Workshops and Schedule

TIME SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5
9:15-10:30 SHARLENE
Ready, Set, Play
BEGINNER-BASIC
KIM
Creative Carols
INTERMEDIATE-ADV
AILIE
Irish Dance Tunes
INTERMEDIATE-ADV
11:00-12:15 SHARLENE
Cool as a Cucumber
MULTI-LEVEL
KIM
Damp It All
INTERMEDIATE
DOMINIQUE
Mid-tempo Scottish
INTERMEDIATE
1:30-2:45 KIM
International Lullabies
BASIC
AILIE
Scottish traditions
BASIC-INTERMED.
SHARLENE
Composition Inspiration
MULTI-LEVEL
3:15-4:30 DOMINIQUE
Cape Breton Airs
BASIC
AIMEE
The Art of Practising
MULTI-LEVEL
SHARON
Join the Jam
MULTI-LEVEL
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6
9:15-10:30 AILIE
Quebecois culture
BASIC
DOMINIQUE
Puirt-a-Beul
ADVANCED
ROBIN & GISELE
2 Easy Pieces
MULTI-LEVEL
11:00-12:15 KIM
Modal Improvisation
MULTI-LEVEL
AILIE
Improve your Dexterity
MULTI-LEVEL
ROBIN & GISELE
Latin Music
MULTI-LEVEL

BASIC – knows their way around a harp, can play a simple melody with 1 hand

INTERMEDIATE – understands levers, and can play 2 hands together

ADVANCED – understands chords and keys, can play hands together at a reasonable speed

Workshop Descriptions

CREATIVE CAROLS – INTERMEDIATE-ADVANCED
Known for her popular Christmas recordings, Kim will share some secrets for arranging
Christmas music. Both classic and lesser-known carols will be covered, with tips on
choosing intros & chords, patterns,  substitute harmonies, creating medleys and
other innovations that will breathe new life into standard carols.  Sample tunes will be on lead sheets.

DAMP IT ALL! – INTERMEDIATE
Known by various names: damping, dampening, muffling or étouffée (not the
Cajun stew), it’s something classical harpists learn to do, yet many folk harpers are
unfamiliar with it. This deceptively simple skill makes pieces cleaner, more expressive
and more exciting and will open up a new dimension in your playing. Exercises
will include individual finger damping, open hand damping, closed hand damping,
soft muting, and staccato effects and how to clean up the ring between chords.

INTERNATIONAL LULLABIES – BASIC
Lullabies are found all over the world, a universal expression of love from a parent to
the child, and a soothing balm for any listener. Learn some lovely traditional melodies
from around the globe, along with a few accompaniment patterns that help create a
calm, repetitive pulse. Tunes will be on lead sheets.

MODAL IMPROVISATION – MULTI-LEVEL
A right-brain, creative approach to using modes as an improvisational medium for
contemplative music. Utilizing the 7 basic diatonic modes, discover what makes each
one sound unique and ways to use them as a foundation for improvising.  Learn simple
but effective one and two-hand patterns to creative improvisations in various meditative
moods. There will be a reference sheet but the exercises and examples will be played
without any written music.

IRISH DANCE TUNES – INTERMEDIATE-ADVANCED
Explore the wide repertoire of the Irish dance music tradition and learn the nuances of its special rhythms and phrasing characteristics. Ailie will focus on barn dances and polkas in this workshop. 

SCOTTISH TRADITIONS – BASIC-INTERMEDIATE
In this workshop, we will explore Scotland’s rich music traditions, focussing on a traditional strathspey and reel set.

QUEBECOIS CULTURE – BASIC
Come and fall in love with Quebec’s unique brand of vibrant French culture as we learn some beautiful and simple Québecois waltzes and airs.

IMPROVE YOUR DEXTERITY! – MULTI-LEVEL
Dexterity is vital for fluid and rhythmic harp playing. In this workshop, Ailie will show you some useful exercises and give you some tips and tricks that will put you on the right path to building liveliness, speed and joyful rhythm in your playing.

MID-TEMPO SCOTTISH TUNES – INTERMEDIATE
There’s a whole world to discover between the slow airs and the reels: marches, hornpipes, and waltzes all fit naturally on the harp and offer challenge and interest for the intermediate harper. We’ll look at a few of these tunes in contrasting keys and talk about the accompaniment rhythms that suit them best. This class will be taught by ear and sheet music provided at the end. 

Cape Breton Airs – BASIC
Cape Breton is famous for its dance music, but its waltzes and airs are just as beautiful and compelling. In this beginner-friendly workshop, we’ll look at two tunes: one older tune from the Gaelic tradition and one recently composed by one of Cape Bretons most beloved fiddlers. Tunes will be taught by ear and sheet music will be provided at the end of the workshop.

Puirt-à-Beul on the Harp – ADVANCED
Experience the connection between Gaelic mouth music and traditional Scottish dance tunes. Puirt-à-beul (pronounced poorsht-uh-bail) are short, simple, rhythmically driven Gaelic songs that align perfectly with the forms of Scottish dance music (jigs, reels, strathspeys). These accessible songs are often taught to Gaelic learners and are helpful in developing a stylistically appropriate sense of rhythm. We’ll learn to sing a port or two, then we’ll try the same tunes in instrumental form on the harp. The class will be taught by ear and sheet music provided at the end.

READY? GET SET…PLAY! – BEGINNER-BASIC
An introduction to playing the harp. The how and now…how to put your fingers to
strings and learn your first harp tune…now! This is an excellent workshop for those
just beginning or considering beginning the harp, as well as an excellent “check-up”
for beginners who are self-taught. (beginners, bring a harp)

COOL AS A CUCUMBER, CALM AS A SWAN! – MULTI-LEVEL
Conversations about playing for an audience of one or a thousand, and ideas to help
that experience be good, giving and beautiful. Tame your nerves! (harp not required, but
might be useful)

COMPOSITION INSPIRATION – MULTI-LEVEL
A conversation about inspiration and approaches to creating music through Sharlene’s
compositions and your own, completed or in process. This workshop welcomes those
already writing their own music as well as anyone dreaming of it or simply curious!

THE ART OF PRACTISING – MULTI-LEVEL
Participants will be invited into a roundtable discussion on making practice more effective, including motivation ideas and learning techniques. Instruments are welcome for workshopping and demonstration.

JOIN THE JAM – MULTI-LEVEL
Come and have some fun, playing some tunes you know, and maybe some you don’t!  This workshop is designed to get us all playing together, some with 1 finger, some with chords, some adding other parts – whatever your comfort level, there is a place for you. Bring your own ideas for this is all about playing together, playing songs you know!

2 EASY PIECES – MULTI-LEVEL
Nice music is not necessarily complicated!  The magic of the harp is more in the quality of the sound and in the beauty of a pure harmony than in the complexity of the execution.  You will learn, with the composers, 2 pieces that fall easily in your fingers.  And some tricks to play them by memory.  Playable alone or with a friend.  Including some special effects!

LATIN MUSIC  – MULTI-LEVEL
Let’s play the Cumbia: a Columbian binary rhythm, and the Galopa: a Paraguayan ternary rhythm.  You will learn the bass patterns and typical musical themes, as well as how to dance this traditional music!  Finally you will use these rhythms to latinize our standard North American repertoire.