Jan teaches both lever and pedal harp and attracts students from the entire southeast as well as Central Florida. Students travel on a regular basis from Gainesville, Merritt Island, Rockledge, Lakeland, Clearwater, Ormond Beach, Port Orange, Deland, and throughout Florida to study with Jan. She requires all students to learn standard classical harp repertoire and theory, but she also teaches arranging and improvisation.
Several of Jan’s students (Lillian Langford, Emily Toelcke, and Haley Rhodeside) have been finalists in the national competition of the American Harp Society. Only a handful of contestants are accepted to compete after submitting audition tapes and the competition is judged by harpists who are considered at the top of their field. The repertoire is demanding and the standards are extremely high.
Jan’s student of nine years, Haley Rhodeside, tied for first place in the International Young Artist’s Harp Competition in Rabun Gap, Georgia, in 2008. She also won first prize in the seventh annual Space Coast Pops Young Performing Artist Competition in June 2003. She won second prize in the statewide Mt. Dora Young Artist Competition in 2005, and was a concerto contest winner with the Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra in 2007 and 2009. She majored in harp and graduated from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in 2012, studying with the renowned harpist and teacher, Susann McDonald. Subsequently, she earned a masters degree in harp at Yale. She is now the principal harpist for the Annapolis Symphony.
Haley, and five other students, Lillian Langford, Jennah Moulton, Emmy Rathgeber, Emily Toelcke, and Deborah Wendt, have been prize winners in harp in the Young Artist Competition at Rollins College, Winter Park, FL. Emmy won first prize in the strings division in 2009. She was also a finalist in the International Young Artist’s Harp Competition in Rabun Gap, Georgia, in 2010. Emmy went on to earn a degree in harp performance at Florida State University with Mary Brigid Roman. Jennah Moulton earned an honorable mention in the 2012 Space Coast Pops Young Performing Artist Competition. Deborah Wendt won second prize in the Advanced I division of the 2012 Midwest Harp Festival in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Another student, Kaila Geisinger, won first prize in the Intermediate II division of the harp competition at the Midwest Harp Festival in July, 2010, and first prize in the Advanced I division in July, 2011.
Jan Jennings studied harp for seven years with Marie Mellman Naugle in Harrisburg, PA. Mrs. Naugle was a student of Marcel Grandjany. The technique that Jennings teaches is the French method. Although classically trained, Jan also excels at playing “pop” and improvising. Her solid technique and improvisational skills led her to win first prize in the Lyon & Healy International Pop & Jazz harp competition in 1988.
|I am so grateful for the suggestions you gave me at the recent private lesson [at the Beginning in the Middle Seminar] on how to improve my harp technique. I can already see and hear a difference!”
|“I can’t even begin to thank you for everything you’ve done for me these past four years. You really turned me around as a musician. Had it not been for your constant effort and encouragement, I doubt that I’d still be playing today.”
|“Thank you, as always, for your tremendous impact on Lillian. I can’t imagine her accomplishing what she has without your marvelous skills as a teacher and mentor.”
Mary Kay Langford (mother of Lillian Langford)
|“I feel so fortunate to study with you. You are the best musician I have ever known and a great teacher! You are patient, but demand excellence.”
|“Thank you for all that you have done to help me play the harp better. I really like having you as my teacher because you make me feel like I am always playing for a performance. Thanks again for your thoroughness, enthusiasm, and willingness to give of yourself to benefit others.”
|“I am very grateful to have a teacher like you.”
Altamonte Springs, Fla.
|“…you were my first real inspiration on the harp. Thank you for all that you taught me through high school and for the foundation you provided…had it not been for you and your teaching me, I probably wouldn’t be here.”
Graduate, master’s program at Florida State University
|“I never would have gotten this far without you. Thanks!”
Merritt Island, Fla.
|“After only a few months with you, my joy playing the harp has increased tenfold…you have a special talent for teaching and sensing how to encourage me without overwhelming.”
Daytona Beach, Fla.
|“Thank you again for all that you taught Alyssa. I have truly seen her grow in her music and she will always think of you fondly and as the teacher that everyone else must compare to. We both know that is a high standard.”
Mother of Alyssa
|“I feel totally honored to have the opportunity to work with you! You really are the best!”
Dayle Olson Merritt Island, Fla.
National and International Events:
Jan is also sought after as a teacher for national harp events. She is quoted as a harp teacher in a new book, “SIGN ME UP! The Parents’ Complete Guide to Sports, Activities, Music Lessons, Dance Classes and Other Extracurriculars,” by Stacy DeBroff, published by Simon and Schuster.
Jan has presented workshops, master classes, concerts, and private lessons at the following events:
Florida Summer Harp Seminar, Winter Park, FL (1994)
Harpfiesta, American Harp Society Southwestern Regional Conference, Houston, TX (1997)
Lyon & Healy International Jazz & Pop Harpfest, Pacific Grove, CA (1997)
Beginning in the Middle harp seminar, Williamsburg, VA (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2013)
International Society of Folk Harpers & Craftsmen national conference, Galveston, TX (1998)
Beginning in the Middle West harp seminar, Santa Rosa, CA (1998)
Professional Perspectives harp seminar, Orlando, FL (1999)
Florida Harpers and Friends Workshop 2000, Ormond Beach, FL (2000)
Harp in Sacred Liturgy conference, Huntington, NY (2000)
Somerset Folk Harp Festival, Somerset, NJ (2001, 2004)
American Harp Society national conference, St. Paul, MN (2002)
Lyon & Healy International Jazz & Pop Harpfest, Salt Lake City, UT (2004)
June Harp Escape regional mini-conference, Ft. Myers, FL (2005)
Eastman School of Music, Practical Harpist seminar, Rochester, NY (2005)
Lyon & Healy Teacher’s Conference, Chicago, IL (2006)
Harp Feste at St. Gregory’s, Boca Raton, FL (2007)
Lever Harp Teacher’s Symposium, Boiling Springs, PA (2007)
Midwest Harp Festival, Tulsa, OK (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
Harper’s Ferry Getaway Weekend 2007, Harper’s Ferry, WV
State Street Academy, one day seminar, Harrisburg, PA (2008)
San Jacinto Chapter/AHS, one day seminar, Houston, TX (2008)
Chinese Harp Association, biannual conference, Shanghai, China (2010)
Temple University, one day seminar, Philadelphia, PA (2010)
Piedmont Chapter/AHS, weekend seminar, Mocksville, NC (2011)
University of Redlands Summer Harp Camp, Redlands, Calif. (2011)
World Harp Congress international conference, Vancouver, B.C. (2011)
Southeastern Harp Weekend, weekend seminar, Asheville, NC (2011, 2013)
Ball State University, one day seminar, Muncie, IN (2011)
HarpArts Retreat, guest artist, Helen, GA (2012)
New Orleans Jazz & Pop Harp Weekend, New Orleans, LA (2012)
Harp Journeys, Houston, TX (2013)
Summer Harp Academy at Lake Junaluska, NC (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Naples Harp Festival, Naples, FL (2015)
In addition to private lessons Jan presents programs at elementary schools.
Here are samples of the students’ artwork: