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Latin American Harp music

Latin American Harp music

Latin American Harp music
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Andean music
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Paraguayan music
The Bell Bird Introduction

The Bell Bird Introduction

Workshop The Bell Bird - Pajaro Campana

Workshop The Bell Bird - Pajaro Campana

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Workshop:  El Condor Pasa (Andean Music)

Workshop: El Condor Pasa (Andean Music)

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Workshop: La Paloma (Trad Cuban)

Workshop: La Paloma (Trad Cuban)

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Introduction to Paraguayan Music. Song options: “3 de Mayo” “Sueño de Angelita” “Llegada” “Melodía para ti”

We will explore the fascinating Paraguayan syncopated rhythm that combines 3⁄4 and 6/8. This song has a simple melodic phrase that will allow us to explore the wide range of Paraguayan decorative harp techniques. Music score will be available, but we will learn in the traditional Paraguayan style, by observation, listening and hands on. It is recommended that you bring some form of recording device either video or audio as a reference for future practice.

Introduction to Paraguayan Romantic music. “Recuerdos de Ypacaraí”

The gentle and slow version of Paraguayan harp music, Recuerdos de Ypacarai is one of Paraguay’s most famous romantic songs played all over the world. Music score will be avail-able, but we will learn in the traditional Paraguayan style, by observation, listening and hands on. It is recommended that you bring some form of recording device either video or audio as a reference for future practice.

Learning “Pájaro Campana” The Bell Bird. Paraguay’s favorite harp melody. For advanced players.

This workshop will help you demystify this beautiful song. We will explore the fascinating Paraguayan syncopated rhythm that combines 3⁄4 and 6/8. We will work on the melody pattern in relation to the various Paraguayan harp playing techniques. Music scores will be available we will learn in the traditional Paraguayan style, by observation, listening and hands on. It is recommended that you bring some form of recording device either video or audio as a reference for future practice. This workshop is recommended for very advanced students.

Learning Latin American style waltz: “Luna LLena"


Most of the world's cultures include some kind of waltz in their dance repertoire. In this fun workshop, learn about the distinct characteristics of waltzes in Latin American music and how specific Latin harp techniques will make you sound like an entire band. Nicolas will teach the music "by ear" and will have a music score available. He will introduce a beautiful waltz by Digno Garcia, one of Paraguay’s most influential harp composers. Here is a link to video:  

Traditional Paraguayan harmonies. Exercises for Right hand/ left hand harmonies.

This workshop will explore ways the Paraguayan harpists approach chords and create melodic harmonies between right and left hand. The rapid harmonic patterns that are played as decorative motifs in Paraguayan music are a multiple combination of well established hand positions that require exchanging positions between left and right hand.

A Latin Christmas

Here is an entertaining way to spice up your Christmas repertoire! Nicolas Carter has put a new twist on beloved North American traditional Christmas pieces so you can wake up your listeners with joyful rhythms and a delightful surprise to the ear. Nicolas makes all his workshops FUN, and when he was here in 2013 people emerged from each workshop grinning ear to ear, with amazing kudos on our evaluation forms. In this workshop you will learn to play "Joy to the World” as a Colombian Cumbia, a very popular Latin Dance style music, that will truly bring joy to the song!


If Joan Baez, Jackson Browne, Pete Seeger, Jose Feliciano, Jimmy Buffet, and a zillion other recording artists have played this great tune, maybe you can bring smiles to your friends by playing it, too! Include Guantanamera in your repertoire, with a real Latin flair, a song loved all over the world. With Nicolas’ delightful teaching style, you will learn the bass pattern for the Cha Cha and practice playing along a rhythmic groove. After getting a feel of the relationship between the melody and bass pattern the group will explore ways to improvise and tag on decorative motifs. You are encouraged to use a recording device. Experienced beginners to intermediate. Bring harp.

Latin American Rhythms

Here’s some hands-on fun that will open your harp vision. Latin American rhythms are a wonderful blend of European, African and Indigenous music. This is an introductory workshop for you to learn basic bass rhythmic patterns and combine them with a simple melody. Nicolas will introduce the Paraguayan Polca, Guarania, the Andean Huayno, The Venezuelan Joropo, The Mexican Jarocho , and the Colombian Cumbia. It’s an “aha” feeling when you “get” these bass patterns, and once you do, they are easy because they repeat. It is recommended that you bring some form of recording device either video or audio as a reference for future practice. Intermediate to Advanced. 

Improvising with Latin American Rhythms

Free your soul and embrace the art of improvisation! Nicolas will quickly have you playing Latin American rhythms and chord progressions. Based on the interest of the group he’ll also cover popular Caribbean rhythms like cha cha, cumbia, rumba or some of the traditional harp folk styles like joropo from Venezuela, jarocho from Mexico, Paraguayan Polca and Guarania. You are invited to bring a recording device, as it helps to hear these rhythms when you get home too.

You will practice playing along a percussion loop and be divided in small groups to create your own melodies.... lots of fun! This workshop is for any type of harp. As serious as this workshop might seem, these rhythms invite you to relax and dance. You can’t help but smile. Intermediate to advanced. 

Storytelling and the Harp

The harp is the magical instrument of the heart, that brings warmth to any intimate gathering... and a powerful tool to enhance the mood and ambience of live storytelling. Nicolas has worked as an educator and storyteller for years and is the perfect harpist to teach this unique class. His passion will bring a new dimension to your “harp life.”

Imagine using the harp, telling stories to your children or grandchildren, making memories to warm their hearts through the joyful moments and challenges in their future lives.  Or using the harp to make storytelling come alive at schools, in home gatherings, at bookstores, or simply as an introduction to a tune before you play anywhere.

With Nicolas’s warm, affirming guidance, you will surprise yourself by improvising melodies and creating sounds with your harp to accompany a story. This is a workshop to relax and simply enjoy what your hands can create. It's a workshop about connecting with others with a text, and opening up creativity with yourself. Bring Harp and a brief story to share. Experienced Beginner to Advanced.

La Paloma (the Dove)

This beloved Cuban tune, along with "Yesterday" by the Beatles, is one of the most recorded songs in the history of music. When you play tunes people already love, you have them in the palm of your hand! La Paloma makes people feel romantic; a good tune to play for anyone. This tune can be easily adapted to small harp, so you can take it with you anywhere.

In addition to teaching harp, Nicolas is a university theatre professor teaching acting, clowning, stage combat, and puppetry to adult theatre students. No wonder he’s fun. 

“El Condor Pasa” (The Flight of the Condor)

In this workshop you will learn a song from the Andes of South America that has captivated people all over the world. Simon and Garfunkel used this melody for the song “If I could”, also called “Sparrow”. You will learn about the traditional Huayno style music from the Andes. In this calls Nicolas teaches in the traditional style, by observation, listening, and hands on, so bring a recording device as a reference for future practice. Music score will also be available. This is a wonderful tune for giving variety to your repertoire and making you a more sophisticated, broad-knowledge harpist. Intermediate to advanced.

Playing Pachelbel’s Cannon in different Latin American rhythms Level: Int. 


Let’s spice up the Cannon with rhythmic variations, played as a Paraguayan polka, as a Paraguayan Guarania and note the subtle differences in the accents of similar Latin American music as the Mexican Son or the Venezuelan Jorocho. A great intro to Latin American traditions.

Learning to play “Moliendo Café” (Grinding Coffee) Level: Int. 

A classic Latin American song from Venezuela that will get you dancing. Music score will be available. Improvisational and rhythmic exercises will be part of developing the feel for this composition. Intermediate to Advanced

Overview of new music book: “Melodías del Arpa” Level: Int. 

Latin American harp music adapted for Celtic based harp players. An introduction to the various styles of music included in the book of Latin Harp, music specifically adapted by Sharon Thormahlen for non Latin harps. There will be various exercises to become immersed in the rhythms and be able to learn these compositions by your own a lot easier.

Improvise Your Way to a Composition  Level: Int.


Everyone is able to improvise music and discover their own melody hidden within them. Nicolas believes it's an intuitive approach to composing music and he'll prove it to you in this workshop. The improvisational exercises will facilitate defining melodic phrases to create an original composition. Nicolas has been composing and recording music for over 30 years and his compositions combine styles of music from around the world.


Make Me a Lyre!  Level: Any

Smaller than even most lap harps, how can you make the most out of a 10-string lyre? Nicolas explores many ways to make music with the lyre, techniques, musical patterns, rhythms, special effects and even half steps notes. You will be surprised with the musical possibilities

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