Brazilian Jazz Harp Immersion 

@ Uaná Etê, Brazil 

upcoming edition: July 19-29, 2018 

first edition: July 5-15, 2016 



Contact us: 




Our dear hosts 


Mountain harping (Sabine after awakening the improv senses with the PIM students - Project for Integration through Music) 


PIM students playing harp history game 


Felice teaching Kurt to play the harp! 


Sunrise walk #1 


Percussion class 


Kurt's Corner halfway the hill 


Our youngest participant 


Ricardo teaching basslines & more.. 


Kurt's Gramophone Sunny Sunday Session 



"A huge Muito Obrigada to Brenda, Sabine, Kurt, Cristina and Ricardo for all their hard work to make last summer's jazz immersion  

a reality. We were at Cristina and Ricardo's beautiful retreat center in the country outside Rio. The people were all so friendly, the food incredible, and the vibe one of sharing and an intense love for music of many genres-jazz, blues, and of course, Brazilian music styles.  

We began early and worked all day and sometimes into the night! So much music and instruction jam packed into the ten day course! The performances were amazing and the special guests that Cris and Ricardo invited were very inspiring. We enjoyed every minute spent in Brazil and the students learned so much and we all had an incredible experience of friendship and music!" 

- Felice Pomeran

Brazilian Jazz Harp Immersion 

19 - 29 July, 2018 


Join us at the beautiful Uaná Etê Music Garden for a life-changing jazz harp experience! 

Second round of the Scholarship Challenge closing on April 15! 


Quick links: 

PDF brochure 

Registration form 

Payment link and Additional participant info form (for after registration) 

How to join the Scholarship Challenge - PDF download 




Imagine a beautiful retreat in the Paraíba River Valley, rolling green hills and a temperate climate, in the Atlantic forest, only two bus hours from Rio de Janeiro…  

You are at Uaná Etê Music Garden


In this magical place, harpists from all continents will get together and immerse themselves in the world of jazz, with a special focus on Brazilian Latin Jazz.  


Guided by an eclectic faculty of local specialists and international jazz educators, you can explore the basics (and secrets...) of jazz or further expand your jazz harp abilities, with a special focus on bossa nova and samba in the very place where its root rhythms originated over 200 years ago. 


The faculty for this edition includes, Park Stickney, Deborah Henson-Conant, Cristina Braga, Ricardo Medeiros, Kurt Schwab and others. 



Sunrise walks: Every morning after breakfast, we awaken the senses with a one hour Atlantic-Rainforest-inspired outdoors session, often involving walking combined with another physical focus (rhythm, voice, etc.). 

Theory: freshly fueled up with oxygen we proceed with theory classes; There are 'brain gymnastics' type classes, also covering 'the stuff you just got to know', as well as lessons on how to transfer that theory to the harp. 

Bootcamp! Kurt's pedal workout (and lever for the fearless), much loved and feared at the same time, a must for modulation mastery. 

Melodic Workout, Bassline Workout & Percussion Class: specialized workouts, taught by a saxophone player, a bass player, and a percussionist. 

Focus area group lessons: in the afternoon, it is time to work on a selection of songs and subjects, guided by jazz harp specialists Cristina Braga, Park Stickney and Deborah Henson-Conant. They all have their own focus and style and every group will get sessions with each of them. 

Play-along: a very important aspect of playing jazz concerns playing with other musicians, defining one's role, communicating with other players, etc. We are working on this in guided play-along sessions with recorded bands as well as with live musicians. 

Sundown Jam Sessions: to put your play-along learnings into practise, and just have a good time together, we're holding some informal jam sessions. 

Kurt's Gramophone: former Jazz Harp Academy attendants will know - nothing beats sitting back with your ears open and being guided through the jazz repertoire by Kurt with his vast record collection, his wit and infectious enthusiasm! 

Dancing: now let's shake things up - there are classes on Brazilian Dance, enabling you to really feel the rhythms that you're learning to play. For learning/watching even more music&motion heritage, we're inviting Capoeira dancers and a Jongo Dance group.  

Singing: for those looking to improve their singing, there's a facultative singing class. 

Private lessons: the course even includes 30-minute private lessons. We will try to accomodate requests for teachers of choice, but will advise as well. More private lesson time can be purchased separately and is, of course, depending on availability. 


And, to relax, enjoy and absorb even more jazz & Brazilian Cultural Heritage, how about a Picnic or a Brunch at the Pool, the Open Fire Circle of Jazz Wisdom, and not to forget: a Fundraiser Lindy Hop Ball! 



We expect to form 3 groups by level (experienced beginner, intermediate, advanced). While each level group may get their dedicated teachers for subjects like jazz harmony, all participants get to do focus group lessons with the 3 distinctive jazz harpists to take profit of their various insights, and more general classes like rhythm class and jazz listening will be done all together, or sometimes in different constellations. 


*the above information is intended to give you an idea about the course setup, however it is not an absolute and guaranteed overview. 



A selection of pedal and lever harps will be provided (to share). 



Uaná Etê is a true retreat, where the outide and inside are very much connected. You will spend quite some time in the open air (probably even some harp classes!). 

The various buildings are connected with walking paths, and offer space for lessons as well as lodging. Guest rooms are shared (mostly 3 beds and a bathroom). The layout of the premises provides enough private space, while the generous atmosphere is one of sharing and friendship. 

Breakfast, lunch and dinner will all be prepared and served on-site. 



From abroad, plan to travel to Tom Jobim ;) International airport in Rio de Janeiro. We will organize a van for transport from the airport to the retreat and back. In 2016, the cost was about 60 Brazilian Reais each way per person, and you can expect a similar amount this time. This is far easier and cheaper than taking a taxi from Rio or going by bus. In the weeks preceding the course, we will gather everyone's flight arrival information and determine the best time and place for the van to leave from the airport. 

Whether you come straight from home or you are travelling already, as long as you plan to be at the airport on the 19th in the morning and not fly out until the 29th in the evening, you should be fine to join our organised transport. 


The region where Uaná Etê Ecological Garden is located, the district of Sacra Família, is known for being very peaceful, and recently published as the safest region in Brazil.  




Most importantly, tuition includes over 50 hours of lesson and sessions,

  • the use of available instruments, lodging & meals for 10 days!
  • It does not include travel, and alcoholic beverages;) 



    A series of scholarships will be available, ranging from US$200 to US$500.  

    Here's how to join the Scholarship Challenge: BJHI 2018 Scholarship Challenge info.  

    We cannot yet say if there will be more than 1 round of scholarships. Better get at it while you can, the deadline for this first (and maybe last) round is March 1, 2018! 

    Furthermore, we strongly advice you to look into possible local grants and donations yourself, and we will try and provide any information and documents you may need to support your application. 


    Fees & payment 

    We offer the following fee structure and payment arrangements: 


    Early Bird:  

    - register by Feb 15, 2018 or join the Scholarship Challenge* 

    - total course fee after US$270 discount: US$1700  

    - a monthly payment plan will be proposed according to the date of registration (or deduct $25 and pay at once). 


    Full registration: 

    - register before June 1st, 2018 

    - total course fee: $1970 (US Dollar) 

    - downpayment $970, then 1 x $1000 (July 1st)  


    *All Scholarship Challenge participants get to profit from the Early Bird rate until 5 days after the results are published, but do send us a note at to let us know you're working on it! 


    Which payment method to use best depends on where you are located (EU, North America, South America, Asia, Australasia...). See registration form for more info. 



    Ready to join? Welcome!! Please use this form to register. 



    With any questions, please don't hesitate to email us at (your message will reach Sabine Meijers and Brenda Dor-Groot @ the Jazz Harp Foundation, as well as Cristina Braga). 


    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 


    2016 GALLERY 


    The pictures on this page are from the first edition of the BJHI, in 2016. The faculty that year included renowned Brazilian harpist & singer  

    Cristina Braga (host), eminent jazz harpist Carol Robbins, Berklee College  

    of Music harp teacher Felice Pomeranz, Latin jazz expert and bass player Ricardo Medeiros, and the Jazz Harp Foundation’s education crew, with saxophone player & jazz education expert Kurt Schwab, and harpists and JHF founding board members Brenda Dor-Groot and Sabine Meijers. 


    PIM - Project for Integration through Music 

    On July 7-9, 2016, we had the pleasure of hosting the young harp pupils of the local PIM Institute (Project for Integration through Music). They had their own mini-immersion, improvising and swinging it with 3 days of playful lessons by Sabine and Brenda. With many thanks to their teacher Rayana do Val, and to Camac Harps for their support. Here's a small video report: 





    The incredible location of the retreat in the Atlantic Forest near Rio 


    Intro gathering 


    Felice teaching outside 


    PIM students hopping the pentatonic scale 


    PIM students swinging performance! 


    Immersion students past-performance with Harpy Little Big Band 


    Dancing with the Capoeira group 


    Back to serious theory stuff 


    Pre-GPS positioning by listening to the sounds of the forest 


    Private lesson in Kurt's Corner 


    Top of the Hill 


    Lindy Hop Ball! 


    Deep forest walk with dear friends 


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