Guide to Course Levels & Teaching Method

Guide to Course Levels & Teaching Method

Course Levels

  • Beginner: You have no experience of playing the harp.
  • Post-beginner: You took last year’s Beginners’ course, have had relatively few lessons and/or require help with basic technique.
  • Elementary: You can already perform simple tunes, require further help in consolidating basic technique and wish to work slowly and carefully.
  • Elementary/Intermediate: As Elementary but you feel ready to stretch your boundaries.
  • Intermediate: You already have good technique and can work at a moderate pace.
  • Intermediate/Advanced: As Intermediate, but you are ready and willing to work at a faster pace.
  • Advanced: Your technique is good and you wish to work at a good pace to stretch yourself.
  • Mixed Ability: For all levels, except Beginner.

For further advice about course levels please contact us on +44 (0) 131 445 2022

Teaching Method

  • E: teaching will be by ear with written music given out only at the end of the course.
  • E+M: teaching will initially be by ear with written music given out during or at the end of each session.
  • M: teaching will be from written music.
  • M+E: written music will be given at the start of the course. However, teaching will be sympathetic to all levels of skill in reading/assimilating music.
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April 2017
£42

Dominique Dodge, Cape Breton Dance Tunes Strathspeys, Jigs & Reels. 3 day course

April 3@4:30 am - April 5@6:00 pm
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3 day courses Monday: 1 hour Tuesday & Wednesday: 1½ hours each day  INTERMEDIATE/ADVANCED This course will feature Cape Breton dance music drawn from the fiddle and piping traditions, taught and explored on the harp with attention to style, lift and phrasing. Left hand accompaniment will look to Cape Breton piano for rhythm, structure, and aesthetic. An invitation to responsive, dance-driven playing of treasured tunes.      

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£42

Elinor Evans, Crossing Borders. 3 day course.

April 3@9:00 am - April 5@10:30 am
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3 day courses Monday: 1 hour • 9:00am  Tuesday & Wednesday: 1½ hours each day • 9:00am  ELEMENTARY/INTERMEDIATE This course will blur the lines between Welsh and Scottish traditional music. We will look at tunes from both cultures and discuss the similarities and differences. There is a select number of tunes that appear in both traditions and we will look at some of these. During the week we will aim to develop sets of Scottish and Welsh tunes that work well…

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£30

Heather Yule, 3 day child beginners course (5-8 years).

April 3@9:00 am - April 5@10:00 am
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Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday 1 hour session each day. Come along and have some fun on the harp. Learn a few easy melodies, how to play simple chords and discover lots of interesting musical sounds. A perfect introduction to this versatile instrument.

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£30

Heather Yule, 3 day child beginners course (9-14 years).

April 3@10:10 am - April 5@11:10 pm
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Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday 1 hour session each day.  Come along and have some fun on the harp. Learn a few easy melodies, how to play simple chords and discover lots of interesting musical sounds. A perfect introduction to this versatile instrument.    

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£10.00

Mindfulness and Movement, Elinor Brown.

April 3@10:30 am - 12:00 pm
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Mindfulness draws on our natural, human capacity to tune into our senses and be fully present in the here and now. It can help us see more clearly and take better care of ourselves even in challenging situations. This workshop is open to all and offers a basic insight into what mindfulness is and isn’t and offers the opportunity to experience some practices, with a focus on mindfulness in motion.  

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£10.00

Masterclass – Catrin Finch

April 3@10:30 am - 12:00 pm
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With her wealth of performing experience, Catrin Finch is much in demand to give her inspiring harp masterclasses. She will work with students at varying levels, sharing her ideas, insights and perceptions to help them enhance their technical abilities, performance skills, and understanding of a breadth of repertoire. Supported by: The Clarsach Society Northumbrian branch.     Powered by Eventbrite

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£10.00

Fingers, Feet, Heart: a harper’s introduction to Cape Breton Step Dance, Dominique Dodge.

April 3@10:30 am - 12:00 pm
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An introduction to Cape Breton step dance through a classic strathspey and reel set. Steps and tunes have a common ancestor in Gaelic speech rhythms, so we’ll begin by learning to sing the tunes as puirt-a-beul. We’ll bring these rhythms from the voice to the body by exploring foundational strathspey and reel steps. When approaching these tunes on the harp, we’ll give attention to appropriate pace, phrasing, and accompaniment. Please wear smooth-soled shoes, either flat or with a 1-3 inch…

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£10.00

Exploring Pibroch, Bill Taylor & Barnaby Brown

April 3@10:30 am - 12:00 pm
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Bring your harps and expect to sing: this is an active session for all ages and stages. Through canntaireachd, we will explore practical ways of plundering Scotland’s largest and most exotic chest of musical goodies. You will leave with a range of ideas to work into your practising, arranging, composing or improvising – ideas road-tested by Gaelic harpers and pipers over centuries. All examples will be from ‘Colin Campbell’s Instrumental Book 1797’, produced in Argyll. These will introduce pibroch’s full…

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£10

Cheryl Ann Fulton, History of the Triple Harp.

April 3@10:30 am - 12:00 pm
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In this lecture, Dr. Fulton, one of the world’s top performers and scholars of the triple harp, will present the history and development of the Italian/Iberian arpa doppia and the Welsh triple harp. Topics will include the major treatise sources for the arpa doppia (Galilei, Giovenardi and Mersenne), how the triple harp was brought to the British Isles, tunings and temperaments, repertoire, as well as technique – basic duple articulation, tone production and specific techniques for accessing the middle row…

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£10.00

Irish Harp & Fiddle – Laoise Kelly & Tola Custy

April 3@10:30 am - 12:00 pm
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Laoise and Tola will use their vast experience of collaboration in Irish music to guide harpers and fiddlers in this well-loved repertoire touching on tune form, harmony and ornamentation. You are welcome to bring your harp with you to this workshop.  

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£5.00 - £11.00

Tristan Le Govic Trio / François Pernel

April 3@3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Dañs - Tristan Le Govic Trio Dañs (“Dance” in Breton language) is the new project led by the Breton harpist Tristan Le Govic which mixes traditional pieces in modern and historical styles. The heart of the project is dance music: a Breton An dro flirts with Rock music; a Swedish Polska sounds like a Baroque Passacaglia while traditional songs are rearranged in a lively jazz swing style and newly composed tunes get a deep feeling of old traditional airs. He…

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£4.50 - £8.00

Family Ceilidh with The Occasionals

April 3@8:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Dance to the music of Freeland Barbour and The Occasionals. All dances will be called by Sheila McCutcheon, so no one need feel left out and will include those taught in her dance workshop (W5) the previous day.  

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£8.00

Harp Care and Maintenance, John Hoare.

April 4@11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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The best way to look after your Clarsach or Pedal harp and keep it sounding at its best. Fitting strings, gut and wire. How to deal with knocks, scrapes, buzzes and rattles. Checking intonation and adjusting levers. How best to travel with the harp by car or by air. Supported by: The Clarsach Society London Branch

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£8.00

The Life and work of Kristen Noguès, Tristan Le Govic and Patsy Seddon.

April 4@11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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Among the pioneers of the Celtic harp, Kristen Noguès (14th March 1952 – 5th July 2007) remains one of the most creative and visionary musicians ever. Often avant-garde, still very modern on both acoustic and electro harp, Kristen’s music reflects the main artistic movement of her time, intermingling Breton traditional music with Jazz and Contemporary music. This workshop on the 10th anniversary of her death, will celebrate her legacy as well as providing historical background since the 1970s. She was…

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£8.00

Macmath : The Silent Page, Wendy Stewart.

April 4@11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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This is the title of a recent project which brought to life an almost forgotten archive of songs collected in the Glenkens area of Dumfries & Galloway by William Macmath in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Macmath contributed enormously to the famous Professor Child’s Ballad collection but is relatively unknown himself. Now, thanks to song researcher Ali Burns, we have a stage show and CD to celebrate him. Wendy will illustrate how she, and fellow musicians from Scotland’s…

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£15.50

Karen Marshalsay, Come and try wire-strung harp.*SOLD OUT

April 4@1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
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SORRY SOLD OUT An opportunity to try this beautifully resonant instrument, whether an experienced gut player or a complete beginner. Fingernails are not necessary, although if you have them they do make the harp sound better and easier to play. The long resonance which is characteristic of this clarsach requires a stopped style of playing, where the finger pads damp certain strings to stop excessive ringing and give a clear melodic line and supportive harmony. We’ll look at some fingering…

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£11.50

Tea Concert

April 4@3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Ciorstaidh Beaton Currently studying for an MMus on pedal harp at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, harpist Ciorstaidh Beaton, from the Isle of Skye, draws upon the many native and diverse musical influences in her clarsach playing. She will present a mix of her own original tunes and a handful of well known tunes of Scotland and Ireland. RCS Harp Party The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s lever harp department has gone from strength to strength in the last few years…

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Carry on Teaching

April 4@4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
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An invitation to all teachers and would-be teachers to join us at one of these sessions.  Free event, registration required. Following the success of The Clarsach Society’s “Dare to be a Teacher” scheme to encourage new teachers of the small harp, we invite experienced teachers, new teachers and those considering becoming teachers to join in a discussion on how best we can support this continuing work. If you have an idea (or several) you wish to share or a query…

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£15.50

Màiri MacLeod, Come and try Gaelic Song.

April 4@4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
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An opportunity to try singing in a new language. As one of Scotland’s official languages, Gaelic song has a long historical link with the Clàrsach. This class is designed for beginners but could also suit those who wish to increase their repertoire of Gaelic songs. Màiri will cover a variety of songs including lullabies and puirt-a-beul (mouth music). Gaelic singing is an oral tradition, but she will provide the words, translation, phonetic pronunciation and notated music, although using a recording…

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£7.00 - £14.50

Catrin Finch / Mr. McFall’s Chamber / Gillean McDougall

April 4@7:30 pm - 10:00 pm

Catrin Finch is one of the world’s finest harpists. Equally celebrated as a soloist and chamber musician, she is joined in to-night’s concert by Edinburgh based Mr. McFall’s Chamber. The programme will include music by Debussy and Saint Saens, Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro and a rare chance to hear Andre Caplet’s Conte Fantastique. This work, based on The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe, will include text narrated by Gillean McDougall.  

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£8.00

Héloïse Russell-Fergusson (1896-1970): Pioneering Clarsach Player, Stuart Eydmann & Helene Witcher.

April 5@11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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An exploration of the life and music of this intriguing and enigmatic musician who took the clarsach around the world in the 1920s and 30s and who made a series of experimental gramophone records in the late 1960s, just prior to the modern clarsach revival. Presenters Helene Witcher, the musician’s niece, and ethnomusicologist and historian Stuart Eydmann had been researching Héloïse separately before learning of the other’s work but now come together to share their findings and discuss the significance…

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£8.00

Acoustics of Plucked and Bowed String Instruments, Murray Campbell.

April 5@11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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A lively, entertaining and non-technical introduction to the science of stringed instruments. The acoustical and musical properties of harps are discussed and compared with the behaviour of other members of the chordophone family, including the guitar, the lute, the banjo, the pipa, the sitar, the violin, the viola da gamba and the erhu. The talk is illustrated by many scientific and musical demonstrations.  

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£8.00

A Fruitful Collaboration, Mr. McFall’s Chamber & Corrina Hewat

April 5@11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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Workshop exploring how to write for harp and strings, using examples from Corrina’s compositions. Mr McFall’s Chamber comprises of Cyril Garac and Robert McFall on 1st and 2nd violin, Brian Schiele on viola, Su-a Lee on cello and Rick Standley on double bass. Strangely enough this is an unusual line-up within classical music – far more common is the string quartet without bass. Having the bass there, however, not only allows for a reinforced bass line, it also creates the…

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£5.00 - £9.00

The Festival Orchestra, directed by Isobel Mieras / Pippa Reid Foster / Angelorum, directed by Cheryl Ann Fulton

April 5@3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The Festival Orchestra is made up of students attending the Festival and na Clarsairean, the orchestra of the Edinburgh Branch of the Clarsach Society. Together they will perform the suite The Megget Valley, by Isobel Mieras, incorporating new and traditional music, inspired by the turbulent history and peaceful landscape of the Scottish Borders. Pippa Reid Foster will play compositions featured in her debut album Driftwood Harp. Creating these pieces, some in traditional idiom and others more abstract in form, has…

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£7.00 - £14.50

Rachel Hair Trio / Diego Laverde Rojas

April 5@7:30 pm - 10:00 pm

Rachel Hair Trio Renowned for its strong melodies, earthy songs and majestic instrumental flair ,and driven by the dynamic playing of Highland harpist and composer Rachel Hair, the Rachel Hair Trio is completed by elegant double bass from Cameron Maxwell and strong rhythm and vocals from singer-guitarist Jenn Butterworth. They have released two well received albums the most recent being the aptly titled Trì (Gaelic for three). “Three stringed instruments expertly balanced with each other, finely contrasting in tone and bursting with…

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