I never quite meant to become a professional lever harpist - like many of my contemporaries, I began to play the harp as a child out of a love of the instrument, having some vague idea that I would go to music college and study classical music (the accepted route to becoming a musician at the time).
"What a talented musician, and what a delightful presentation. She is a natural communicator and the music beautiful"
However, I was never a well-behaved pedal harpist - an upbringing based more on improvisation and folk music meant that sticking precisely to a score was never going to be my strong point! Deciding against pursuing a conservatoire education, I began to develop my own style of playing and performing using elements from both classical technique and my background in improvisation and free-arranging, applying these ideas simply to 'music that I liked', regardless of genre.
I have been fortunate enough to perform at a wide variety of venues around the world, including live on UK's BBC1 midnight Christmas service and two Japanese tours.
I adore jazz and am constantly trying to improve my skills at this little (but increasingly) studied genre of harp music.
I absolutely love to teach, and am happy to accept pupils of all ages and abilities. I offer private lessons in person as well as online using Skype/Facetime/your videochat link of choice.
I also teach group workshops, working particularly closely with Clarsach Society branch Transpennine Harps. I have run day, weekend and residential courses throught the UK, France and Japan. My workshops cover a diverse range of subjects, from beginner-oriented 'hands on harp' days to pop and jazz arranging, as well as more theory-based courses on the modes, harmonic analysis and chord usage.
I also love to share my experience in sound design and composition and encourage students to get creative in my 'Create Your Own Silent Film Score' workshop!
"I think that was the best day course I've ever done!"
"Perfect and inspiring"
Contrary to popular belief, the harp is not a particularly difficult instrument to play - like anything, it's simply a matter of practise. It also has the advantage of sounding beautiful right from the start!
I use a variety of methods according to the needs of the pupil, with a focus on being able to produce 'real' music (as opposed to exercises alone) from the start (way more fun that way!). I teach both by ear and using printed music, although at first I strongly encourage aural learning to enable the student to focus on technique and the sound that they are producing, before introducing printed music and theory where necessary.
Hiring a harp can also be a good way to get started without too terrifying a financial investment. See what's available