About my teaching ...
I had my first taste of what a teacher could achieve when I studied with Kathleen Bride at the Manhattan School of Music, New York. I was a shy Welsh girl, who arrived in America to develop her playing, her confidence and, undoubtedly, expand her horizons. Ms Bride was a student of the renowned harpist Marcel Grandjany who, when asked “What is the correct way to play the harp?”, replied with “... to play it well”. This struck a chord with me, and has really been the foundation of my teaching and playing ever since. Ms Bride also encouraged me to find my own artistic voice. I will be forever grateful for her guidance, patience and faith in me.
When I returned to the UK I knew that teaching was something I wanted to explore and "... to do it well”, alongside my performing work. Through many years of research and thirst for improvement, I have developed my own teaching style and approach. Every pupil has their own path to take, and I feel very privileged to help them on their journey.
For nearly 30 years I developed a thriving Harp Department at the Royal Northern College of Music, directed the Young Harps project and formed the RNCM Harp Ensemble (see RNCM MEMORIES page here ). I now teach privately in Manchester and Lincolnshire, and offer lessons via Zoom for beginner to advanced pupils.
It’s always a joy to be invited to lead harp workshops. Recent ones include for the Edinburgh International Harp Festival, Harps North West, Transpennine Harps, Retreat to the Harp, the Clarsach Society and Harps at Harpenden. Further afield, I’ve been invited as guest tutor for festivals in the USA, Denmark, Sweden, Greece, South Africa and Iceland.
I am passionate about giving everyone access to the best tuition from the start, and I regularly offer opportunities to perform. The Labyrinth Harp Ensemble was launched in August 2022 and will give its first performance at the Harp on Wight International Festival. It will feature players from all walks of life who deserve their time on a stage.
My pupils have been selected for the National Children’s Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Scotland and Wales. They have won prizes at the Camac Harp Competition, Hong Kong Harp Competition, Scots Trad Music Awards, the Royal National Eisteddfod and are regularly invited to perform at the World Harp Congress.
Get in touch if you have always wanted to try a harp or wish to develop your playing further. My online Zoom sessions mean that you reduce time travelling to lessons and they can be fitted around your own schedule and time zone. Currently I have students all over the UK, Europe and in New Zealand!
You can also book a Power Hour. These are one-off sessions on any topic you want to focus on. Examples include: Technical Revamp, Exam Courage, Preparing for Auditions, Career Advice, Confidence Boost.
My aim is to encourage, guide, challenge, develop, inspire — always teaching with honesty and integrity.
Some students have written thoughts on my teaching. Here are their words:
“Eira’s teaching is truly insightful - on the harp and on life! Match her dedication and you will thrive!”
Celia - Graduate Sheffield University
“I always look forward to my lessons with Eira. She is very friendly and approachable and is always encouraging. I really enjoy the combination of refining and consolidating pieces while also developing a strong technical base for all aspects of harp playing.
Eira also genuinely cares about her students. She regularly checks on how I’m doing outside the world of harp, with particular emphasis on my mental health, ensuring that I take regular breaks and my practice is effective and not overwhelming!
I feel very lucky to be taught by such a knowledgeable, accomplished and caring teacher.”
Heather - Junior RNCM student (age 15)
“Eira’s musicianship and knowledge make her an inspiring teacher. She is practical, encouraging and empathetic, but also challenging and thought-provoking - it’s fun working with her!”
Maureen - adult student taught on Zoom
“Eira slows you down! I came to her by way of a nightmarish express train of panic, speed and confusion. I alighted into an oasis of calm and tranquillity, where time stretched out again and there was space to breathe and consider. A place where every note could have its moment and be revered for its individual beauty and meaning. A place where the music could be welcomed back.
Thank you, Eira! Above all you are a lovely person, whose wide-ranging lessons are full of interest, fun and endless patience!”
Sarah - adult student taught on Zoom
“Eira wasn’t only my harp teacher; she became a friend. She made me feel at home by being so open and gentle. She’s a very enthusiastic person. Her way of teaching is so interesting. It opened up a new world to me. She definitely made me a better harpist by believing in me and giving me the advice that suited me as a person.”
Eva - RNCM International Student from Belgium