Up at the Barn: 5-Day August Intensive in Maine

In two weeks I’ll be “Up at the Barn” teaching my 5-Day “Performance for Musicians” Intensive.  There’s only two slots left, so if you’re on the fence, come on over!   Here’s a video I made about the workshop.  And I’ve asked former students to add comments to this post about their own experience at the Barn, so read on!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikKIV1mp810?hl=en&fs=1&w=425&h=349]

Once a year, I pack my van with five harps and drive to a big old Barn in Maine where I hold a 5-Day Intensive Workshop for performers. The group is small – never more than 16 – and the students are all ages, all levels and many play different instruments – though there are always many harpists. Students come from all over the US and Europe, and many come back year after year. The co-teacher is my long-time colleague, award-winning dancer Karen Montanaro.

Together, Karen and take this group on a learning adventure that we, ourselves, came to this very barn for 20 years ago, the basic concepts we each still use today to find the authentic performer inside of each of us. We both came to study with – and eventually to love – Tony Montanaro, the man who turned this barn into a study/performance place, who taught us how to look to ourselves and our bodies as the foundation of our performance — and the man who Karen eventually married.

Now, each summer, Karen and I pass along these concepts that changed our lives – and continue to change them – to this small group. We only have 2 slots left for 2011, and we invite you to join. I was always one of those students who waited until the last minute to sign-up, so if you’re like me in that – grab one of these last 2 slots by going direct to the registration page or you can  learn more about the workshop here.

Students at "Performance for Musicians" 5-Day Intensive in 2010

Students at "Performance for Musicians" 5-Day Intensive in 2010

The work we do at the Barn is fundamental – but hard to explain – so I’ve asked former students to add comments below, telling others what they might expect at “Performance for Musicians” to describe their own experience, so that others can get an idea what to expect.

So former students, please add your comments below – describe your own experience at the Barn! What did you experience?  What surprised you?  What happened for you there?  And how has the experience impacted your own life?   

To register right now Click Here

For more workshop details Click Here
Aug 15-20: 5-Day Intensive Workshop

For more about the Celebration Barn and tickets to show Click here
Aug 19 (Fri): “Meet the Artists” – 8pm
Aug 20 (Sat) : DHC Solo Performance – 8pm

I hope I see you “Up at the Barn!”

and p.s. Here are some links to blogs about how the Barn changed my own life:
My Blog about The Workshop

My Blog about Tony & Me

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7 Responses to Up at the Barn: 5-Day August Intensive in Maine

  1. HipHarp says:

    This is a comment by former student, Betsy Chapman, that she left on the Facebook Discussion page for students just before her last visit to the Barn — and this is GREAT advice for students coming to the workshop:

    Just a note for first timers on the “Bring a Piece to Work on” requirement. This was the scariest thing for me the first time, so I overprepared. I knew exactly what I planned to work on, practiced it, obsessed over having to play it in front of “real” musicians, and got as prepared as I could possibly have been.

    Then I got to the workshop, and on day 2 changed my plans entirely, and ended up never even touching the intended piece.

    All that practice was a good thing, of course, but this time I am taking a different tack. I have a few ideas (some vague, some fairly well thought-out) of what I might want to work on. When I get to the workshop I will see what develops.

    None of my ideas even focus on the “playing” part this time, so I won’t have to worry about notes so much. I do that the rest of the year – this is the week to focus on the performance as a whole, not to impress with flawless execution of a difficult piece.

    Wow, that takes the pressure off – or at least puts it in a different place, one which I think we don’t often get to work on or get coached on as musicians. I hope this makes some sense. Can’t wait – see you all very soon! (Betsy Chapman)

  2. Well known secrets

    What is it that you want to do? You can do it. Just say yes.
    I’ll show you that you already know how. Just say yes.
    Use your left brain, use your right brain, shut your brain off. Just say yes.
    Work your body, rest your body, just be in your body. Be here. Just say yes.
    You are so beautiful. You are one of a kind. Just say yes.
    Let me guide you and nurture you. Let me say you are” enough”. Just say yes.
    Are these things stopping you?…let me help you with them. Just say yes.
    I have them too! We’ll turn them into our friends.Just say yes.
    All will be fine. Just try it. Just do it.Just say yes.
    You matter to us.
    Please say yes………..
    With great love and gratitude, Nancy Schroeder from Maine

    • HipHarp says:

      Nancy — you were such a revelation to us – to everyone. You ‘slipped through’ the cracks that year, the first year, when we thought we needed to specify some kind of ‘technical level’ for the participants, and you showed us – everyone – how the deepest power of performance has so little to do with length of study or number of notes you can play, and everything to do with having the courage to embody who you are on stage.

      The way you combined simple music, beautifully played, with perceptions it’s taken you a lifetime to develop, and turned that into a performance – it was stunning, humbling, inspiring.

      It showed me that when we bring who we are to what we do — when we infuse what we do with who we are — we shift out of the realm of ‘presentation’ and it becomes a completely authentic, utterly incomparable experience.

      That’s what I most remember about you. I’m so happy you were there!

      • Dear Deborah,
        What I remember most about you is that you were really great and you made all of us feel that we too were great. I have told everyone over the years that what you have , you give all away. Thank you.
        Much love, N

  3. tristahill says:

    I am one of those that go to the Barn every year, specifically for this workshop — well, there was one year I missed, and I very much regretted it. That year felt like I had missed the inspirational visit of a very important relative who has loved and supported me all life, unconditionally.

    I return every year because I don’t know until I get there what has been lurking just under the surface, dying to be expressed. The first year I realized that I have been living my entire life this way — all these pieces wanting an outlet, waiting to come out. Unacceptable.

    I keep going because I want to live these concepts every day, not just the one week out of the year. They feel true and right. We try them on with Deborah and Karen in a “safe” environment, and imperfectly (much how I am writing these words, trying to convey this to you). They inform every bit of the rest of your life. You leave knowing yourself better, deeper, wider.

    It’s not always comfortable, but that’s the point. Are you ready to open yourself up to…. yourself?

    Isn’t Nancy’s comment just gorgeous? That is what it’s about — saying yes to yourself, over and over, until you remember it, really feel it, live it every day. The Barn is a brilliant place to start. See you there!

  4. Ian McVoy says:

    My experience at the barn was truly magical! With help from the wonderful instructors Deborah Henson-Conant and Karen Montanaro, My eyes were really opened to the world of performance. I realized how much more I could get out of music than I possibly could have imagined before. I realized that performing is about so much more than notes and rhythm! The program, as stated above, may not always be comfortable, but in the end it certainly does make you feel great! The environment is lovely, and the people are all great! Being at the barn was the most fun I’ve had in ages, and my only regret is that I couldn’t come back this year, due to scheduling conflicts with school. I would definitely encourage anyone who possibly can to attend!

    -Ian McVoy

  5. I am so sorry that I cannot make it to The Barn this year – working for a living so gets in the way of doing some of the other IMPORTANT things in life. For those of you who are going – I am green with envy! Arrive with an open mind. Know that your mind and body will be connected in ways you never thought possible (and I say this as a Tai Chi teacher by the way). Expect your mind to be expanded by your experience. You will be given the tools to do things that you may never have dreamed of before, as well as the things you dreamed of but didn’t know how to approach. Even though I can’t make it this year, I am still working with ideas and skills I learned in past years, so I will be with you in spirit. I’ll take the time to remind myself of the creative freedom and possibilities that you will be exploring, and which we so often forget in the day to day chaos that is life. I will push myself to get to at least one open mike night in our town during the week and sing while playing – which is one of the things I’ve spent time working on this year as a result of last year’s trip to the Barn. Have a great time, and I hope to see you in person next year.

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