Dive into the fantastic world of folk harp playing! We’re delighted to welcome back Steph West, Irene Watt and Merit Zloch to lead a weekend of harp workshops and sessions in our third annual weekend dedicated to harp playing in a folk context. Using repertoire from the UK with Steph West, Scotland with with Irene Watt and Germany with Merit Zloch, we’ll explore the music, arrangements and techniques for playing the harp in traditional music.
This year we’re going to run the weekend with three tutors and three parallel courses, each tailored to a specific level. This means that your main tutor will remain the same for the whole weekend. However, on Saturday afternoon we are offering free choice workshops that are open to everyone so you can have a taste of working with someone different if you wish. There are more details to come on these, so keep your eyes peeled!
We are in the process of deciding which tutor will lead each group, but we’ll update shortly.
Who’s it For?
We are basing our levels around the Edinburgh International Harp Festival levels. If you’re not sure which level you should join in with, watch our videos below. You can also talk to Steph.
All courses will work by ear, with music provided at the end.
Level 1 – Beginner / post beginner
We’ll be working on basic technique, making a great sound and learning how to play in comfort. We will be working slowly and carefully with more individual attention. This course is for:
- Complete beginners
- Those who have taken a beginners course but want a refresher.
Harp Hire: Six small workshop harps will be available for hire for the weekend, ideal for beginners, at a cost of £20; please let us know at the time of booking if you wish to reserve one of these.
Level 2 – Elementary
We’ll work steadily and calmly on building your skills. We will include some technique work if needed. This course is for:
- Players who can already perform a simple tune – e.g. an easy song with a left hand
- Anyone working on Grade 2 – 3 (if you do Grades)
Level 3 – Intermediate
We’ll work at a faster pace to give you a bit of a challenge and send you home with some fun repertoire. This course is for:
- Players who can play a dance tune with a left hand
- Anyone working on Grade 4 – 5 (if you do Grades)
For any players who attend and want something more challenging than our intermediate class, we will offer an optional advanced workshop on Saturday afternoon.
Steph West is both a harpist and singer. She works as a performer, teacher and workshop leader. Whilst studying early music at the University of Birmingham Steph fell in love with the clarsach/folk harp. Steph’s main trad styles are English and Irish and she has worked as a performer and teacher with artists and organisations in both fields: EFDSS, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann, Irish flute/whistle virtuoso Jacquelyn Hynes, Shooting Roots youth folk arts project, Edinburgh International Harp Festival and Guildhall’s CYM. Steph currently plays with her European bal / swing band Midnight Patisserie and her singer-songwriter duo with drummer Paul Radmeyer. Steph is currently working on English trad repertoire for the harp, bringing out a book and courses in 2019.
The only harpist with 9.5 fingers, Steph also works within the integrated/disabled arts world. She works as a performer with the British Paraorchestra and RNS Moves. She has also mentored for Open Up Music, who are pioneering the National Open Youth Orchestra.
Irene Watt is a harpist and singer from North East Scotland. She is a popular teacher of Clarsach and as well as the Edinburgh International Harp Festival, she has taught in the USA, the Middle East and in Europe. She brings her expertise in Scottish music including beautiful slow airs, lilting songs & lullabies, as well as jaunty jigs and dance tunes. However Irene has an eclectic taste in music and has also jazz, swing, pop and classics in her repertoire. Her relaxed and fun approach encourages learners to progress their playing and she always offers options to cover different levels of confidence and playing ability. So expect a fun class where you will learn a lot and with the odd surprise or two.
Merit Zloch is a harpist, composer and music teacher. She sees herself in the tradition of the itinerant harp players of the 19th and early 20th century, travelling with her harp throughout Europe charming people with her original compositions and arrangements of historical dance music.
She has played in bands almost as long as she has played the harp and is constantly fascinated by the interplay between musicians. She likes to arrange and develop pieces together with her band colleagues and to improvise.
Merit researches historical dance manuscripts and organises musicians’ meetings, bals and instrumental workshop weekends.