Sylvia Woods Harp Center 
April 2016 Newsletter
SylviaA Personal Note from Sylvia

In the past few months I've gotten back to the project of adding more wonderful music to my website.  You'll now find more PDFs by Robin Fickle, Darhon Rees-Rohrbacher, Barbara Semmann, Ellen Tepper and Carol Wood. Be sure to check out their great selections!

I've also finished adding all of Meg Robinson's PDFs to my site. She is this month's featured composer, and her music is 15% off through the end of April when you use the code word meg.

I hope you enjoy playing this varied selection of music!
Sylvia Woods
RecommendationSylvia's book recommendation
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Big Magic

Recently, a musician friend here on Kauai recommended a book by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the best-selling book "Eat, Pray, Love." This 2015 book is called "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear" . . . and I LOVED it. 

Here's part of what says about "Big Magic:
"...this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives."

I particularly liked her viewpoint that creative ideas have a life of their own, and that they look for receptive people to attach themselves to. Although she writes about inspiration and creativity from the viewpoint of a writer, her insights are valid for musicians as well.  And imagine my surprise when I got to page 186 and she mentioned Celtic harpists!  Here's the quote.

"Everyone is panicking these days, for instance, how much the Internet and digital technology are changing the creative world. Everyone is fretting over whether there will still be jobs and money available for artists going forward into this volatile new age. But allow me to point out that -- long before the Internet and digital technology ever existed -- the arts were still a crap career. It's not like back in 1989 anybody was saying to me, "You know where the money is, kid? Writing!" They weren't saying that to anyone back in 1889, either, or in 1789, and they won't be saying it in 2089. But people will still try to be writers, because they love the vocation. People will keep being painters, sculptors, musicians, actors, poets, directors, quilters, knitters, potters, glassblowers, metalworkers, ceramicists, calligraphers, collagists, nail artists, clog dancers, and Celtic harpists, as well. Against all sound advice, people will stubbornly keep trying to make pleasing things for no particularly good reason, as we always have done."

I highly recommend this book for any musician, artist, writer . . . for any creative person. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Here are 3 reviews of this amazing book:
"Whatever your artistic pursuit, you'll nod in agreement as Elizabeth Gilbert reflects on the elusive, frustrating and sometimes comically strange process of creativity. Thoughtful and funny, Gilbert makes an excellent case for doing whatever it takes to unlock your inner artist and find more joy in life." -- Woman's Day

"The latest from Gilbert is all about you -- that's 268 pages of practical advice for tapping into your own creativity. . . Consider her your own personal life coach." -- Marie Claire

"Big Magic is a celebration of a creative life. . . Gilbert's love of creativity is infectious, and there's a lot of great advice in this sunny book. . . Gilbert doesn't just call for aspiring artists to speak their truth, however daffy that may appear to others; she is showing them how." 
-- Washington Post

P.S. I do not sell this book on my website.  But you can find it on,, or your favorite book store.

arrangerMeg Robinson - Composer of the Month
Meg Robinson 
Meg Robinson is our featured composer this month.  Here's what she has to say
about herself and her music.
My first time composing music, I was six years old, at a piano recital. I was on the stage at the local women's club, in my small home town in North Carolina. I had been carefully coached to head straight for the piano, play my piece -- something to do with butterflies -- and end with a required curtsy. My turn arrived, and I started to play. Halfway through the piece, I realized there was a problem: I had forgotten the ending. I stopped and restarted several times. I remember thinking rationally that if I didn't come up with an ending, I was never going to get off that stage. And so, I made one up. I was relieved but red-faced as I did some warped version of a curtsy, knees apart, toes pointed outward, and got off that stage as quickly as possible.
Fast forward to age 13, when I got my first guitar and started writing songs. It was the folk era, and I was inspired. I also continued studying piano with the strict Mrs. Kreutzer (who never chided me for that improvised recital). I was a terrible sight reader, but I had a good ear. At my lessons I would pretend to sight read my weekly assignments until Mrs. Kreutzer got wise to me, shrewdly turning the sheet music at the wrong time while I continued to "read" the music. My cover was blown.
In college, I started playing and singing in coffeehouses. Then I formed an eight-piece acoustic band called "OverEasy". I arranged the music, played guitar and was the lead singer. We were popular and performed all over campus. About half our repertoire were pieces I had written.
A few years out of school, I wooed my husband on our first date with one of my songs, "Lay Your Heavy Soul Right Next to Mine." We were married eighteen months later. A few years after that we started our family, which soon came to include four little boys. The songs also multiplied, centered on the ups and downs of the lives of children. I adopted the stage name Potomac Red. The past Artistic Director of the Smithsonian produced a CD of these songs called "Wonder If They Know." One of these songs, "Good Stuff" was adopted as a national Girl Scout theme song retitled "A Girl Can Do Anything." It felt a little ironic to be on stage at the Girl Scouts' jamboree, performing the anthem as a mother of four sons!
For years, I wrote songs as part of a political satire production in Washington, DC called Hexagon. They did about 20 original songs each year. For their 60-year retrospective production recently, two of mine were included. I had a short stint as a banjo player (until my family rebelled), although I thought I was pretty good.
Meg Harp Statue
Thirty years ago -- when we first moved into the home in which we raised our boys -- we decorated the front yard with a seven foot high iron abstract statue called "The Harpist." We just liked the sculpture, and at that point, I had no thought of ever playing the harp! But the statue must have had some subliminal effect because, ten years ago (after years with that statue) I decided to take up the harp. My husband, a physician, has aptly diagnosed me as a "Serial Stringed Instrument Player."
My first harp teacher was Astrid Walschot Stapp. She was then the harpist for the Baltimore Symphony. Early on in my studies with her, I would bring in pieces I had written for the harp. Her enthusiasm about my compositions led me to think about getting them published.
Earlier in my career, I did a few years of strategic planning for General Electric. From that experience, I knew that I would need to find the right publisher. Mary Radspinner, owner of Afghan Press, was a major harp publisher. I discovered that she was leading a 25-person workshop at a harp conference. These were brave, new harpists who would play a piece and Mary would critique their playing. While I had only been studying harp for a year, I had a plan.
When it was my turn, I played my first original harp piece without announcing what it was. When I finished, the first question from the other harpists was "What is that piece you just played?" I answered "Falling Snow." The second question followed quickly "Who wrote the piece?" I said "I wrote it." Immediately followed "How can we get a copy of the piece?" Here was the opportunity I had hoped for. I turned to Mary Radspinner who was now on the spot and said "Well, Mary, if you'll publish the piece then I guess they could buy it from you, right?" She agreed and that was the genesis of a long and fruitful relationship with Afghan Press. Mary continues to be a great mentor, editor and publisher of now some 30 of my pieces.
Early on, when just that first piece had been published, I visited Sylvia Woods' store in California. I asked if she would carry that piece in her store and left her with a copy. She had no idea who I was, but being Sylvia, she was warm and encouraging. I knew what an important figure Sylvia was in the harp world, and so I was particularly honored that she started carrying my compositions and has now asked me to contribute to her newsletter.
Over the years, I have had some exciting projects. I wrote a commissioned solo harp piece (The Ballet Interlude) for the Maryland Ballet Theater in which dancers, a harp and harpist are all on stage. I wrote a harp ensemble piece (Dance of the Harps) for the opening of Strathmore Hall, a 1,500-seat concert venue in Bethesda, Maryland. Several of my pieces were included in a short live action film which won multiple awards. (You can see the film by going to I have had some great commissions over the years, both private and through the American Harp Society. I also have coached others in writing for harp, always encouraging them to get their music published. We need to keep the harp repertoire growing!
I never know who is performing my music and in what setting. Perhaps the highlight of my career composing for the harp began with a phone call from someone needing to know my birthdate. When asked why she needed this information, she said it had to be included in a program of an upcoming performance of one of my pieces called Fate. I asked where it was going to be performed. She said "Carnegie Hall." I was flabbergasted. This resulted in a trip to New York see the performance which took place in Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall. It was an experience I will never forget.
Harp is a difficult instrument. My goal has always been to write melodic music that is accessible but sounds a lot harder and more complicated than it actually is. Remember that formative piano recital?? I feel the pain of slogging through difficult music, and want to offer melodic pieces that could be mastered in a relatively short time. And while I think my compositions are designed for the beginner/intermediate player, I am always surprised and delighted to hear about people who use my harp music for weddings, gigs, harp therapy, recordings, and recitals.
Much to my amazement, I continue to receive emails from people around the globe telling me how my music has been a part of their lives. Honestly, that is the greatest gift of all.

-- Meg Robinson 
thisMonthsSaleThis Month's Sale
All of Meg Robinson's PDFs are on sale this month. To get the 15% discount on her PDFs listed below, enter the code word meg in the Promo Code box on your shopping cart page and click "Enter Code" by May 1, 2016. For more information, see the 15% Off section at the bottom of this newsletter.  

A Change in Time - $6.00 - 15% off with meg code
Dance of the Night - $4.95 - 15% off with meg code
Eliana - $6.00 - 15% off with meg code
Falling Snow - $4.95 - 15% off with meg code
Fate - $5.50 - 15% off with meg code
Greensleeves - $6.00 - 15% off with meg code
If Only - $5.50 - 15% off with meg code
Interlude - $4.95 - 15% off with meg code
Irish Coffee - $5.50 - 15% off with meg code
Jody's Jig - $4.95 - 15% off with meg code
Latin Lullaby - $5.95 - 15% off with meg code
Plums - $16.00 - 15% off with meg code
Reflections - $4.95 - 15% off with meg code
Sailing on Strings - $4.95 - 15% off with meg code
Setting Sun - $5.00 - 15% off with meg code
Twilight - $6.00 - 15% off with meg code

Flirtation - $8.00 - 15% off with meg code
Frolic - $9.00 - 15% off with meg code

A Little Angel - $6.00 - 15% off with meg code
Love Forever More - $7.00 - 15% off with meg code

Time to Say Goodnight - $5.95 - 15% off with meg code

Dance of the Harps - $17.00 - 15% off with meg code
Hope - $18.00 - 15% off with meg code

The Ballet Interlude - $14.00 - 15% off with meg code
The Little Purse - $8.00 - 15% off with meg code
Strung Out Rag  - $5.50 - 15% off with meg code
Sylvia Woods Harp Center
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15% off select sale items when you use the code word: meg

Our 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 or e-mail orders. This month's code word is meg and it is good for 15% off the PDFs by Meg Robinson.
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 meg 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 meg in the Promo Code box
and click "Enter Code" on your shopping cart page by May 1
to get the discount!
If you forget, or if you have trouble adding it to your order,
email us immediately .   

Offer expires at the end of the day on 5/1/2016.