For the Harbison Harp Method (HHM) with Janet Harbison

Whether for an introduction to 'teaching music by ear' or an 'in-depth study of oral music training' Janet's infectious passion and entertaining presentation style ensures a purposeful and effective learning experience for students and teachers alike.  

There are a number of training courses available from an 'Introduction to Oral Music Training'  weekend course (see course descriptive *1) to undertaking the HHM Levels Training (*2) toward becoming a certified and registered teacher of the Harbison Harp Method.

The Training Courses combine theoretical and practical learning in the HHM with certification examinations at the conclusion of each Level allowing graduate teachers to be listed and to network their practises under the HHM banner.    The Teacher Support CPD (Continuing Professional Development) courses facilitate ongoing training support at the end of the 2nd, 4th and 6th year of teaching practise.  Also on examining for other practises.

The Teacher’s Training Courses in the Harbison Harp Method comprise of between 3 and 5½ days of training for each of the Phase 1 Levels (Prelim Juniors; Prelim Adults, Levels 1- 4) with a certification examination at the conclusion (the 'vivas' of which can be taken either immediately after this or another course.  The 'papers' can be taken at home and submitted by email).      

Each course involves:

  • Course preparation
  • Taught presentation modules
  • Teaching observation
  • Teaching practise

The Courses

Introduction to Oral Music Training - Weekend (1½ days)
Starting on Saturday morning at 10am (residents may arrive Friday evening) and completing on Sunday at 1pm (with private tuition available on Sunday afternoon), this course is a 'discovery of the oral method' through experience and observation on how it works and what are the skills needed to be an effective oral teacher.  The course also explores the benefits, particularly in relation to dyslexic or other 'special needs' teaching. While the music involved in the course is Irish, the method applies to all music genres and is fundamentally rooted in the universal language of music.  This course is relevant to teachers, either already in practise or aspiring to it, from all music genres and from all levels of seniority.  The Adult Learner's Tutor Book is used on this course and it would be helpful to be familiar with the book content in advance.  (Upon booking the course, the book is sent to you).
Junior Beginner's Teacher Training - 3 days
The Junior Beginner's course is designed for children beginning between the ages of 8 and 11 years of age. It is orientated to both group and individual student training and is heavily focused on the delivery method of oral entrainment.

Adult Learner's Teacher Training - 4 days
This course is more specific to the prescribed course-work of Adult Beginner's. Teachers may start with either Preliminary (Junior's and/or Adult's) or Level 1 and the following levels must be taken sequentially.  (If teachers start with Level 1, the Preliminary Levels can be taken at any stage thereafter).

Special Needs Supplementary Course - 1 day
Further to the standard Beginners' courses, this 1 day workshop focuses on what teachers need to address with Special Needs students.  Further training will be advised for in-depth work in this area.

Teachers may start with either Preliminary Level (Adult's or Junior's) or Level 1 and the following levels must be taken sequentially.  (If teachers start with Level 1, the Preliminary Levels can be taken at any stage thereafter).

Advanced Level Courses (Phase 2) in individual 'Arts of Harping'

For each of the advanced 'Arts of Harping', courses comprise an exploration of the repertoire, level of advancement expected, appropriate style of presentation, arrangement, history and general knowledge appropriate to the musical material.  The Course for each 'Art' comprises one day with 2-3 follow-on days for repertoire development.  (E.g. a 3-day course on Lamentations and Slow Airs comprises an exploration and explanation of what is expected for students at the different levels with this 'Art' and days 2 & 3 are with Janet teaching the repertoire to the teachers (with some cross-referencing with other performers).

  1. Story music: Goltraí, Geantraí, Suantraí (The art of improvisation for the accompaniment of poetry and storytelling) 
  2. Historical (or Classic Irish) Repertoire (17th and 18th Centuries)
  3. Lamentations and Slow Airs
  4. The Romantic (or Folk) Repertoire (19th and 20th Centuries)
  5. The ‘New Irish’ (or Formal Modern Composition) Repertoire
  6. Dance Music
  7. Song and Harp
  8. Sacred and Ceremonial 
  9. Health and Well-being (Palliative Improvisation)
  10. Composition
  11. Arrangement
  12. Accompaniment

Preparation for the Teacher Courses

Each of the Levels 1 - 4, the teacher trainee is recommended to be familiar with the coursework (in the Tutor Book) for the related Level - to the point where they could competently undertake the exam themselves.  For certification to officially teach the HHM programme, the teacher will be required to play through all the course content so ensuring they have a thorough familiarity with the conceptual content, melody and accompaniment variations, and remedial strategies.  In the course of the training, there will be  interactive collaboration, spot quizes and volunteer student teaching practise.  

A typical daily schedule comprises 5 training sessions:

9 - 10am - Warm-up Technical Training session (involving Chimes and Chordscapes)
10 - 11.15am - Session 1    
11.30 - 12.45pm  - Session 2         
2 - 3.15 pm - Session 3
3.30 - 4.45 pm - Session 4        
8 - 9.15pm - Session 5

At the conclusion of each teaching course, teachers are invited to sit the examinations for certification. The examinations comprise of 4 elements:  

  • Written papers (2 x 2 hours)
  • A quickfire questionnaire (½ hour)
  • Teaching observation
  • Viva (interview)

If not taken immediately after the Teacher's Course, examinations may be taken remotely by Skype or by email.

Graduation gives you:

  • Teacher Certification at the individual Levels 1 - 4 
  • Training in the Advanced Levels 5 - 8 in the individual 'Arts of Harping' 
  • Examiner Training and Certification Courses
  • Listing on the Harbison Harp Method Teacher Register (on the website)
  • Access to all Teacher CPD (Continuing Professional Development) programmes
  • Refresher Course Weekends


Organising Teacher Training Courses at Other Centres    

All Teacher Training courses may be arranged at venues other than those advertised here.   Let us know your interest and we can discuss how the course can be brought to you.  A minimum of 4 teachers is normally required to run a course and volunteer students (for teachers to experiment with!) will be required.