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I am often asked what EIHF courses or workshops I would recommend. Of course they are all quite wonderful and offer an exceptionally wide choice.

However, if pressed, I might suggest that those who perform in public or plan to do so—on ANY kind of harp, lever, pedal or wire– should take Course T17, “Reading between the Lines” where accomplished performer and teacher Gabriella Dall’Olio discusses ways to look beyond the dots on the paper or the shapes on the harp to discover ideas and intentions which are implicit in all kinds of music, but not at first obvious. Such insights and deep understanding can transform good performances into excellent, unforgettable experiences.

To those whose hearts are in traditional music but like to be a bit adventurous, I would suggest T12 where expert Sarah Deere- Jones will gently introduce you to the little known treasure trove of Cornish tunes and T13 where long term friend of the festival Susan Syverson links Swedish and Scandinavian styles to their places of origin.

It is hard to choose a particular workshop from such an array, but one which would enormously benefit all who play (and carry!) the harp, from novice to highly experienced player, is W19. Its trenchant title, “Can we stop the Rot?” does not, I am glad to say, refer to our music, but to the invaluable practical guidance and advice Lesley Crozier gives in her renowned workshops for musicians, amongst others, to prevent the long and short term physical damage we can unwittingly inflict on ourselves by our bad habits.

But ah!—there is so much to choose from. One more piece of often repeated advice—be sure you choose a course at the correct level (see page 19 of the brochure) for your own sake and enjoyment, but also for the sake of other students– and the sanity of our excellent teachers!

Isobel Mieras

Joint Artistic Director, Edinburgh International Harp Festival