Class Descriptions

Classes are offered based on instructor availability for the current quarter. Please see the current schedule for this quarter's classes, times and instructors.

Accordion Class Advanced Fiddle Styles Banjo/Mandolin Classes Bodhran Classes
Concertina Class Fiddle Classes Fiddle Techniques for Kids Guitar Classes
Harmonica Class Harp Classes Irish Flute Classes Mandolin Classes
Piano Accompaniment Class Traditional Singing Class Whistle Classes

Harp Classes

Harp I-A+ (Adults)
  (Continuing)
Lilu Stoker 10:00
Harp II-K (Kids)
  (Intermediate)
Lilu Stoker 9:00
Harp II/III-A
  (Intermediate/Advanced)
Lilu Stoker 11:00

PLEASE NOTE:

We are currently at capacity for accepting any more new harp students.
Please contact to reserve your spot for Fall Quarter 2017.


Check out our new Harp Program for beginning harp players.

If you are a new harp student and you plan to rent a harp,
it is essential that you contact us prior to the first day of classes
so we can arrange to have your harp ready for you to play.
Please email


Our unique harp program aims to nurture thoughtful, creative, well-rounded traditional musicians, from complete beginners with no musical experience to professional performers on the world stage. It is a joint venture of the Riley School of Irish Music, Rees Harps LLC, and internationally renowned harpist and teacher Marta Cook.

All harp students will focus on learning Irish traditional music and the techniques for playing it well. Children and adults are currently catered for in the same class at each level. The whole school learns the same tunes, by ear, so that we can all play together. In addition to your class, there are different bands that you are invited to join (no additional fee) at 12:30pm. Going to band will allow you to become part of our music community and enjoy making music outside of class with people playing other instruments. You'll be supported and encouraged to do this from the very beginning.

Beginner: This class is for students new to the harp, from complete beginners with no musical experience to student harpists who wish to learn and reinforce fundamental skills. Drawing on Marta's Core Fluidity curriculum, the class addresses the core of expressive music-making via the most fundamental physical aspects of harp playing.

Topics will include body position at the harp; processes, practice methods, and exercises for plucking and placing; and continuous tension release. We'll explore the 'still moment' between all actions and its relationship to inspiration and creativity in traditional music and in general, and learn how to play 'simple' music so that it doesn't sound infantile or boring, emphasizing specific tools that beginning harpers can use to create performances of exquisitely powerful subtlety. Repertoire for the class will include both a carefully graded sequence of very simple solo harp pieces and specially arranged beginner harp versions and accompaniments of school tunes designed to play with others. From the very beginning, the skills needed to enjoy making music with others in the community will be emphasized, in ways that inform harp students' development both as excellent solo players and as sensitive accompanists. Creativity within the tradition and thoughtful, informed interpretation will be emphasized at age-appropriate levels for each student, and as we progress, we'll explore more and more techniques for getting a wide palette of dynamics and tone colors out of the harp, talk in detail about phrasing and rhythm, and learn to breathe through our fingers on our way to a deeper experience of both playing and listening to music. Multimedia resources for practicing at home will be provided. Bring harp, writing materials to take notes, and ideally, a digital camera or smartphone to take pictures/video of your improvements and insights!

Intermediate/Advanced: Until group classes are again offered formally for these levels, both current and incoming Riley harp students will have the opportunity to study directly and privately with Marta, and to engage in work-study activities to fund their lessons. These students will be very much encouraged to take part in the larger Riley community and to meet informally to exchange ideas. Depending on interest and experience, some intermediate/advanced students may also take part in discussion seminars with the harp teachers. Topics for private instruction will vary by individual, but we will definitely integrate and build on the material and ideas from the beginner class as they apply to each intermediate/advanced student. School tunes and accompaniment will be taught in level-appropriate versions; ongoing engagement with the community, including development as an excellent and sensitive accompanist, will be emphasized. Personal choices for additional solo repertoire will also be encouraged, as well as composition and arranging for interested students; topics may include Irish Dance Music, Harp Tunes Reloaded, Slow Airs for Harp, and Ornamentation Exploration.

Please contact Marta directly for more information on the Intermediate/Advanced program. Instruction is also available for very advanced students and for professional harpists preparing for performance, competition, exams, and auditions, as well as general professional development. This includes traditional musicians who wish to play and teach the harp as well as experienced and developing harpists interested in playing and teaching traditional music, and serious students who wish to study traditional music on the harp at a college level. Contact Marta for more information.

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