Learn to Play
You and the harp
Welcome to the harp world!
Did you know that The HARP is both ancient and thoroughly modern, serene and intense, Eastern and Western in origin, at once mystical, spellbinding and sizzling with rhythm? How lovely to imagine yourself immersed in its meditative beauties, and falling in love with its energizing spirit. So prepare to be thoroughly captivated by this instrument!
With over 25 years of performance experience, composition and recording, arranging for ensembles, and curriculum development, Caroline understands its magnetic appeal, and has become deeply experienced with students of all ages
I teach at the Kelowna and Vernon Community Music Schools as well as working from the High Spirits Studio in West Kelowna. We are flexible, and able to teach IN PERSON – with protocols in place. We are also using ZOOM as needed (or if preferred) during the health crisis, and besides that… when the winter brings us snowy roads!
Private lessons have proven most effective for Beginners and Intermediates, while Performance Coaching, Arranging and Ensemble Direction are also available for more Advanced players.
Over several years, High Spirits Music has developed the Celtic Harp Studies Curriculum especially for the Folk Harp student, with an emphasis on solid technique and relaxation. I love teaching Children and Teens (!), and also specialize in Adult learning styles, finding each student’s individual strengths. Theory and ear training are components of this program and may be started at any level.
Ensemble playing is encouraged, so Duos, Trios and a large group Harp Orchestra have made waves around the BC Interior! Current restrictions have not dampened our enthusiasm, and we work together online until we are free to meet again!
HIGH SPIRITS MUSIC provides Rental Instruments for those who wish to begin lessons without having to buy a Harp just yet. Caroline’s husband Daniel Schmitt, the Okanagan’s Harp Builder, Artisan and Proprietor of DIAMOND HARPS for 18 years, founded this exclusively Canadian Company in 2001.
Local students ~ Please ask about this RENTAL service when you register.
Our NEW High Spirits Music Celtic Harp Studies program ONLINE opens up the world of this thrilling and versatile instrument to every harp lover everywhere! This is a 2-part Video series of 18 lessons in BOOK ONE and 24 Lessons in BOOK TWO, with opportunities to add Private Lessons by Zoom.
Schedule a zoom lesson
Book 1, Lesson 1
demonstrates immediately what to look for in a harp, shows you how to sit comfortably and approach the strings with a relaxed technique, and encourages you to be The Joyful Beginner! You will join me in the High Spirits Studio where I sit beside you, closely guiding you through early exercises and songs. Each concept involves a “Practice Moment” where you pause briefly to repeat and deepen a new skill. Lessons are systematic, and designed to build your skills at your own pace.
Get UNIT 1 FREE.
This includes Lessons 1 – 6, each about 25 – 35 minutes in length, with Step-by-Step Videos and Downloads of the corresponding
Try them out with your harp, rented locally, or borrowed from a friend!
Come for a private Zoom Lesson
wherever you live, some time during the first 6 lessons. Caroline is ready to check your technique and shower encouragement
Purchase UNIT 2 of BOOK ONE
This includes Lessons 7 – 12.
Follow it with another Private Lesson or two by Zoom. More enthusiasm!
Purchase UNIT 3 of BOOK ONE
from the HS Music website. This includes Lessons 13 – 18. Follow up with another Private Lesson or two by Zoom.
CELEBRATE! – You are a graduate!
Workshops & Retreats
Every Spring, HIGH SPIRITS MUSIC plays host to a Celtic Harp Workshop. We started out on Vancouver Island from 1998 to 2001, with KIM ROBERTSON, SHARLENE WALLACE, LAURA ZAERR and CAROLINE MACKAY teaching in the famous Chemainus Theatre in mid-February! In 2002, we moved the Workshop to NARAMATA on Lake Okanagan, and took advantage of the beautiful scenery and spring blossoms at the Retreat Centre.
Since then, we have moved to the North Okanagan, near Vernon, and to West Kelowna in 2019, for our 20th anniversary! Hundreds of students have enjoyed high-energy retreats with HARPER TASCHE, SUNITA STANESLOW, KERI LYNN ZWICKER, ALYS HOWE, REBECCA BLAIR, KIM ROBERTSON
and SHARLENE WALLACE.
Keep an eye on this page for future Workshop announcements, once we can gather in groups again.