Saturday, May 15, 2010

Where do I start?

What a day - and it's not over yet! The day started with Dave Woodworth explaining the process of creating a carbon fiber harp. He's the first person ever to do it, and it's been a long and expensive road. But you can see his pride in what he's accomplished and his joy in successfully creating this uniquely beautiful and practical instrument.

My first workshop was Dexterity Exercises for playing Celtic Music at speed with Scottish harp champ Sue Richardson. She gave us some very valuable exercises and advice, chief of which was don't get discouraged. Allow yourself the time to progress at the rate that is right for you.

Before lunch I caught a glimpse of someone playing a harp in the garden. I couldn't resist snapping a picture of Robin. I've also been fortunate to have a neighbor who plays the harp in their room. I just love the sound of harp mysteriously appearing when unexpected!

Lunch included the usual sandwich and salad, and a little something special - a Harp Tasting! We loaded up our plates and went down to the performance hall. With our backs to the harps, we had the opportunity to hear each one played by two performers. That way you could analyse the sound without being influenced by the appearance. Tasty stuff.

My first afternoon workshop was The Art of Rehearsal with Timothy Harper. Timothy has stagefright just like I do. He spent lots of time going through techniques - both simple and complex - to help us give the gift of music to our audiences. He started with what we can do physically to insure that things like broken strings, coughing attacks, etc., don't end a performance. He then when into the mental preparation, followed by practice techniques that could help make us confident in our memorization of the music. Good stuff.

The second workshop was Zen Harp with Denise Grupp-Verbon. This was about us, as musicians and not about playing tips and techniques. Deep stuff.

With my harp back down in the Exhibition Hall with Bill Webster, it's time for me to run over to the restaurant for dinner. More blog later!

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