Jazz Harp Isn't Just For Grown Ups 

the birth of a jazz harp kids programme 

December 2013 


This festivals edition, we stood at the cradle of a Jazz Harping for Kids programme. 

And now, looking back on it, we’re safe to say: Jazz isn’t just for grown ups! 


In the workshop ‘How to write a pop song’, Habiba took the children on a magical journey of discovering stories to tell and play. A tree popped out of their imagination, they turned the tree into music and the music told a story of green leaves turning brown, gold and yellow, branches leading an adventurous life as autumn fell over the country-side. 


photo: Comify.net - check out the full comic story of this workshop here 


But it’s not only the imagination, the physical element was approached as well. Gigi Biolcati’s body percussion workshops were well attended by the little ones (the littlest was 2,5, the biggest 65). This was not only for the sheer fun of it (although we can’t deny that the Italian Gigi could consider having a career in cabaret on the side...). We’ve never felt rhythms as clear as through his body percussion sessions. 



Ghislaine Ouwehand (11 years old): 

‘It all started on Friday evening with a concert by Deborah Henson-Conant, that was awesome, because she did all those funny things with her harp. She also made lots of hilarious jokes. At the concert, we met Marloes. Marloes had signed up for the intensive course and we were her host family.’ 


‘On Saturday morning, I took part in the workshop ‘write a pop song’, taught by Habiba. She is a Dutch singer-songwriter. Together with the other children we made a song about Autumn.’ 


‘At the expo I even got to sit at a pedal harp, while I am actually playing lever harp! On Sunday afternoon, there was a closing concert with Maeve Gilchrist and Rossitza Milevska. I played in the opening act of the concert, because I took part in the harp ensemble ‘Leidse Harpbreakers’ led by Deborah Henson-Conant. We played Deborah’s Guinness Blues and Baroque Flamenco. It was super nice and I collected lots of autographs. Next Jazz Harp Festival & Academy in Leiden is in 2016, I will be there for sure!’ 


Ghislaine wearing a jazz harp t-shirt joined by her Dad and Marloes 


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