The 31st International Harp School
Monday, August 14 - Friday, August 18, 2017

We are thrilled to announce an incredible line up of instructors coming from all around the world for our 31st Annual Harp School (& Cello too). In the mornings delve into your level specific session, and in the afternoons choose from musical topics including ensemble. Enjoy special activities like the student BBQ, Breton dance workshop, instructor concert and the annual Céilidh. The Harp School has been a career and life changing experience for many harpers over the past 30 years. Come join us! 


Morning Sessions 9am - 12:15pm M-F 

Intermediate with Tristan Le Govic

Breton music is part of the Celtic repertoire as well as Irish, Scottish or Welsh music. Join this group if you want to perform some typical Breton tunes, such as An dro, Gavotte or beautiful melodies, as played in Brittany nowadays.

No prior knowledge of Breton music needed. You may or may not have played Breton music before. We will start by learning some tunes step by step and then bring up arrangements and variations. Learners by ear and/or with the music are all welcome.

Intermediate with Sunita Staneslow

The focus of this class will be on flow and phrasing. We will deepen our muscle memory of intervals and chord shapes so that we can learn faster and play more accurately. Tone, dynamics and playing with more ease will be integrated into everything we play. I will show you different ways you can improvise with arpeggios and over a descending bass line to enhance the natural ebb and flow in your playing. Bring pieces you are working on or want to polish. I will send some tunes in advance and together we will work on  creating beautiful music.

Advanced with Màiri Chaimbeul 

Let's delve deep into some wonderful Scottish tunes. What is it that makes traditional music come alive? We'll dig into making these melodies our own, exploring how to incorporate disparate influences from a range of styles and instruments, without obscuring the essence of this music. We'll explore the impact of harmonic and rhythmic ideas, phrasing, tone, ornamentation and more. We'll also work on specific techniques for taking control of what is unique to the harp - aiming to make beautiful music, where we really feel that the harp is serving the music. This will involve zoning in on hot issues like damping and dexterity! The workshop will be a combination of teaching by ear and from hand-outs. 

Cello with Morag Northey

This workshop will be tailored to the participant’s level of achievement. Beginners to experienced are welcomed and encouraged.  Each session will begin with warm-ups to unlock and balance the body, free vibrations, and provide ease, accuracy and direction. Cellists will dive into technique, studies and pieces and tie-up the day with cello ensemble! Morag offers a very rewarding and memorable approach to furthering your love of the cello…forever positive“I am excited to work with any and all who come to play!

A teacher for 35 years, Northey adheres to the technical demands of classical music while inspiring cellist of all ages and stages from rudimentary skills to successful entrance in the profession. She has trained in the Suzuki and Kodály methods, taught at the Calgary Suzuki Talent Education Society, consistently lead group and ensemble classes for early childhood, teen and adult levels, and for ten years created and ran a series of unique, multi-age, multi-level, all-encompassing intensive string summer boot camps.

Beginner/Novice with Caroline MacKay - Please note: this session is no longer available

This class is designed for Novice harps -- that is, beginners with some playing experience. (It is not necessary to be able to read music, but it could be an asset.) A harp with at least 30 strings will be ideal. (With the permission of the instructor "very beginners" may be accommodated).

Our sessions are about nurturing an excellent relaxed technique which stays with you throughout your harp life. Students develop focus, strength and independence between hands and fingers, all the while listening for a beautiful tone. We will breeze through some glorious Celtic melodies, add dynamic rhythm to a lively Latin piece and delight in a Classical favourite.

"The Imagination Market" is full of left hand patterns, new tunes and cool intervals... We will wander in there several times. To make the most of this week, a healthy posture and movement are also energizing for the Novice harpist -- be prepared to play!


Afternoon Sessions 1:45 - 3:45pm M, T, T

Harp Ensemble/Improv with Sunita Staneslow

Learn to create an accompaniment!  Send your ideas for tunes, I'll bring some arrangements and together we will learn to adapt a part to your level. We will keep it simple yet creative. Explore special effects on the harp, improvise over a simple bass line and learn to play together. Playing in a group opens your ears and lets you be more daring---at the same time. Prepared to be bold and have lots of fun.

Intermediate/Advanced Ensemble with Tristan Le Govic

For the intermediate-advanced ensemble, Tristan will lead a couple of Breton dance tunes arranged especially for the group with different parts in order to fit all participant levels. If performing the melodic line has often the harp player preference, accompaniment parts with typical rhythmical patterns can also be very interesting without struggling! 

Gaelic Ensemble with Màiri Chaimbeul

This will be an inclusive ensemble where we'll work on a couple of Gaelic songs with beautiful melodies. We'll create parts suited to each individual's level and even learn some of the Gaelic words. We'll explore the art of creating parts that fit in and around each other, and look at a few different accompaniment styles and how they impact the music.    

Cello Ensemble with Morag Northey

Description coming soon...

Ensemble for Beginner/Early Intermediate with Caroline Mackay - Please note: this session is no longer available

Caroline will bring two new Ensemble tunes, one bright and rhythmic, and the other one gloriously heartfelt and Celtic. These selections are simple enough, with shared parts, (your friends will be there beside you!) to be accessible for Beginners, yet complex enough arrangements to be interesting and challenging for the early Intermediates.


Wednesday Night Dance Workshop with Tristan Le Govic (August 16, 7pm)

Like music and singing, dancing is an important part of the Breton traditional daily life. People share unique and joyous moments all together all through the year. It is a way to create a deep social link between them. In this workshop you will learn how to dance the most popular Breton dances such as An dro, Hanter-dro. No prior experience needed. The dances are fairly simple to learn. If you like dancing, singing or dancing and singing, come along and join in!