside, you’ll get a different appreciation for a lot of things about playing. You’ll learn a lot about light, sound, temperature, and space. Things you might forget to think about if you always sit in the same spot.

Of course, you’ll also get to think about mundane things like how much a harp weighs, how unwieldy a triangular object can be to carry, the challenges of remaining balanced on an imperfect lawn. But each of these things also provides opportunities to learn.

Think about the challenges of playing from your deck and the slats beneath the strings. Or a brick patio that swallows up your Cs!

You’ll start to see the seams in your playing – pieces you thought you had down might be more challenging if you’re squinting. Yes, it is hard to concentrate on the next note or phrase when you detect sweat trickling down your back…just like it does at outdoor summer weddings! It’s really hard to hear yourself when the closest surface is not just 10 feet away, especially if it is a tree not a wall. And when planes fly overhead or the neighbor kids go by screaming on their bikes, you know it will be just like the distractions you overhear wherever you play.

But you can play through all that - and give yourself a fresh perspective on your music.  And if you give your neighbors an impromptu concert - all the better for all of you.  Who knows, you might just have fun!

So, go outside to play – and see how it helps you to improve.

July 13, 2011

Somerset Folk Harp Festival

Am I going to see you at Somerset???  I sure hope so.  It promises to be a grand event - building on the previous years' successes. 

There are so many workshops it will be hard to determine which ones to settle on.  And then there's the vendors!  The harp tastings, seeing old friends, meeting new ones, finally putting faces to names you've heard - should be a good time. 

If you're there, look for me - I hear I'm easy to find.  Please, make sure I meet you!  It runs 14 - 17 July.  See you there!

July 6, 2011

6 July OSAS Report

Each year we have an excellent experience and when it's time to go we are certain that the next year can not possibly be better.  And each year we are wrong!

OSAS was brilliant this year - I wish you all could have been there.  We learned some great tunes - can't wait to really get them under my belt!  Lots of time singing - and we waulked a length of cloth which we later shared as a group. 

Tiffany Lingle got this photo of Karen, Wendy and me having a great time in session

We learned some lovely tunes, including snappy pipe tunes from Jo Morrison, songs from Seamus Gagne, a fantastic air from Sue Richards. Ann Heymann introduced us to the Sterling Heads roundel and the possibilities that it contains as well as sharing the Bunworth harp replica - a stunning copy guided by history.  We had lectures on teaching and technology, fiddle history, reading Gaelic, and rhythm.

I was delighted to act as master of ceremonies for both the instructor concert and the "OSAS got Talent" variety show, as well as having the opportunity to be the counselor for the girls on the first floor!  Our harp kids are just cool people - which is always nice. 

And there were sessions, cookies, more sessions, games, knitting, singing with the weeping beech, and the practically mandatory trip to the bead store. I was too busy having a good time, soaking up music and culture and language to remember to take photos.  

There's some wonderful photos and reminiscences in the latest Kilt and Harp which is posted at the SHSA members site, the forum - www.shsa.org/forum

And I am beyond delighted to have been invited to teach at OSAS next year.  I already have ideas and I hope I'll see you there in 2012!