Beginner harp class at IMA, in Wells BC!


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Just back from a wonderful week of harp teaching and playing in the mountains of BC, near Quesnel and Barkerville (yes, right in the middle of all the forest fires!) I have to say that it WAS a bit smokey, but we still managed to have a lot of fun!

I was working with a class of total beginners, 8 wonderful women most of whom had never touched a harp before. I love teaching beginners – everything is new and exciting for them, and I get to relive those feelings and remember what it’s like to be just starting your musical journey with the harp. Sometimes because I play and teach harp as my job, I lose touch with how magical and special the instrument really is. So it can be really rejuvenating and joyful to work with beginners who are keen and open to the wonder of the experience! We spent a lot of time celebrating all that we accomplished together – but I must say, they really did learn a lot! In just five days, these novices learned how to tune their harps, play intervals of 2nds and 3rds (broken AND solid!) triads and chords – understanding a bit of theory along the way – scales, both crossing over and under – AND, between the eight of them, they learned to play 5 tunes! I thought that was great.

It was very special for me to be at Wells with Kim Robertson (teaching the intermediates) and Sharlene Wallace (teaching the advanced class). These accomplished and inspiring harp players are two of my idols, and it was because of Kim that I originally went to Wells as a student myself – where I then met Sharlene, who became a very important teacher and role model for me. So you can imagine what an honour (and a thrill!) it was, to be “on faculty” with these two Harp Goddesses! Possibly the highlight of my week was playing tunes with Kim at the Bear’s Paw. Sharlene didn’t play that evening, but her tune “Winter Frieze” made kind of a “special appearance”!!! Winter Frieze…as performed by Alys Howe and Kim Robertson :)