Giving a Masterclass-Please Help

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    B Y

    I’ve just been hired to give a masterclass at an arts organization

    for underpriviledged children and teens.


    First of all, calm down!


    Be sure to show them how the pedals work! They always find this fascinating. Tell them

    about the 2,000 moving parts. Do different glissandi and show how the pedals change the

    sound. Show them harmonics and explain the physics behind them (cutting the string in

    half, then another half, etc.). Go through Salzedo’s Method for the Harp and show them all

    the special effects, then maybe play “La D?sirade” or “Chanson dans la Nuit”. Throw in the

    famous cadenza from Nutcracker, since many of them may have heard it in “Fantasia”. If

    you have some arrangements of popular tunes that they might know, use those. Leave

    time for questions. They will ask how many strings it has, how much it costs, where you

    can buy harps, how do you move it, etc. Have some quips and jokes ready, and have fun!

    M Rodgers

    Brandee, Here is a brief list that I follow loosely for demo concerts:

    1.Open with a showy piece.

    2.Say hello and talk about previous piece and composer.

    3.Talk briefly about the history of the harp.

    4.Introduce and play the 2nd piece.

    5.Discuss the parts of the harp and give the audience something to look (listen) for in the

    3rd piece.

    6.Discuss pedals in detail explain pedal vs. lever harp.

    7.Play a short Irish piece.

    8.Play a piece for pedal harp and suggest they watch your feet. (Pescetti Sonata 1st mvt

    works well). (somewhere there is a statisic on how many different pedal combinations

    there are…1,000?)

    9.Discuss effects and notation and play samples.

    10.Play effect-laden piece (i.e Chanson de la nuit)

    11.Have a short showy encore ready and expect lots of questions.

    Any program style pieces with a story are great.


    Meg, I loved your program. Sounds like fun. So, tell us the sad story relative to

    Marguerite at the Spinning Wheel! Thanks


    If there is good crowd control, I like to bring kids up to do something with the harp.

    M Rodgers

    Virginia, think Faust. Schubert’s

    Evangeline Williams

    Looks like there have been great suggestions here already!

    I would recommend also throwing in some “pop” music.

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