School of Magical Strings

Summer Harp Camp

Come to Harp Camp on Magic Hill and explore your love of music on Magical Strings’ beautiful five-acre home on the Puget Sound. Harp Camp is intended for musicians of all experience levels. Whether you are a true beginner or have been playing for years, at Harp Camp you will get the chance to connect with music and nature as a part of the Magical Strings family.

July 26th to 28th

Harp Camp Students

Learn the Harp or Dulcimer

At Harp Camp, we teach people of all backgrounds and experience everything from basic fundamentals to expression, ornamentation, and fluidity on the harp or hammered dulcimer. Instruments are available for rent or purchase if you do not yet own your own instrument or if you would like to experience the sound and feel of one of Philip's instruments hand-built right here on Magic Hill!

Harp Camp Students

Classes and Tutoring

Harp Camp is taught by Philip and Pam Boulding who have been performers, teachers, composers, recording artists and harp builders since 1978. Combined with the help of five assistants, Harp Camp provides both class and individual tutoring to help attendees learn and grow. The instruction will combine specific pieces with individual learning objectives so that all students walk away from each lesson with new skills.

Classes and Workshops

Beginning Harp

Getting started with basic exercises and a simple Celtic tune.


Traditional and innovative techniques for ornamentation, arranging chords, back-up playing, and techniques for improvisation and creating new compositions.

Historical and Wire-Strung Harps

The 17th century Irish harper/composer Turlough O’Carolan not only played a wire-strung harp, he also played a pivotal role bridging the old and the current musical styles of his time during a dramatic turning point in Irish history. We’ll cover techniques for playing and damping on wire strings, and delve into an exploration of the Three Moods of Music from ancient Ireland.

Hammered Dulcimer Basics

We are pleased to include the hammered dulcimer again, with emphasis on dynamics, expression, ornamentation, and fluidity.

Ensemble Playing

Integrate the harp and dulcimer for playing both in duets as well as in various combinations with other instruments.

Maintenance and Repair

An informal overview presented to cover all questions related to the contruction, maintentance, and repair of the harp and hammered dulcimer.

Harp Circles around the Fire

We will gather each evening in the pasture around the fire to play music, tell stories, and maybe learn some Irish dance steps!


Frequently Asked Questions

When is Harp Camp?

Harp Camp goes from July 26-28 (Friday to Sunday). Arrival and registration begins at noon on Friday, and the last session ends at 2 pm on Sunday.

Where is Harp Camp?

Magic Hill, Magical Strings’ own beautiful 5-acre home on the Puget Sound, overlooking Colvos Passage. Participants may camp in the pasture near the studio, or make reservations at nearby B&B’s and motels in Olalla, Purdy, Gig Harbor or Port Orchard.

Who can come?

Beginners and experienced alike with a desire to explore a unique and intimate relationship with the Celtic harp and hammered dulcimer. Harps and dulcimers will be available for rent or purchase.

Who is teaching?

Philip and Pam Boulding: performers, teachers, composers, recording artists, and harp makers since 1978. Five assistants will also be available for 1-on-1 tutoring.

Are workshops subject to change?

Yes, workshop topics are subject to change based on the needs of our participants.

What is the cost?

Harp Camp is a total of $315 with a non-refundable $50 deposit to reserve your place (full balance is due by July 1st). This covers the entire weekends’ activities and supplies, a music notebook, and includes gourmet vegetarian meals. Provided meals are a dinner on Friday, one main meal on Saturday, and a Sunday brunch. Snacks, tea and coffee are also available throughout the weekend.

Can I rent an Instrument?

Absolutely! Instrument rentals are available for $35 for the weekend. If you discover you love your instrument and never wish to let it go again this fee can be applied toward the purchase of it!

Do I have to be able to read music?

Not a single note! Our emphasis is placed on learning by ear, but music notation will be provided as well.

Will I be able to have my own practice space?

Yep! Everyone will have opportunity for private practice. We work extremely hard to meet the individuals needs and attention of every participant throughout the weekend.

How do I get to Harp Camp and Magic Hill?

Directions to Magic Hill and a detailed schedule of events will be mailed to all registrants upon receipt of deposit and registration form. We are located 15 minutes from the Southworth ferry dock (via Vashon/Fauntleroy), and 25 minutes from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (via highway 16).

Where do I stay?

There are beautiful sites in our pasture and wooded areas for camping, with nearby access to water. Small cookstoves are allowed. There is also limited parking for camper vehicles. Please call or email to reserve. For those who prefer not to camp there is a B&B half a mile up the road and many other accommodations in the Gig Harbor/Port Orchard communities.