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HarpMasters Academy: Audition Training

Summer has effectively been cancelled with the pandemic, which means all summer festivals, performances and projects as well!! ☹️It's sad because I was supposed to be going to Bowdoin Music Festival this year - somewhere which I've been longing to go for a while now!! But it's okay, I thought I'd share my experiences on my previous festivals and travels for myself to reminisce and perhaps help others in deciding festivals the next time Summer actually happens! 🌻

In this first instalment, we return to Summer 2019 for HarpMasters Academy in Munchënbuchsee, Switzerland🇨🇭

This was an absolute blast. 🚀It was the first time I went to a summer festival by myself and I really loved it. HarpMasters is entirely harp-centred meaning no other instruments or chamber classes with other instrumentalists. It offers a variety of courses catered to different groups of people:

🧘🏻‍♀️HarpMasters FUTURE: for beginner-intermediate harpists focusing on fundamentals

👩🏻‍🏫HarpMasters PRO: for advanced-professional harpists focusing on intensive coaching and offering several workshops in jazz, baroque, pedagogy

🏋🏻‍♀️Audition Training: a 3 day intensive focusing on Orchestral Auditions from Petra van der Heide

✈️ So having to fly all. the. way. to Switzerland from Singapore, I went for the Audition Training + HarpMasters PRO course which was a gruelling total of 2.5 weeks ⌚️For this period, I was put at the most lovely host family who fed me and took care of me so much and so well. I arrived earlier than supposed to in Switzerland and they were so kind to host me for an extra weekend before the courses actually started - so much love! ♥️

Audition Training was conducted by the most wonderful ✨Petra van der Heide, Principal Harpist of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. Prior to the course, we were told to prepare a bunch of excerpts + 1 solo for a mock audition which basically began the whole course. Additionally, your audition was open to ALL the harpists to sit in - eek! (😱Nerves training for sure 😱) Somehow miraculously I got into the second round but subsequently got kicked out because I had nerves of not steel 😅

In these three days, Petra shared her extensive knowledge on preparing for auditions - 🤼‍♀️the preparation process, ✅her Dos and Don'ts on the audition day, 📝her recipe for success. Additionally, she went through a variety of excerpts where we all play and discuss together. Everyday, she gave us so many new things to 💭think about and consider - how much should I prepare? what should I do on the day itself? what music elements should I consider? For me at least, it was very useful hearing from someone who has so much experience and knowledge in her field 🧠 That coupled with the rest of the amazing harpists who were there, I think it was certainly worth it 💯💯💯

Photo from HarpMasters Academy Official

At the end of the course, Petra was so lovely to bring us out 🎉🍾During that time, she talked one on one to us sharing about how she thought we could improve individually. Petra is so so kind and honest. She shared with me her insights on things I should think about personally and work on, and really 🔨hit the nail on the head for things I had to hear as a growing harpist 🌱

The only gripe I had about the course was that it was three days of crazy 🤯 I think if it was spread out over four days, it would be a more comfortable pace for sure. However, being very Asian, I think it was super worth ⛹🏻‍♀️smashing all that into three days. Sure it was tiring. And if you're not prepared mentally, it can get overwhelming 😫However, I think it was a very good three days and I absolutely loved everyone I met, and ultimately a very valuable experience ♥️

xx, lishan

🌟P.S. I carried on to HMA PRO and I will talk about that in future posts here!

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