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 for each camper after their opening day audition. Additional chamber ensembles and orchestral opportunities that include harp are available based upon selected repertoire. In Sessions 1 and 2, advanced harp majors have the opportunity to perform with the Masterworks Orchestra. Session 1 repertoire includes the Kalinnikov Symphony No. 1 in G minor; Session 2 repertoire includes Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake Suite, Op 20a.
Harps are provided for all harp majors by Blue Lake. 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.
Harp majors can complete their instructional day by choosing a Minor, allowing them to experience another area of interest while at camp. Please go to minors for a complete list of courses. Students also have the opportunity to hear various performances presented as a part of Blue Lake’s Summer Arts Festival, as well as participate in recreational activities and other camp events. Harp enrollment is limited to eight students per session.
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.
On opening day, all harp campers play an audition for the harp faculty member. This consists primarily of a solo piece that is representative of your level of playing. A short section of sight reading may also be included. This gives the harp faculty member a guide in picking appropriate music for you.
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.
On the Final Sunday of each session, all harp majors perform for family and friends in Blodgett Recital Hall, located on the lower level of the Student Arts Center. The harp majors perform as an ensemble, and also each perform a new solo piece. Campers who are involved in orchestras or other ensembles also perform with those groups on Final Sunday.
All harp majors play together in a harp ensemble. Additionally, depending on what repertoire is chosen, campers might have the opportunity to perform with some of the large orchestras or bands at Blue Lake. The harp faculty member coordinates these opportunities at the beginning of each session and will adjust individual camper schedules as needed to accommodate these opportunities.
You do not need to prepare any music (other than a solo of your choosing for the audition) ahead of time. After your opening audition, 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.