When learning an instrument, many students who are able to have regular classes with a teacher (whether that be in person or via Skype) often find it difficult to achieve the results they desire from week to week. Juggling work, family, study and other commitments can make it very difficult to give the time to their instrument that they need. This is why many people find that music camps and summer schools that offer a short intensive period of focus with the absence of distractions from every day life can boost their skills beyond what they would normally achieve at home. These environments can become even more crucial if you are studying a specialised genre, where practitioners in the field are few or non existent near where you live.
Jazz harp, once a rarity, has become increasingly popular over the last ten years. Even so, many harpists that don’t have the luxury of having access to lessons with a jazz harpist find it difficult to know where to start in the genre. Many seek lessons from other jazz instrumentalists such as pianists or guitarists, but find themselves coming unstuck when incorporating the use of pedals or levers to create chromaticism and enharmonics.
Enter the Brazilian Jazz Harp Immersion, the latest project from the folk at the Jazz Harp Foundation, which is currently underway in the rolling green hills of the Paraiba River Valley, two hours north of Rio de Janeiro. Set in the exquisite surrounds of the Uaná Etê Music Garden, harpists from Brazil, U.S.A, France, U.K. and Australia have gathered together to learn from amazing musicians in the fields of jazz and Brazilian music. The faculty consists of eminent jazz harpist Carol Robbins, Berklee College of Music harp teacher Felice Pomeranz, Uaná Etê hosts and Latin jazz experts Cristina Braga and Ricardo Medeiros, jazz education expert Kurt Schwab, and Jazz Harp Foundation founders Brenda Dor-Groot and Sabine Meijers, each bringing with them different but complimentary angles on Brazilian music and Jazz for the harp.
Stay tuned to this multi part blog to find out what we have been up to in Brazil!