Sylvia Woods Harp Center
May 2015

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Sylvia Woods Harp Center logo
newA Personal Note from Sylvia Woods

This month I talked to several customers who were confused about which products at are available as printed music, and which are available as PDFs.  I know that some of you love the printed music, and others love the ease of printing their own music through the PDFs.  So I thought I'd spend some time clarifying how this all works on my web site.

In general, all of the music that I personally have written or arranged is available as both printed music and as PDFs. 

With a few exceptions, music written by other people is available either as printed music or PDF downloads on my web site . . . but not both. 

The easiest way to tell which version you're looking at on my site is to look for the red PDF logo on the product photo.  If you see that logo, you're on the PDF version.  You'll also see a sentence at the beginning of the explanation on the product page saying that this is the PDF.  If there is no PDF logo on the photo, you're on the printed version.

John DenverIf the product is available in both versions, it will give you more information on the product page.  Here's an example.  Check out the printed version of my John Denver book.  A little way down the page, you'll see a sentence bordered by red saying: "Want it now? This music is also available as a PDF download."  And if you click on that link, it will take you directlyJohn Denver PDF to the PDF version.  Once you get to the PDF version, you'll notice that the PDF icon is on the picture of the cover.  And the first sentence says: "This product is a PDF download of the printed music book John Denver Love Songs arranged by Sylvia Woods."  If you click on that link, it will take you to the printed book page.

As I mentioned above, most of the music by other composers and arrangers that I sell is available either as printed music OR as a PDF . . . but not both.

If you've been scared to order a PDF . . . don't be!   Try it, you might like it. You don't have to pay any shipping, and you get instant gratification of being able to start playing the music right away.  All you need is a regular printer attached to your computer.  It is fun, fast and easy! 

As always, if you have any questions, I'm here to help!

teacherSomerset Folk Harp Festival    
What are you doing this July????

As I mentioned in the February newsletter, this July I will once again be attending the amazing and awesome Somerset Folk Harp Festival in New Jersey.  You can save $100 with Early Bird Registration if you sign up before May 15.  So make your plans and register today!

The Somerset Folk Harp Festival has always been my FAVORITE festival, convention, or camp.  If you play the lever harp, I highly recommend that you join us in Parsippany, New Jersey from July 23-26, 2015.  I'd love to meet you in person.

Here's my schedule.

On Thursday, July 23rd,  I'll be one of 4 performers at the 7:30 concert, along with Tristan LeGovic, Alfredo Rolando Ortiz, and the duo of Grainne Hambly and William Jackson.  (Did I also mention that I'll be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award during the concert?!?!)   There will be a reception following the concert.

Friday at 3:30 I'll be presenting a workshop on Figuring out Fingerings
"Do you avoid buying music that doesn't have the fingering markings included? Do you have music that you have never learned because no fingerings are marked? Do you "not have a clue" about how to go about putting fingerings in a piece? Although fingerings are sometimes personal preference, there are some simple rules that Sylvia will share with you to help de-mystify this task. The whole class will work on fingering a variety of harp patterns, so please be sure to bring a pencil to this workshop. Bring your harp to work on the fingerings, or you can just play "air harp". Once we're done, you'll have the confidence to learn all those un-fingered pieces sitting under your music stand."

Friday night after the concert I'll be one of 13 composers and arrangers who will be offering a "By Request Music Tasting."  We'll each have our own room, and we'll play any of our arrangements that you'd like to hear.  So, if you've been putting off purchasing some of my music, because you don't know what it sounds like, or how hard it might be, come visit my "tasting" and make your requests.

Saturday night I'll be hosting a table at the delicious banquet from 5:30 to 7:00.  Some of the other hosts will be Kim Robertson, Sunita Staneslow, Tristan LeGovic and Robbin Gordon-Cartier.  Here's some of what the Somerset website has to say about this event.
"Join your friends and colleagues at a sumptuous meal catered just for the Somerset harp community. Stop. Relax.  Connect with old friends and get to know the new friends you've made.  We'll have tables that will be hosted by popular presenters and performers.  Check out our vegetarian-friendly menu.  Tickets $45: must be purchased in advance."

Most of the rest of the time, you'll find me at my booth in the Exhibit Hall, selling my books, sheets, and other fun things.  The exhibit hours are:
Friday 11 am-7 pm, Saturday 11 am-6 pm, and Sunday 12-3 pm.

That's my extremely busy plan, so . . . what will your schedule be????

Check out the Somerset Folk Harp Festival website and start making your own schedule today.  There will be over 100 workshops for players of all levels, presented by 37 harp players from around the world.  Some of these greats include:  Grainne Hambly, Deborah Henson-Conant, William Jackson, Alfredo Rolando Ortiz, Kim Robertson, Sunita Staneslow, Angi Bemiss, Rhett Barnwell, and many, many more!  Don't miss this opportunity to schmooze and learn from the best of the best.    

Early-bird reservation ends on May 15, so be sure to register today!  
P.S.  Several of you have asked if you can get a private lesson with me during the festival.  Unfortunately, my busy schedule won't allow that.  However, remember that you can get a personal lesson with me through Skype at any time!
sheetsBooks and Sheets Back in Stock     


For those of you who like printed music, some of our favorites are now back in stock.  Check out these classic best-sellers. They are currently only available as printed music, not as PDFs.

Angel by Sarah McLachlan, arranged for harp by Paul Baker
Clocks by Coldplay, arranged for harp by Matt Mayberry
The Complete Carolan Songs and Airs Book and CD
          arranged by Caitriona Rowsome

Lever Drill book by Denise Grupp-Verbon
Pedal Drill book by Denise Grupp-Verbon

Trouble Shooting Your Lever Harp by David Kolacny

Please note:  these books are NOT included in the 15% off Laurie Riley sale. 
  SchoolLaurie Riley  


This is the 10th installment highlighting the composers and arrangers whose music is available through   This month we're featuring Laurie Riley.  Here's what she has to say about herself and her music.    


Most of my earliest memories were of music-making. Music was the soundtrack of my family's life. My brother and sister and I sang together formally and informally; I played several instruments, and had my first professional gig at the age of ten. I spent my teens and early adulthood playing concerts and music festivals.  

In about 1977, at a venue in New York State called the Towne Crier, I first saw a lever harp. It was being played by Sylvia Woods, with a wonderful group called Robin Williamson and His Merry Band. (I was on tour with the band Frostwater, and we were the warm-up act.) Playing the harp looked so complex that I assumed I would never be able to do it.

But play I did. I got instruction from Kim Robertson, Chris Caswell, and Sylvia. My first solo tour was in 1986. In 1987 I met harper Michael MacBean and we toured together for the next ten years.

Double-Strung Under Chris Caswell's influence I played both wire-strung and nylon-strung harp, and acquired a triple-strung harp as well, but none of these did everything I wanted. My friend Liz Cifani (Chicago Lyric Opera harpist) and I used to discuss at length our various harps and what we wanted to achieve with them, and we decided there should be a harp with two rows of strings and two sets of levers. We each asked a few harpmakers to do this, and though some said it could not be done, Triplett and Stoney End took up the challenge, and the designs they came up with have since influenced other harpmakers. Liz and I named these "contemporary double-strung harps". They became my specialty and, though I teach several types of harps, my concerts are on double. There are videos in which I play three sizes of double-strung harp on my website at

Harper's Manual In 1988 I wrote The Harper's Handbook (now re-titled The Harper's Manual), which became a staple in the lever harp world. It's a handbook of information every harper needs: how to practice, how to choose and maintain a harp, traveling with a harp, ergonomics, harp history, performance skills, teaching skills, and much more.

Body Mind and Music Many other books followed: Body, Mind and Music; several books on therapeutic harp; books of music for beginners, intermediates, and advanced players, and also books for double-strung harp, and two books of my compositions. Dusty Strings had me do a series of instructional DVDs: Play the Harp Today (beginner), Beyond the Basics (intermediate) and Secrets of Celtic Style.

In about 1987 I started leading workshops on injury prevention and pain relief for musicians. Back then this subject was not being addressed, and I'm glad it has become mainstream now. Currently I train people to become Certified Music Ergonomists, so they can teach this essential information to others.   


In 1991, my father became gravely ill and was not expected to live. What happened in the following week as I played at the hospital for him and for other patients was inspiring to me and to the hospital staff. Back then, music was unheard of at the bedsides of the very ill, and training programs didn't yet exist. I decided to learn everything I could about this phenomenon. I had an extensive medical background (yes, I'd had a life apart from music), and combining that with being a professional musician allowed me to say yes when I was later asked to co-create a training Play the Therapy Harp program for bedside musicians. The Music for Healing and Transition Program (MHTP) was created by Mary Radspinner, Maryann Schulz, Martha Lewis and myself. Among our students were Stella Benson and others who went on to become trainers themselves. Meanwhile, other programs grew simultaneously; it was a calling whose time had come. After retiring from MHTP I also created the Clinical Musicians' Home Study Program. Both programs are accredited.   


Harping with Handicap My 2011 book, Harping with a Handicap came about as I was teaching students with various physical issues who wanted to play the harp.  I've consulted and worked with students on each of the issues in the book, and they don't have to prevent you from playing!  This book is geared to both students and their teachers, to help them get the most out of playing the harp, despite their individual challenges.  


Some years ago I did some geneology research, and discovered to my surprise and pleasure that my mother's ancestors, the McGraw clan, were the hereditary bards to the Irish king Brian Boru's descendants, the O'Briens. So . . . harping is in my blood. I certainly can't claim it gave me any edge skill-wise, but I am certain that to some degree genetic memory gave me a passion for playing.  

It's been a long and rewarding career, and now I get to watch younger harpers come to the fore. I'm currently writing a series of articles called "Harping as we Age" for the Folk Harp Journal. Besides lessons at home and on Skype, I also write a popular blog to provoke thought and enthusiasm, and to inspire musicians at all skill levels.

What I love most about teaching harp is seeing the lights turn on when a student focuses on doing their best. I love seeing the level of harping skill rise as new players take the ball and run with it! And I'm thankful for the family of harpers around the world who, because we share a common passion, are able to support and encourage each other. 


-- Laurie Riley  


To get the 15% discount on the following PDFs (listed below), enter the code word riley in the Promo Code box on your shopping cart page and click "Enter Code" by May 31, 2015. For more information, see the "Save 15%" section at the bottom of this newsletter.   
productsPDFs by Laurie Riley

 Double-Strung Harp for Beginners
by Laurie Riley
and Beth Kolle



A double-strung harp is a harp with 2 parallel rows of strings. This meticulously crafted book by Beth Kolle and Laurie Riley covers the basics of playing this special type of harp.  


Even though this book assumes the reader is a beginner, it does not cover note-reading. It is filled with short exercises, pieces, and excellent descriptions and drawings which explain the unique sounds this instrument can produce.  


It focuses on placing, echoing, rolled chords, crossing over and under, scales, wandering thumb, and more.  


All of the tunes have variations using methods unique to the double-strung harp.  

127 pages.


This book is for DOUBLE-STRUNG harps only. Please do not buy it to use on a "regular" Celtic, folk, lever, or pedal harp.


 Regular Price: $26.00
Newsletter Sale: $22.10
 The Double-Strung Harp
by Laurie Riley
and Beth Kolle

The Double-Strung Harp  


The double-strung harp, consisting of two parallel rows of strings, has gained popularity over the past 20 years. Beth Kollé and Laurie Riley have done an immeasurable service to the world of the harp in the writing of this book. Besides the 15 pieces arranged for the double-strung harp, the book also includes valuable instructions on double-strung harp history, harp techniques possible on a double strung harp, doubling melodies, dividing melodies in half, overlapping chords, setting levers for accidentals, getting your hands working, repeated notes, left hand exercises, two-handed exercises, and getting used to looking at the strings.

The pieces include original, Celtic, classical and Christmas selections. There are chord symbols, but no fingerings. Most are in the keys of C or G (1 sharp). Some pieces require lever changes. For intermediate double-strung harp players.


This book is for DOUBLE-STRUNG harps only. Please do not buy it to use on a "regular" Celtic, folk, lever, or pedal harp.


 Regular Price: $22.00
Newsletter Sale: $18.70
 Advanced Double-Strung Harp
by Laurie Riley

Advanced Double-Strung  


 In this book, Laurie has arranged three of her favorite and most beloved compositions for early advanced double-strung harp players.
Sedona Light is a 6-page solo in E minor (1 sharp) with full chords, rhythms marked with accents, and meter changes. La Tierra Roja is a four page solo in E minor (1 sharp) with rolled chords, 2-finger glisses, and a Spanish flavor. You set 2 D# levers before you begin, and these change several times within the piece. Saguaro is a full 6 page solo. It has a catchy melody with a Spanish flavor. It begins in the key of G (1 sharp), and modulates to D (2 sharps) for a while, and then back to G. There are also a few D# lever changes. Saguaro is also presented as a fun duet for 2 harps. Harp 2 can be played on a single strung harp. The music is nicely notated, and easy to read. There are no fingerings. The PDF is 37 pages, including 32 pages of music.


This book is for DOUBLE-STRUNG harps only. Please do not buy it to use on a "regular" Celtic, folk, lever, or pedal harp.


 Regular Price: $15.00
Newsletter Sale: $12.75
 Play the Therapy Harp
by Laurie Riley

Play the Therapy Harp  


Play the Therapy Harp is a combination of many modes of the beginning harp experience. It gives the person who is curious about the harp, or just starting, a taste of many basics. It is a reference book for basic music theory, it has several very good exercises, several etudes, and finally original repertoire. This original repertoire is not necessarily easy. Fingerings and brackets are well marked, but they require a solid background in technique. All music is in the key of C, so no sharping levers are needed.  36 pages. 


This is not a method book, but more of an introduction and reference book that you'll come back to at many stages of your playing.  

 Regular Price: $15.00
Newsletter Sale: $12.75
Composed in Heart
Here is a really wonderful book of Laurie's fabulous compositions. The pieces are in the keys of C or 1 or 2 sharps, and one piece has a B-flat. Some of the pieces are 5 and 6 pages long, and only a few  require lever changes. There are no fingerings. All of the music is arranged for solo harp, and there are also arrangements of Tune it or Die and Saguaro for 2-harp ensembles. The last few pages of the PDF consist of notes on the tunes. Now, for the first time, you can enjoy playing Laurie's delightful music! 

This PDF is 95 pages, including 80 pages of music.
Product #p7730
Regular Price: $25.00
Newsletter Sale: $21.25
 Music Box Waltz
by Laurie Riley

Music Box Waltz  


This fun waltz composed by Laurie Riley really does sound like a music box. It is in the key of G (1 sharp), with no fingerings. The range required is only 21 strings, or 3 octaves, from the C below middle C up to a B, so it will fit on most small harps. There are no lever changes required. For advanced beginner to intermediate players.  


This PDF includes 2 pages of music.. 


You can watch a video of Laurie playing this piece  

on the product page on our web site.   


 Regular Price: $5.00
Newsletter Sale: $4.25
Body Mind and Music  
  Music effects the body/mind, and the body/mind of the player affects the playing of music. Laurie Riley discusses our cultural relationship with music, how the brain learns it, how we practice it, how we perform it, how we listen to it, how we teach it, and finally, how it is used in purposely therapeutic ways. This is a revised and updated edition (2010) incorporating the addition two of Laurie's previous books: Nothing Less Than Your Best and The Art of Teaching.
Regular Price: $22.00 Newsletter Sale: $18.70 
Harping with Handicap  

This important book by Laurie Riley is invaluable for students dealing with a handicap, as well as their teachers. It includes ideas for: Harping with a Tremor,
Harping with Double Vision,
Harping with Dyslexia,
Harping With Impaired Depth Perception,
Harping Without Sight,
Harping with Chronic Pain,
Harping with Arthritis,
Harping with Scoliosis,
Harping with Fewer Fingers
Harping with Weak Arms
Harping with One Hand,
Harping with a Prosthesis,
Harping in a Wheelchair,
Harping in Bed, Harping with Hearing Loss, Harping with Tone Deafness, Harping When You Can't Keep a Beat, Harping with Memory Loss, Harping with Cerebral Palsy or MS.

Regular Price: $10.00 Newsletter Sale: $8.50    
Harper's Manual  
  This book is an invaluable resource for harp players at all levels of skill. Laurie shares a wealth of insightful knowledge gained from her extensive performing and teaching career, combined with her thorough research into harp-related injury and discomfort. In addition to practical advice, much of the material deals with what goes on inside a player, since a large part of playing music involves feelings, experiences, and attitudes. It includes: buying a harp, caring for & tuning your harp, practicing effectively, the teacher / student relationship, playing by ear, playing styles, conquering stage fright, using a sound system, traveling with your harp, presenting yourself, and much more. This book also includes sections on preventing and correcting chronic harp-related injury.
Regular Price: $22.00 Newsletter Sale: $18.70    
Expressive Playing  
  In good instrumental music there is much more going on than just the notes and the rhythm; the musician creates an image through music, letting it tell a story that affects the emotions of the listener. This is musical expression. This book by Laurie is a great resource for teachers and harp players at any level. Subjects include: Making the Most of Your Skill Level; Tone Manipulation; Melding Technique and Expression;

Expressive Imagery;
and much more!  


Regular Price: $10.00 Newsletter Sale: $8.50    
Start Healthcard Music  

This book is about approaching and working with clinical institutions to include live music in their patient services, and how to structure such services. Information is presented with the assumption the reader is a certified healthcare musician or a medical professional.

  This PDF is 37 pages.

Regular Price: $14.00 Newsletter Sale: $11.90 
Composing Healthcare Music  

This is a reference book; not a music book. The text is for all musicians who feel the call to use their music for the good of those in need.

Topics covered are what makes certain music therapeutic, elements of composition, the categories of patients for whom music is helpful, and also contains information on training programs.  


This PDF is 33 pages.



Regular Price: $13.00 Newsletter Sale: $11.05  
codeOur newsletter promo codes are only redeemable on-line, and can only be used for the products featured in the sale section of this newsletter. They are not valid for phone, fax, e-mail, or in-store orders. This month's code word is riley and it is good for 15% off PDFs by Laurie Riley.


Here's how to get your newsletter discount at 

#1. Put the items you want to purchase in your cart. 
#2. On the page where you view the items in your cart, type this month's code word riley in the "Promo Code" box, and click on "Enter Code."
The actual price of the featured sale products on this page will then automatically change to reflect the discount. You'll also see a note below the Promo Code box saying the name of the promo code you entered, and the percentage amount of the discount.  


REMEMBER:  you must enter the this month's code word riley in the Promo Code box and click "Enter Code" on your shopping cart page by May 31 to get the discount!
If you forget, or if you have trouble adding it to your order,
email us immediately.  
Offer Expires: May 31, 2015
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