Apprentices are engaged in a rigorous course of study, attending classes on every day save restdays. An apprentice is expected to take his or her studies seriously — those that do not invariably either leave voluntarily or are placed in jobs around the hall or hold which suit their temperaments and abilities.
This does not mean to say that an apprentice is locked up all day in stuffy classrooms. Assignments often require an apprentice to interact with the outside world, either through performance or other projects which may involve the hold or other crafts. There are also rehearsals and recitals, debates, teaching workshops, and the occasional gather and restday. Also, while excessive drinking is discouraged, apprentices and senior harpers alike often find jollity in the Hold's tavern.
Apprentices don't, generally, have the freedom to travel around as they please. There are classes to worry about, and all leaves of absence must be approved prior to any trip. This includes trips around Ista — to the weyr, or Gar, for instance. However, apprentices are often sent as messengers or on business with journeymen or masters, so there is plenty of opportunity to get out. If a long absence occurs without the approval of a senior harper, it is cause for a review of the apprentice's performance and, depending upon the gravity of the situation, punishment may require that the apprentice be expelled from the craft.
Because of the focus needed to complete a successful apprenticeship, apprentices are forbidden to engage in romantic relationships. This does not stop some, who sneak out and tryst in Hold gardens or who pass notes in the passages of the Hall. It must never been done in the open, however, for while the occasional date may be overlooked by the senior harpers, anything more than that is cause for confinement to quarters and, worse yet, a good long lecture on dedication to the craft and the importance of study.
To hold the rank of Journeyman means that the harper is capable at his/her craft and is mature enough intellectually and emotionally to be a responsible teacher and/or diplomat. As such, a journeyman may follow any of a number of courses.
Teaching a hold's children is one of a harper's primary skills, and is a common job for a harper to seek. Lessons are taught every day save on restdays, and encompass the entire education of the children until such time as they seek apprenticeships or jobs of their own. A journeyman in such a position is always on the lookout for potential harpers, and will often take in an apprentice or two, who may eventually be sponsored to the Harper Hall by that journeyman.
Another suitable job for a talented harper is that of assisting a Holder in various diplomatic, legal, or secretarial tasks. A harper may mend rifts between a Holder and his or her allies, or may keep records of various sorts, or may help plan a strategy for the betterment of the Hold. Many positions are also found within various crafthalls, or in the weyrs, either teaching, serving as archivists, artists, recorders and designers. Some journeymen will remain at their own crafthall, helping as assistant teachers while they continue their own studies.
A journeyman has a considerable amount of freedom, equal to that of any adult. They will find jobs for themselves, bargain for their salary and lodgings, they may perform legal and binding ceremonies, may act as witnesses and may be called upon to resolve disputes. They are, of course, free to travel and associate as they wish, and are responsible for their own actions.
Journeymen are expected to relay matters of import back to the Masterharper or to their local senior Harper, and are under the authority of the Harpercraft rather than the authority of their Holder or employer.
Masters will perform any and all of the duties that a journeyman will, the difference being in a higher degree of education and skill. They may command a higher salary from their employer, and may hold a senior teaching position within a Harper crafthall.
In order to achieve a Master rank, the harper must be extremely dedicated to the craft and to his or her studies. The mastery exams are enough to mellow even the most vivacious journeyman, it seems, which must be why all the apprentices think the masters are so dull. In fact, it is not unusual for a journeyman to sit for the exams two or three times before being passed or giving up. Because of the required fortitude, there are many highly skilled journeymen who will never achieve mastery. The decision to take the exams is one which the harper alone must make for him or herself.
A master may be chosen to serve as the Masterharper, if elected by the other Masters.