Cornwall Harp Centre

Professional Awards

An alternative flexible module-based learning structure, enabling harpists either on lever or pedal harp to achieve a professional standard of performance, practical preparation, historical knowledge and presentation.

Unlike other exam systems, these awards are completely relevant to harpists and cover all the skills needed to survive in the music world, the modules include subjects such as composition and arranging, music publishing, knowledge of history and repertoire, publicity and presentation, as well as public performance.

The awards are in three stages of Bronze, Silver and Gold, a set of modules must be studied and completed to achieve each award. A certificate is granted after the final module of 'Public Performance' in a concert which is organised through the Cornwall Harp Centre. (overseas students please contact us direct, opportunities are being discussed for public performance certificates to be achieved in USA and Australia).

These awards are extremely flexible and suitable for those who are also working or with families etc - some students who are already accomplished in some areas may find they can achieve Bronze or Silver levels quickly (within a year), but for those who are working or only have part-time practise hours, 2 years per level is more realistic. In some modules, home-study research and essays or music notation via computer have to be done and submitted to CHC by email attachment for checking. Harp performance is checked via on-line or private lessons in Cornwall. On-line lessons in one or all of the module subjects can be organised through CHC, reading material is recommended and in some cases supplied by CHC. Either way, all the modules have to be completed to achieve each of the awards.

Students who do NOT wish to perform publicly or who cannot get to an awards concert, can still be granted the relevant award if all the modules are done satisfactorily, by recording their awards performance (unedited) and sending to CHC for checking. In these instances, the student will receive a Bronze/Silver/Gold 'Artistic' Award certificate instead of the full 'Professional' award certificate. The 'Professional' certificate could still be gained at a later date when it is possible for the student to play in public, without having to re-take the other modules.

Students must not mistake the home-study element or the flexibility of these awards for low standards - the standard required for modules and performance is extremely high. Unsatisfactorily completed modules will be returned for re-submission if not up to standard, and performance standards are as high if not higher than those required for ABRSM and equivalent exams. The collected amount of repertoire required for Gold Level is demanding and takes years to build up, do not under-estimate the amount of time required to study for these awards.

The awards must be applied for in the following order, one level may not be missed even by experienced players, but experienced players may well be able to complete the modules in a shorter time-span and get to a more appropriate level more quickly. If full time study is available, Gold level could be achieved in three years.

Below is an example of the awards system and how they work.

BRONZE award

Modules required-

Performance (30 mins)

Publishing

History and Repertoire

Publicity

SILVER award

Modules required-

Performance (1 hour)

Performance preparation

Publishing

History and Repertoire

Publicity

GOLD award

Modules required-

Performance (2 x 45 mins)

Performance preparation

Publishing

History and Repertoire

Publicity

more details below-

BRONZE award

Performance module-

Throughout the first designated time period (minimum recommended 1 year) students must prepare to perform a concert (1 module) of 30 minutes duration in front of an audience - they will be required to play at least one piece from the South American, and Celtic traditions each, and also one piece from any genre arranged and published by the student. Students can choose any repertoire they like, but must submit the sheet music of their performance in advance- at least 10 minutes worth of the repertoire should be around the ABRSM or equivelent grade 5 standard, but some may be lower - again the intended repertoire should be submitted to CHC in advance for confirmation of their suitability for the performance award. Students are advised to have at least four on-line lessons on this subject with CHC to check that they fully understand the requirements for the awards concert, it is not simply a question of taking a year to prepare for 30 minutes worth of pieces! Preparation will include the need to study technical exercises in order to perform properly, and also study of varying pieces in each genre to gain the required depth of knowledge about which they will be questioned in the awards concert. Students must also learn about and rehearse presentation skills, how to look smart and confident at a public performance, talk to the audience and not appear nervous, and must practise this regularly for it to become second nature. The subject of nerves and how to control them is included in the on-line study.

Publishing module-

Students must learn to notate music for harp, firstly by hand on manuscript paper but then on computer. Students also need to learn how to arrange a given piece of music, in their own way, for themselves to perform in the awards concert. Then the two skills are united in the production of sheet music, to be submitted in advance of their awards concert and to be checked by CHC accordingly. Students can study this with CHC in on-line lessons, but the final piece to be arranged for submission, will not receive any help or advice and must be entirely produced by the student alone. The sheet music must be musically completely accurate, and the performance must reflect the sheet music provided, and also be performed well.

History module-

Students must learn about the history of the harp, historical context, playing styles and general knowledge of the genres, in particular in relation to the pieces they are going to play in the awards concert. Reading material will be recommended or supplied and students must write essays on this subject and submit them to CHC to check that the student fully understands the subject. Students will be asked questions on this subject during the awards concert so it is an important aspect of study.

Publicity module-

Students must produce a publicity leaflet for submission to the audience before their awards concert. This must be self -produced on computer and must include a photograph (not necessarily of the student!) with information about what they do/play relevant to their aspirations. Creativity is encouraged here - in a competitive world it is not necessarily a good idea to stick to the standard format!

All Modules should be completed satisfactorily in advance of the last one -the Performance module (awards concert). This concert will be organised in Cornwall at the Cornwall Harp Centre usually at the end of October in each year - dates will be arranged in accordance with the number and location of students but a date suitable for everyone will be arranged. students will be given plenty of notice for this, the most important award. The concert will be infront of a live audience including other harpists and professional musicians. There will also be other students present. A panel of musicians headed by Sarah Deere-Jones will discuss the performances at the end of the concert and award certificates accordingly. There is no pass or fail, but in the case of a performance disaster, students may be proclaimed in private as 'not ready' and encouraged to try again in future. This will not affect the status of their other modules.

SILVER award

Performance module-

Throughout the designated time period (minimum recommended 1 year) students must prepare to perform a concert (1 module) of one hour's duration in front of an audience - they will be required to play at least one piece from the South American and Celtic traditions, (different from Bronze repertoire) but also include repertoire from the Classical and Early music genres. Also 20 minutes worth of repertoire from any genre must be arranged and published by the student. At least one piece in the repertoire must be an original composiiton by the student. Students can choose any repertoire the like, but must submit the sheet music of their performance in advance, at least 10 minutes worth of the repertoire should be around the ABRSM or equivelent grade 6 standard, but some may be lower - again the intended repertoire should be submitted to CHC in advance for confirmation of their suitability for the performance award. Most students benefit from having at least six on-line lessons on this subject with CHC to check that all is on-course for the awards concert.

Performance preparation module-

On the same weekend as the performance award concert (above), but a seperate day - Students will be asked to perform for a given time slot (around 10 minutes) of suitable music for either of the following events - a wedding, a funeral, a therapy session, for children in a school, for an old people's home. Repertoire for all of these events should be collected and studied in advance and kept ready to perform at short notice. Again the performance will be in public and must be relaxed and completely confident.

Publishing module-

Students must be familiar with notating music for harp, both by hand on manuscript paper and also on computer. Students must be able to arrange, notate and publish 20 minutes worth of their own choice of music, in their own way, for themselves to perform in the awards concert. Students also need to learn how to compose original music for harp, and notate and publish it for submission in advance. All sheet music must be submitted in advance of their awards concert and to be checked by CHC for suitablity accordingly. Students can study this with CHC in on-line lessons, but the final piece to be arranged for submission, will not receive any help or advice and must be entirely produced by the student alone.

History module-

Students must learn about the history of the harp, historical context, playing styles and general knowledge of the genres, in particular in relation to the pieces they are going to play in the awards concert. Reading material will be recommended or supplied and students must write essays on this subject and submit them to CHC for checking. Students will be asked questions on this subject during the awards concert.

Publicity module-

Students must create a DVD of themselves playing for around 20 minutes (this can be the same repertoire as awards concert at Silver level) - the DVD should include a varied repertoire well played, in pleasant surroundings, the player should look smart. Students need to study how they come across as players, and what issues are important in a music DVD for promotional purposes. Even if students do not wish to use DVDs in self-promotion, the use of film is extremely helpful in performance preparation generally, and can help students with general preparation for performing infront of live audiences, Creativity is encouraged but some shots of the student actually playing MUST be included. Students must also submit an updated leaflet promoting themselves.

All Modules should be completed satisfactorily in advance of the last one -the Performance module (concert). This concert will be organised in Cornwall at the Cornwall Harp Centre usually at the end of October in each year - dates will be arranged in accordance with the number and location of students but a date suitable for everyone will be arranged. students will be given plenty of notice for this, the most important award. The concert will be infront of a live audience including other harpists and professional musicians. There will also be other students present. A panel of musicians headed by Sarah Deere-Jones will discuss the performances at the end of the concert and award certificates accordingly. There is no pass or fail, but in the case of a performance disaster, students may be proclaimed in private as 'not ready' and encouraged to try again in future. This will not affect the status of their other modules.

 

GOLD award

Performance module-

Throughout the designated time period (minimum recommended 1 year) students must prepare to perform a concert (1 module) of two 45 minutes sections duration in front of an audience - they will be required to play at least one piece from the South American, Celtic, Classical and Early genres (different from previous awards) but also including Jazz. At least 30 minutes worth of repertoire from any genre must be arranged and published by the student. At least 15 minutes worth of repertoire must be original compositons by the student. Students can choose any repertoire they like, but must submit the sheet music of their performance in advance, at least 30 minutes worth of the repertoire should be around the ABRSM or equivelent grade 8 standard, but some may be lower - again the intended repertoire should be submitted to CHC in advance for confirmation of their suitability for the performance award. Most students benefit from having at least Eight on-line lessons on this subject with CHC to check that all is on-course for the awards concert. Students must finely tune presentation skills to make sure their appearance is completely professional.

Performance preparation module-

Rapid Presentation- Students will be requested, at around one week in advance of their performance award concert (more for overseas students travelling to UK) to prepare a set of given pieces of around 10 minutes duration, for performance at the awards weekend. These will be from supplied published music, and also will require arrangements to be learned and notated quickly. On the same weekend, students will also be given one piece a day in advance to perform, either as in written music or arranged by the studenmt but not published. Students should build up a repertoire of such pieces and be familiar with them to be able to play at short notice. Students will also be asked to recommend repertoire for the following events - a wedding, a funeral, a therapy session, for children in a school, for an old people's home, and may be asked to perform at least one piece in public for one of those categories. Repertoire for all of these events should be collected and studied in advance and kept ready to perform at short notice. Again the performance will be in public.

Publishing module-

Students must be familiar with notating music for harp, both by hand on manuscript paper and also on computer. Students must be able to arrange, notate and publish 20 minutes worth of their own choice of music, in their own way, for themselves to perform in the awards concert. Students also need to learn how to compose original music for harp, and notate and publish it for submission in advance. All sheet music must be submitted in advance of their awards concert and to be checked by CHC for suitablity accordingly. Students can study this with CHC in on-line lessons, but the final piece to be arranged for submission, will not receive any help or advice and must be entirely produced by the student alone.

History module-

Students must learn about the history of the harp, historical context, playing styles and general knowledge of the genres, in particular in relation to the pieces they are going to play in the awards concert. Reading material will be recommended or supplied and students must write essays on this subject and submit them to CHC for checking. Students will be asked questions on the general history and repertoire of the harp during the awards concert.

Publicity module-

Students must create a website about themselves for promotional purposes - if a website is not actually required, then a written/designed leaflet similar to a website can be submitted consisting of at least two sides of A4 size paper containing photographs, designs and information about the performer. Students must also sumit an introductory email, the kind of thing they would send to a venue to try and obtain work.

All Modules should be completed satisfactorily in advance of the last one -the Performance module (concert). This concert will be organised in Cornwall at the Cornwall Harp Centre usually at the end of October in each year - dates will be arranged in accordance with the number and location of students but a date suitable for everyone will be arranged. students will be given plenty of notice for this, the most important award. The concert will be infront of a live audience including other harpists and professional musicians. There will also be other students present. A panel of musicians headed by Sarah Deere-Jones will discuss the performances at the end of the concert and award certificates accordingly. There is no pass or fail, but in the case of a performance disaster, students may be proclaimed in private as 'not ready' and encouraged to try again in future. This will not affect the status of their other modules.

Purpose-

The aim of these awards is to encourage harpists to develop and improve their playing and knowledge to a professional standard, to give them a series of targets and enabling them to set out into the music world with full confidence and the required skills. The standard systems of grade exams for harp are lacking in respect of the available depth and versetility of the harp repertoire, and do not include so many of the required skills such as arranging and composing. The exams themselves do not reflect reality and are not helpful in developing public performance skills, or preparing the student for promoting themselves in a competitive market. Lever-harp students will find that the major conservatoire's do not even allow them to audition for places.

Professional Awards weekend - held at the Cornwall Harp Centre, the concert will take place on a saturday evening and arrival of all students must be on the friday before. Students doing Performance preparation modules will need to do these on saturday morning. They will then have plenty of time to practise for the concert in the evening. Harps can be loaned for overseas students. UK students can practise at their B&Bs during the day. Plenty of time will be allotted to each student to prepare at the concert venue, but by necessity and just as in a professional concert, harps will have to be moved onto the stage at the point of the student's performance.

 

FEES - April as of 2014

To register for the CHC awards scheme, the admin fee is 10.

On-line lessons are 20 for 30 minutes, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11am-11pm only.

Modules requiring work to be 'checked' (History, Publishing etc) are sold complete with reading lists and further information at 50 per module.

Professional Awards weekend - from a Friday at 4pm until a Sunday lunchtime 150 including lunch and dinner, accommodation is charged separately.

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