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Pre-Gathering Workshops
at the 2018
Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering

MLAG is pleased to present three Pre-Gathering workshops. Though the Gathering proper does not begin until Wednesday, these Pre-MLAG workshops will provide some wonderful options for early arrivals. The workshops will cost $130 per person. You may register on-line for these workshops or use the form below. Please send your check (remember, made out to MLAG) and registration form to MLAG, c/o Michael Poole, 1050 Whippoorwill Lane, Chapel Hill, NC 27517 or call the MLAG Hot Line at 844-994-9939 We will be limiting the maximum number of students in each workshop to twenty so, if you’re considering taking one of these workshops, you should register as soon as you can.

The workshops will be conducted in three 3-hour sessions beginning at 9am on Tuesday, June 19th with location to be determined at a later date. You will be notified prior to arrival. While the campground will be available, the regular meal program doesn’t begin until dinner on Wednesday. Tuesday and Wednesday lunch and Wednesday dinner will be available to all campers, including Pre-Gathering attendees. If you have registered for the Gathering proper and elected to purchase these meals, you are all set. If you are only attending a Pre-Gathering class and want either of the lunch options and/or the dinner option, then check the appropriate box or boxes and enclose the extra money per meal ($11.00 per lunch/$14.00 per dinner — spouses are also welcome) in your check made out to MLAG. IMPORTANT: Gluten-free and vegetarian meals are available by special request. Order and pay for your meals with your normal registration but then you must e-mail Laurie at or call her at 570-452-4057 (leave a message) to make your special meal arrangements. MLAG is not responsible for special meal arrangements. Enclose a separate check made out to MLAG along with your pre-Gathering registration form. Mail all pre-Gathering materials to Michael Poole (address is on registration form). You may certainly provide your own meal as well.

These workshops provide a great opportunity for some hands-on training with three of the best autoharp players and teachers in the world. For at least the next few years there will be a Patsy Tressler Memorial Award. A random drawing from the names of all Pre-Gathering participants (who are registered for the full Gathering) will be made on Wednesday night and one lucky individual will be given a check to cover the cost of the class.

You may either register on-line (when the on-line system is available later this year - watch this space) or download a printable registration package here.

Pre-MLAG Workshops
Tuesday 9-12 & 1-4 • Wednesday 9-12

Beginner (Adam Miller)

Can you really learn to play recognizable melodies on the autoharp in a single two-day workshop? Yes, you can! Adam Miller’s beginners autoharp workshop promises to be one of the most focused and enriching autoharp experiences you’ll ever have. No matter what your level of proficiency – even if you have never played the autoharp before - this informal, in-depth class will significantly improve your musical abilities. It is also recommended for autoharpists who want to boost their melody playing skills and improve their technique on the instrument.

This hands-on workshop allows plenty of time to answer all of your questions and address all of your concerns. We’ll cover purchasing an autoharp, getting comfortable with tuning your autoharp, the use of straps and fingerpicks, techniques for strumming, chording, and picking simple melodies, posture, hand position, and the accompaniment of singing. We’ll break down several right-hand and left-hand techniques that let you learn new tunes better and faster. Build your confidence and your repertoire. Develop your rhythm, timing, fingering accuracy, muscle memory, and dynamics. Enhance your ability to play familiar songs by ear. Learn how to organize your practice time so you find yourself making music instead of excuses. Regardless of your skill or comfort level, you will take home a bushel of new tips, tricks, and tunes to integrate into your playing, and your jamming at the festival.

Songs and concepts are explained through demonstration and by ear, using easy-to-read tablature handouts in the keys of C and F. The reading of standard musical notation is NOT necessary. Recording is encouraged. Instruments will not be provided. Bring your own chromatic autoharp (tuned to the best of your ability), one thumb pick, two finger picks (metal or plastic), and music stand.

One of the sought-after autoharp teachers in North America, Adam Miller has conducted autoharp workshops from the Everglades to the Arctic Circle. Not only is he a gifted and personable teacher, his affable and articulate manner, and lack of pretension quickly puts participants at ease.

“Adam Miller’s beginners autoharp workshop is without a doubt the best and most useful workshop I have ever taken - and I've taken many!” -Marti Knauer, 2015 Southern Regional Autoharp Champion, and two-time, third-place International Autoharp Champion

“Simply put, Adam Miller shows even the best autoharpists brand new things.” -David Van Syoc

Intermediate (Heidi & John Cerrigione)

This nine-hour MLAG pre-gathering class is for those autoharp players (both chromatic and diatonic) interested in strengthening their melody playing and building their repertoire. Repertoire will be considered for different settings, whether it be for festival, bedside, coffeehouse, or a farmer’s market.

Heidi & John will team-teach this class and include a segment on duet playing. They will also explore arranging songs and tunes for performance and culminate with an opportunity for participants to be the autoharp player in the band (Doofus will be on hand). Participants will be provided music (with autoharp chords), and keys will be predominantly G, D, A, F or C. Come and experience an intimate, enjoyable, and encouraging pre-gathering class with Heidi & John!

Intermediate Diatonic: Getting the Most Out of Your Diatonic Harp (Les Gustafson-Zook)

Are you looking for new inspiration to maximize the potential of your diatonic autoharp? This workshop will share new ideas and techniques to explore the variety of voices offered by your diatonic ‘harp. In this nine-hour workshop, we’ll highlight the strengths of the diatonic harp using a variety of styles of fun and beautiful music, from fiddle tunes to hymns to blues to waltzes. We’ll explore the strategic use of open noting, unique diatonic options for accompaniment, focus on accurate picking, and use the ‘harp to create interesting and inventive arrangements to stretch the potential of your diatonic autoharp to its limit. Bring your GD diatonic, as everything will focus on those keys.