Last week, Marisela González, Mercedes Gómez and Isabelle Moretti launched their entirely new project - the Taller Itinerante de Arpa de Pedales, the Travelling Harp Workshop. This very special idea aimed to make it easier for harp students in Latin America to access the sort of international masterclass most harp students take for granted. Because it is normally too expensive for these students to travel to standard masterclass and course programmes, Isabelle Moretti travelled with Mercedes and Marisela to Mexico. Jakez went too.
Jakez en route to Mexico City airport
Many thanks to Mercedes and Marisela for their Harpblog report!
TALLER ITINERANTE DE ARPA DE PEDALES
with Isabelle Moretti
Mexico City, April 25-30, 2012
Escuela Nacional de Música, sponsored by Camac Harps
All good things come to an end. In this case, we hope the end is only the beginning, since this very new format of a travelling workshop, designed specially for Latin American harp students, really needs to continue. We will keep working on ideas to make it possible again.
Our first edition of the Taller Itinerante de Arpa de Pedales was an intense six days of workshops with Isabelle Moretti. There were group and individual masterclasses. The week finished with a concert, in which selected students performed the pieces they had worked on with Isabelle - who also performed for the students, as they sat close by.
Twenty-seven students took part, from Guatemala, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador and Mexico. We studied the basic and not so basic principles of harp playing, in a clear format to make them as easy to grasp as possible.
Among the comments from participants, one particularly hit the nail on the head: Isabelle’s love for music is contagious. She inspired the students to search for better sound quality, and develop a personal interpretation. She taught them how to sing with the instrument, and train their ears, while learning notes, pedals, detecting problems and choosing the right tool to correct what can be improved.
To us, the Latin American teachers working with her in the Taller, one of the most valuable factors was the importance of treating students as musicians, from the very beginning. We had a meeting with the participant teachers, to listen to their comments and suggestions – after all, our entire concept is based around the wonderful verb, “to share”’.
Observing the joy and surprise on the students’ faces, and their motivation and inspiration, also reminded us of our own joy in teaching, and the importance of being creative while working with pupils.
Special thanks go to Francisco Viesca, director of the Escuela Nacional de Música for supporting this project; to Janet Paulus and Artemisa Reyes for such excellent organization; and to the students who helped with the logistics of harps and practice rooms.
We are also grateful to teachers who came from other schools and states: Britta Shaffer, José Enrique Guzmán, Yuko Groves, Blanca Zúñiga, Ricardo Flores and Alejandra Sánchez. Thank you too to Jakez François and Camac Harps – and gracias to the parents, who supplied food and drink for the intense schedule’s short breaks!
Marisela González (Venezuela) and Mercedes Gómez (México).
Comments from students and teachers:
“Aprendí muchísimas cosas, como ser paciente y dedicado con el estudio, perfeccionista con el sonido y no conformarme con el primer resultado“.
I learnt many things, such as being patient and devoted with my practicing, perfectionist with my sound and not taking things for granted at the first try.
Amílcar Montúfar, Guatemala.
“O céu é nosso limite. Tu me ensinaste o caminho para alcançá-lo“.
The sky is our limit. You showed me how to get there.
Glaucia Castilhos, Brasil.
“Observé que en mis alumnos se movieron internamente muchas cosas“.
I observed that my students were stimulated and moved in many ways.
Alejandra Sánchez, México.
“Esta experiencia va a ser inolvidable... Voy a estudiar y a practicar todo lo que ella dijo, para aprovechar el curso al máximo. “
This experience will be an unforgettable one. I will study and practice all what she said, to profit as much as possible from the course.
Alondra Máynez, México.
“El taller ha resultado maravillosamente nutritivo para mi. En él He encontrado apoyo para mejorar mi manera de tocar y sobre todo mi manera de enseñar a tocar El arpa”.
This workshop was marvelously rich for me. I was helped to improve my way of playing and most of all, my way of teaching how to play the harp.
Blanca Zúñiga, México.
“He aprendido muchas cosas, pero las que más me impactaron son: el movimiento de rotación, el de la muñeca y comenzar los acordes de mi pieza con el primer dedo y no con el cuarto”.
I learned many things. Among the most important were: the rotation movement, the movement with the wrist and to start the chords in my piece with the first finger and not with the fourth one”.
Joana Téllez, Xalapa, Veracruz, México.
“The most important thing that Isabelle told me was that I have to play relaxed, enjoy what I am playing and share whatever my feelings may be”.
Tonantzin Real, Mexico.
“A lo largo del taller he aprendido a disfrutar La música de manera orgánica, atendiendo mis sensaciones y sin descuidar las exigencias que una obra demanda”.
During the workshop I learnt to enjoy music in an organic way, aware of my sensations, and without being careless about the demands of the piece itself.
Ariadna Bucio (México).
“Este taller me servirá para toda la vida. Todo lo que trabajamos se me grabó, pero lo que más noté que Isabelle Moretti repetía fue acerca de usar el oído”.
This workshop will be helpful for all my life. Everything we worked is engrained inside me, but what I most noticed is how Isabelle Moretti repeated that we have to use our ears”.
Alondra Máynez (México).
“This has been a very inspiring week for me. I realized that as musicians and harpists we are more than just fingers on a musical instrument, and even when we are just starting to learn, we must involve our ears, emotions, awareness and technique”.
Ada Lía Tzab, Yucatán, México.