Beginners' Courses

Ardival Harps has offered Harp Holiday courses for over twenty years.  Four-day courses take place over a long weekend and are for people with no previous experience of playing harps.  The teaching is aural and it is not necessary to read music.

2024 DATES


  Friday 24th May to Monday 27th May

Friday 26th July to Monday 29th July

Class sessions run each day from 9.30am until 3.00pm at Orchard House in Strathpeffer.  The course fee of £325 includes a light lunch and refreshment on the teaching days.  Each student has one of our easily portable harps to use during the course. 

As the course progresses you will be introduced to the music and harps of successive eras and will have a chance to play and to listen to all of the different instruments.  This opportunity to try so many different harps makes our courses unique and an ideal starting point for beginners.

Your teacher will be Bill Taylor.  He has built a worldwide reputation researching, teaching and performing the ancient harp music of Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and he is one of very few players investigating these repertoires on medieval gut-strung harps, wire-strung clarsachs and renaissance harps with buzzing bray pins.  As a teacher of historical harps, he is frequently invited to lead workshops in the UK, Europe and the USA, including regular appearances at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival.  Bill performs and records as a soloist and as a member of several groups, including the French group Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien, the Scottish ensemble Canty, as well as Belgian groups Quadrivium and Graindelavoix.  His style of teaching is relaxed and the beginners' courses have been carefully planned to allow rewarding progress for all students, including those with little or no previous musical experience. Following the course students can continue, if they wish, to have private lessons with Bill either in person or on Zoom.

Days typically begin with a technique class at 9.30am.  After coffee, students develop group arrangements as new music is introduced.  Around 12;30pm we break for lunch - prepared in-house by Zan and Alex Dunn.  There is then time for a short walk before the afternoon session.  This session is where Bill introduces music from times past and present.  Harps you will hear and use include medieval lap harps, bray harps, wire-strung clarsachs and traditional lever harps.  We conclude at 3.00pm each day, leaving afternoons and evenings for walking in the wooded countryside or for practising.  Courses run with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 8 students.

How to get there:

Our base is in Strathpeffer, an elegant Victorian spa village in the heart of the Highlands.  Find Ardival Harps on Google maps. There are plenty of B&Bs and hotels in Strathpeffer within easy walking distance of Orchard House. For accommodation Visit Scotland  gives suggestions.  Also visit our Links page.

Inverness is the nearest city, with excellent road links to the North and South via the A9. There are regular trains including a sleeper from London, buses, and flights to Inverness airport including, a direct flight fom Amsterdam. Trains connect to Dingwall (5 miles from Strathpeffer) and there are buses from Inverness, via Dingwall, to Strathpeffer.  Travelinescotland is also useful for local transport.

Please click the link to print a sign-up form.  If you have questions please phone 01997 421260 or use the contact page for more information. We ask for a deposit of £70 when booking.

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