Blue Lake’s Harp Program provides an intensive experience for young harp majors in a non-competitive environment. In keeping with Blue Lake’s core value of being a first-come, first-served program, harpists at any level are welcome. Each camper focuses on improving their musical skills through private lessons, harp ensemble, music theory, music history, and individual practice time. Students do not need to prepare music ahead of time, but instead are given appropriate level ensemble music and a new solo piece at the beginning of the session. All music is selected based upon the student’s pre-arrival placement video.

Harps are provided for all harp majors. Eight Lyon and Healy, Salvi and Venus pedal harps of varying sizes are available for camper use, as well as twelve Lyon and Healy Troubadour lever harps. Dedicated practice rooms and ensemble rehearsal rooms are accessible throughout the instructional day. The session culminates in a student recital. In addition to performing as a harp ensemble, each camper performs a new solo piece. (At this time, plans for the final recital include a video presentation made available to friends and family after the conclusion of the session. If future COVID-19 guidelines allow, we will adjust to an in-person recital format for friends and family).

Harp majors can complete their instructional day by choosing a Minor, allowing them to experience another area of interest while at camp. (For more information, visit Minors). Students also have the opportunity to participate in recreation, camp activities, and attend arts-focused educational events in the evening.

As part of our response to summer camp operational guidelines relating to COVID-19, Blue Lake is currently unable to offer orchestral experiences to harpists at this time, and is offering the Harp major in Sessions 1 and 4 only. If restrictions ease prior to the start of camp, orchestral opportunities may be added. For more information on Blue Lake’s 2021 adjustments relating to COVID-19 health and safety precautions, visit COVID-Careful Planning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Spending each day at camp exclusively studying harp allows for an in-depth approach to the instrument. In addition to activities that a student would participate in at home, such as practicing and taking lessons, time will be spent on harp ensemble, music history, and music theory. Because of the intensive nature of each day, campers are frequently amazed at the amount of music they learn during their time at Blue Lake. It is also enjoyable and encouraging to meet other young harpists. Many harpists find they learn a lot from their peers in addition to the harp faculty.

You do not need to bring a harp. Blue Lake provides eight pedal harps, made by Lyon and Healy, Salvi and Venus of varying sizes. Lyon and Healy Troubadour lever harps are also available. Music stands and a variety of benches and stools are provided

Blue Lake’s harp department is located in the lower level of the Student Arts Center. It includes a large ensemble room, eight practice rooms, and a faculty office.

You do not need to prepare any music (other than a solo of your choosing for the placement video) ahead of time. After we have received your placement video, the harp faculty member will pick ensemble music for everyone and a new solo for each camper. On the first full day of camp, everyone will be given their music and begin learning it through individualized practice time, private lessons, and ensemble rehearsals. The harp faculty member will help you to tackle everything, learn it well, and will make adjustments as needed throughout the session.

Generally your time at camp will be so busy with learning your new solo piece and all of the ensemble music that you won’t have much time to work on anything else. You might have a bit of extra practice time that you can use to work on music from home, but most campers focus exclusively on their new music.

Usually the focus is specifically on harp history, studying major harpists from the past (and a few present day ones as well). There are a variety of resources within the department and harp history can take on all sorts of forms – sometimes it is project based, presentation based, or there might be group discussions and trivia games. Many campers are excited to learn more about their pedagogical lineage and the significance of the music they play by harpist-composers.

Harp students join the piano department every afternoon to study music theory. There they are sorted in to one of two levels, based on a placement test, and participate in a class with the piano majors.

All you need to bring is whatever music you’re planning to play for your audition, a tuner, a metronome, and a pencil. Please note that Blue Lake has a strict no cell phone policy, so if you normally use your phone as a tuner and metronome, you will not be able to do so at camp. Please note that although the other music campers all are required to bring a folding stand to camp, you do not need to do so.