A Master-Luthier, a Beloved Friend – Jim Mouradian

Last night I learned that my beloved friend Jim Mouradian died suddenly, while waiting to go on stage for an encore.  My sense of loss was complete.  This man was truly loving, beloved and an incredible craftsman.

I went to the web to try to find more and stumbled on this post in a reddit chat …

… and I just want to go on record that Jim Mouradian DID work on harps – MINE.  I started going to Jim 25 years ago to see if there was a way to retrofit my concert harp with a bass pickup.  I dragged my harp up to his tiny 3rd floor workroom above Cambridge Music and we pulled pickups out of boxes and experimented, and laughed and spent time together pushing the boundaries of the harp physically.

Jim thought outside the soundbox.  He never said, ‘But that’s a harp, not a guitar. I only work on guitars.‘ He treated my harp like it was a member of the guitar family

That first trip was the beginning of a long friendship based on my instruments and Jim’s incredible humanity and craftsmanship.

When I got my first custom-built signature-model “DHC” harp, I took it to JIM to add the finessing touches that the designer left out and then sent Jim’s recommendation back to the designer to incorporate into the next model.

He understood that the instrument had to work for me, the way my body works, the way I perform on stage, and he worked with me to make that happen – grabbing parts from a bank of drawers, trying them out, finding ways to give me more physical freedom with my instrument by finessing the hardware.

See this photo (below?). Before this trip to Jim, this harp was wobbling and slipping off the harness whenever I got physical with my playing.  One trip to Jim and you can see, it’s as secure as if it was part of my own body.  Jim did that.

How can you even put a value on that?  It’s heartbreaking to even begin to think how much we’ve lost by losing Jim.

These are photos from a visit to his new spacious Winchester shop in 2012 with my assistant Beatriz and her daughter Corina to work on 3 of my harps.

It was so wonderful just to be around you, Jim. I don’t know anyone who was more universally loved and respected.  Not just loved … adored.

I already miss you so deeply, Jim.

(And thank you to Beatriz Harley for taking these wonderful photos)

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Warmup Webinars for Strings of Passion

I create warm-up webinars for the members of the “Strings of Passion” program – but YOU get to watch them for a few more days until I hide them away in the “Strings of Passion” classroom next week:

  1. Introduction to Strings of Passion – Learn the 7 core principles of creative expression in Strings of Passion
  2. Inside the Creativity Gym – Gett a peek at the basic workouts in the Creativity Gym at StringsofPassion.com and learn how they work to expand your own creativity. Discover the power of a creativity practice – even if it’s as short as  11 minutes a day – and what you can do in that 11 minutes to enrich your own creative resonance
  3. Meet Your Muse –  In this New Year’s Day session I explain the basic concept of the strings of passion, go through the 7 strings quickly and then take you through a guided creative meditation to YOUR muse — so you will hear the first words your muse says to you in 2017.

Are YOU in Strings of Passion?
A 10-Week Program at ‘Hip Harp Academy’
>> Register Now at StringsofPassion.com <<
Deadline:  Midnight Tue. Jan. 17 EST

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A Message from the Jamlog Collectomatic


My new 10-Week creativity program “Strings of Passion” opened on Tuesday and I  got this message yesterday via the “Jamlog Collectomatic,” an anonymous sharing form I created that lets people share what’s happening with them without having to put their name on it. (You can read more about the Jamlog Collectomatic here)

In addition to the message itself, people tell me how sharable it is (this one was labeled “Aaaggh! I don’t know – do whatever you think is best”) and the type of message was described as “Revelation Inspiration Frustration Message from one of my petty demons and A message of scared love from my fear voice.

So I was already intrigued.  Here’s what it said:

“I have realised that basically the only time I truly show up for myself, my music, my passion and my talent is when I step on stage and I am connecting with people in the flesh.

I feel as if I am channeling something greater that myself and I am connected with my heart and the response is beautiful, with people crying at times feeling touched this is what life is about connecting.

However in my day to day I feel my demons come up so frequently to tell me all the things that could go wrong and I am a bad person and won’t “make it” therefore it is not worth trying as I will fail anyway.

Comparing myself to others and think I will never get there. Forgetting that we all have to stay in our OWN LANE we are all different and unique with different gifts.

Click To Tweet

I have never been ‘good’ at practicing. I seem to knock myself down before I have even started. I find it uncomfortable facing that I am not good at something or find something hard – that I am a ‘beginner’.

I seem to knock myself down before I have even started. Click To Tweet

It has been beautiful to hear you DHC talk about being a constant beginner and embracing this – WOW!

I have come to the harp later on in life and am a real beginner with the harp – however I have been singing and writing songs for years and I feel I have found my instrument but I don’t know how to truly practice and be ‘disciplined.’

I know how to be spontaneous and write songs from the heart and improvise but not so much on demand…

I am feeling overwhelmed and amazed and inspired to be in HipHarp Academy. I know this is the push I have needed for so long but yet the demons are shouting so loud that I will not be taken seriously.

I know this is the push I have needed for so long but yet the demons are shouting so loud Click To Tweet

Deborah you said that beginners were welcome and that made me feel so happy but I start to think maybe I have gone in at the deep end.

I want to be professional as a singer songwriter I have fallen for the harp to accompany me, I know that simple on the harp works so well and this has been my way in and my experience to let my voice sore.

I DO NOT WANT MY DEMONS TO DICTATE HOW I LIVE MY LIFE ANYMORE —– THIS IS A CRY OUT, A PRAYER, A RAMBLE FROM A HEART WANTING TO LOVE AND BE LOVED AND NOT HIDE AWAY … TO SHOW UP FOR MYSELF FOR MY FAMILY FOR MY FRIENDS FOR YOU ALL FOR THE WORLD, IF WE CAN SHOW UP FOR OURSELVES AND FACE OUR FEARS WE CAN SHOW UP FOR EVERYONE AND THEY WILL DO THE SAME!!!!

I do not want my demons to dictate how I live my life anymore Click To Tweet

I am sorry this is not brief it just came out this way and I don’t know how to make it shorter, I hope it is okay.”

===========

Yes …. this is so OK.  And here’s what I know.  When we speak the truth – as raw as we feel speaking it, we are speaking for so many people on so many levels. And when we do show up – even when it’s to share our fear – honestly and directly – we open a door for others.

Thank you, Anonymous.


Are YOU in?
>> Register Now at StringsofPassion.com <<
Deadline to Register:  Midnight Tue. Jan. 17 EST

StringsofPassion.com

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What’s a Jamlog Collecto-matic? (from “Strings of Passion”)


My new 10-Week creativity program “Strings of Passion” opened on Tuesday.  The responses from people already in the program are starting to come in …

Are YOU in?
>> Register Now at StringsofPassion.com <<
Deadline to Register:  Midnight Tue. Jan. 17 EST

The Jamlog Collectomatic is an anonymous sharing form that lets members of my Hip Harp Academy send anonymous responses, to share what’s happening for them as they stretch artistically in my courses. The form is totally anonymous – there’s no hidden cookie or anything on the form that tells me who sent it.

This anonymous form lets that 'secret me' be just one step more open. Click To Tweet

So these arrive like messages from the ether.

This is what the form looks like …

I created it to be anonymous because I find that when I stretch myself creatively, it brings me to very deep places in myself – some joyous, some painful and raw – and sharing these is an important part of the process – but knowing I can share anonymously with someone who will actually read them and not judge what I’m feeling or how I’m saying it or my grammar or spelling – this is important.

So I created a way for members of my programs to share anonymously – and to tell me whether it’s OK for me to share, in turn, what they’ve written – even if I’ve no idea who wrote it.

I made it anonymous because stretching to deep places feels raw Click To Tweet

Why would it matter if these are shared – if they’re anonymous? I can’t put it into words, but I know it does matter.  I know there are times that anonymous isn’t anonymous enough, and I need something witnessed and secreted. There are other times when I want to share but just don’t want my name or initials on it – it just feels too raw.

Later I might feel safe sharing the same thing with less secrecy – but sometimes it’s between me and me. Only I’m OK if other people see it.  So long as they don’t know it’s me.

This anonymous form lets that ‘secret me’ be just one step more open.

In the Jamlog Collectomatic form there’s also a checklist for what kind of message it is — a revelation, a message from one of their petty demons, etc — and many people choose several of those.

Oh … so why is it called the “Jamlog Collectomatic?”  Well, a log-jam is where things get stuck – so the intention of the Jamlog is to get unstuck by logging some of those jams.  And it’s a collectomatic because I was a kid in the 60’s and we had decoder rings and Every-omatic. And it’s pretty automatic, too.


>> Register Now for “Strings of Passion” at  StringsofPassion.com <<
Deadline to Register:  Midnight Tue. Jan. 17 EST

StringsofPassion.com

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Strings of Passion – Feedback is IN. Are YOU?


My new 10-Week creativity program “Strings of Passion” opened on Tuesday.  The Feedback is in …

Are YOU in?
>> Register Now at StringsofPassion.com <<
Deadline to Register:  Midnight Jan. 17 EST

Yesterday I jumped into the private group Facebook page.  Wow!  Here’s what I read (and by the way, the images are from the “Splotch Drawing” workout in the Creativity Gym part of the program)

Stories unfolding, ideas, blocks being tumbled down like kiddie structures…

Man, I have been working through the module for Strings of Passion and I am bowled over by the revelations.

Can you be in love with a musical instrument? Uhm YEP! Six pages of writing tells me that.

Stories unfolding, ideas, blocks being tumbled down like kiddie structures, and colors, feelings, emotions...blah blah blah.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, DHC for the trail-blazing you are doing.

I was “lying” when you first posed the question to your listeners “Do you have passion?” I was only wishing and hoping I did. It feels like waking up to my own artist’s soul after a very long sleep. The passion is the process! [SJB]

It feels like waking up to my own artist's soul after a very long sleep. Click To Tweet

It felt like an inkling of what it would be to play by resonating with the depths of my passion

I am loving dipping into the Creativity Gym so far two days in a row! I love the Sprint Writing as well as the Soundscapes.

Yesterday, I got in touch with my inner hidden child and today I asked my heart to let me know how to get lost in the joy of creating …That’s when the Soundscapes started and though I didn’t attempt to compose anything for real, but tuned into each note and it felt like an inkling of what it would be to play by resonating with the depths of my passion.

It’s just a beginning but so reassuring and inspiring and positive! [C.R.]

It's just a beginning but so reassuring and inspiring and positive! Click To Tweet

It is a relief to not feel responsible for lots of notes – but to listen for how one note resonates!

The soundscapes – A and B – are really fun! Both opened me up to new melodies, one note at a time.

As I moved from note to note, I will admit to listening for melodies as well as the comfort I felt with the individual note that connected to the soundscape chord.

It is a relief to not feel responsible for lots of notes – but to listen for how one note resonates! I do love this idea of a Creativity Gym!

Thank you!!  [M.B.]

I do love this idea of a Creativity Gym! Click To Tweet

Moved and longing and yearning …

Here I go again- I am only FIVE minutes into watching the String of Passion chat replay, and already I feel like crying, I feel moved, I feel inspired and a longing and a yearning…

Deborah, you are such a connector, an inspirer, such a teacher. [B.T]

 

 

 

StringsofPassion.com

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Inside the Creativity Gym REPLAY – A ‘Strings of Passion’ warmup webinar

Are some people just more ‘creative’ than others? Or do they actually practice the art and skills of creativity?  Do they workout their creativity the way other people work out in a gym?

Come take a look inside the CREATIVITY Gym that’s part of my new “Strings of Passion” creativity program.

I’ve been collecting creativity workouts, games and prompts my whole life, and when I started building the online classroom for my 10-week “Strings of Passion” creativity program, I realized that this was a chance to pull them together in a playground … a laboratory … a GYM!

What’s so great about a gym is that all the workout tools are there. You can just walk in, start your workout – and leave when the bell rings.  What’s not so great about the gym is that you have to get there.  But what if the gym was right there in your computer?

With a creativity gym

Watch this FREE live webinar replay to learn about the 7 ’Strings of Passion,’ and to see into the Creativity Gym.


REGISTER NOW for “Strings of Passion” 10-Week Creativity Program
from Hip Harp Academy
The Doors Open Tue. Jan. 10th

Register NOW for “Strings of Passion”

  • HARPISTS:  You get “Strings of Passion” when you sign up for the yearlong “Hip Harp Academy” – just choose the “Harpists Only” option
  • NON-HARPIST? Register for “Strings of Passion” only, just choose the à la carte option
  • GOT QUESTIONS?  Use my Ask-a-Question form

My Favorite Take-Away

I always ask people for their takeaways when I do webinars – because that kind of sharing is what makes group learning so powerful.  Most people share right on the webinar, but I got an email late last night from Remy DeVere, and here’s what she wrote:

My “take aways” are:

1. You are showing us a way to incorporate creativity and creative expression into everyday life.

2. By using exercises to actively engage with creative expression we will learn to engage the “artist within” whenever we feel a need (externally or internally). Whether we are playing our harp or not… as we are the instrument.

3. As we cultivate our “artist within” through exercises and following the course work… the “artist within” becomes the “artist without.”

4. There’s a real spiritual dimension to this… which is great for Winter- as we turn our attention inward to gestate below the surface to emerge stronger in our foundation of what we would like to express.

5. This is going to be so much fun!

No one is going to see me until Spring, lol!

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Exploration #4 ~ Playing with Structure (Strings of Passion)

“You must always look for those strings in life because they are all around. The strings in the sugar water that will bring ideas to them, that will bring people to them, that will be the foundation for the chrystalization of things that are already there. And so to me, the string in the sugar water is the idea of structure…”

The quote above is transcribed from the following video, an excerpt from my “Intro to Strings of Passion” Webinar. To see the full replay, get a free account to my “Hip Harp Academy” FREE level by clicking on DHC-Freebies – then log in and look for ‘Webinar Replays.’

Impulse is the first of the seven strings of passion Click To Tweet

(Transcription from the video above)

… [improvisation with looper] That was the begining of  a lifelong search for me for structure.

In fact, almost all the classes, if you’ve taken  any classes from me in workshops at Somerset or in Hip Harp Academy, almost all the courses that I give online have been up to now about different structures – different musical structures: the basic arrangement structure, the structure of the Blues, the structure of little tiny vamps for improvisation, the structure of pieces that I write. 

That internal structure, once you get it, once you can distill it down, is the thing that gives you freedom.”

Sometimes we lose the creative impulse because there are obstacles in our way. But it's always… Click To Tweet

My new 10-Week online program “Strings of Passion” gives you the principles and practices to turn creative impulse into creative expression. You’ll develop more fluency and expressive richness in every area of artistic performance – including your everyday life – and develop your own daily creative practice.

If you’re a creative … and especially if you play the harp:
>> Register for “Strings of Passion” Now <<


(Thanks to Tess Nurman for selecting, transcribing and compiling these excerpts and to Kaitlyn Burke for turning them into video explorations)

 

 

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Exploration #3 ~ Connecting to our Impulse (Strings of Passion)

The strings of passion – these seven principles – they’re not steps, they’re strings like the strings of our instrument.

And there are seven, just like there are seven strings of each octave of our instrument.

And the point of these seven strings and these seven ideas is to connect us back and forward and in and out and around and through to that impulse

The quote above is from the following video, an excerpt from my “Intro to Strings of Passion” Webinar. To see the full replay, get a free account to my “Hip Harp Academy” FREE level by clicking on DHC-Freebies – then log in and look for ‘Webinar Replays.’

The point of these strings it to connect us in and out Click To Tweet

There are 7 strings of passion, like the 7 strings in each octave of my instrument Click To Tweet

My new 10-Week online program “Strings of Passion” gives you the principles and practices to turn creative impulse into creative expression. You’ll develop more fluency and expressive richness in every area of artistic performance – including your everyday life – and develop your own daily creative practice.

If you’re a creative … and especially if you play the harp:
>> Register for “Strings of Passion” Now <<


(Thanks to Tess Nurman for selecting, transcribing and compiling these excerpts and to Kaitlyn Burke for turning them into video explorations)

 

 

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Exploration #2 ~ Obstacle and Impulse (Strings of Passion)

“Sometimes we lose the creative impulse because there are obstacles in our way. But it’s always there. It’s always there.”

The quote above is from the following video, an excerpt from my “Intro to Strings of Passion” Webinar. To see the full replay, get a free account to my “Hip Harp Academy” FREE level by clicking on DHC-Freebies – then log in and look for ‘Webinar Replays.’

Impulse is the first of the seven strings of passion Click To Tweet

(Transcription from the video above)

“What you just heard a second ago was me giving into an impulse. And impulse is the first of the seven strings of passion.

Impulse. Before we ever desire to be desired,  before we ever long to be heard, we are desiring. We are hearing.

We have the impulse to touch, to be, to do, to speak. And this impulse is at the heart of our personal expression.

As we go through life, it is easy to lose connection to this impulse, either because we forget – now, I just had an impulse there and I didn’t follow it. And the impulse was to sing. [singing:] Sometimes we lose the impulse because we forget. Sometimes we lose the impulse because there are obstacles in our way. But it’s always there. It’s always there.”

Sometimes we lose the creative impulse because there are obstacles in our way. But it's always… Click To Tweet

My new 10-Week online program “Strings of Passion” gives you the principles and practices to turn creative impulse into creative expression. You’ll develop more fluency and expressive richness in every area of artistic performance – including your everyday life – and develop your own daily creative practice.

If you’re a creative … and especially if you play the harp:
>> Register for “Strings of Passion” Now <<


(Thanks to Tess Nurman for selecting, transcribing and compiling these excerpts and to Kaitlyn Burke for turning them into video explorations)

 

 

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Inside the Creativity Gym – FREE Webinar – Sun. Jan. 8

REPLAY IS NOW HERE

I’ll take you inside the Creativity Gym at “Strings of Passion” so you can see the creative prompts, games and workouts I’ve been collecting for decades – and that I’m now sharing in “Strings of Passion”


For More Webinar Replay and Free Trainings from DHC
>> SIGN UP FOR DHC FREEBIES <<

You’ll get an account to the FREE Level of Hip Harp Academy. Then just click on the “Webinar Replays” link or grab the other trainings.


In Inside the Creativity Gym:

1. You’ll get a sneak peek at all the basic workouts in the Creativity Gym at StringsofPassion.com

2. You’ll learn how they work to expand your own creativity

3. You’ll discover the power of a creativity practice – even if it’s as short as  11 minutes a day – and what you can do in that 11 minutes to enrich your own creative resonance

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Tumbling into 2017 – A Letter

Dear creative adventurers,

As I tumble out of 2016, one of my biggest realizations is what it means to ‘finish’ a thing.  My realization is that for something to be ‘done’ it doesn’t need to be perfect – it just need to be ready for the next person to be able to run with it.

The image I had was of a relay race – but not so much a race as a creative expansion. And ‘the next person’ is the one who needs your creative work for their next step of their creative work. In other words, you release your work to inspire, empower and liberate someone else’s creative journey.

What I learned in 2016 is that that’s true for me in every way: as a composer, a performer and a coach.

And to do that I have to embrace the supreme discomfort of passing on imperfect things in imperfect ways.

Know what I mean?

So as I tumble into 2017, here’s how that plays out for me:

  1. Strings of Passion

“Strings of Passion” is about to go live – and by ‘live’ I mean I’m about to open the doors to a new phase of creation in a project I’ve been working on for years.

It started as a speaker-concert program: distilling the core principles of my creative process into 7 strings. And now I’m building it out into a 10-week online creativity course all based on those 7 “Strings of Passion.”

What I discovered in 2016 about “Strings of Passion” is how creative impulse and expression are mirrored inside and outside – and how the interplay creates creative resonance in our lives that we can enrich with concious creative practice.  OK – the power of creative practice to enrich creative expression isn’t new …

But what if I could set up a creative playground or gym that would make it easier to develop that creative resonance?  Ways to work on the inside instrument via the outside instrument — and vice-versa.

That was the principle behind building the “Strings of Passion” program. I thought: what if put all the creative prompts, games and ideas I’ve collected over a lifetime in one place – like, create a gym or a playground or a laboratory – or something that is all three??

What if, instead of hoping to stumble on them over a lifetime, creative searchers – like me, like you – could just go there, click a button and focus on just being creative – using the prompts –  instead of on finding them?

So that’s what “Strings of Passion” is — and the virtual creative gym-playground-laboratory opens January 9th.  It’s my first online program open to non-harpists though this soft-opening of the program is definitely focused on harp players and musicians – with a lot of musical prompts, along with writing, drawing and physical prompts — because my own creative learning has been in theater, dance and writing along with music – and for me, they all enhance each other.

Here’s how you see it and be part of it:

  • Register for “Inside the Creativity Gym” – a webinar that takes you inside the creativity gym at “Strings of Passion” on Sunday Jan. 8 at 3:30 pm EST.  Register for FREE here.
  • Watch an overview of the 7 strings in this Intro to Strings of Passion” webinar
  • Sign up for the 10-Week “Strings of Passion” program right now and get ready to join me starting Jan. 9. The program combines ‘at your own pace’ learning and creative prompt with a live Q&A chat with me each week (which you can watch via replay if you can’t make it) – and at the heart of it – the creative gym … er, playground .. um, I mean laboratory. Register now “Strings of Passion

2. Performing

Honestly? It’s driven me crazy at times these past 3 years that creating a school (see #3 below) seems to take forever — and that my own performing sometimes feels like it takes a back-seat to teaching performing skills. On the other hand, teaching what I do has a profound effect on my relationship to my own performing – and I see that every time I do perform.

As my friend Cherie Magnello once said to me “Isn’t it amazing to realized we can have a powerful affect on ourselves?”

So one goal for 2017 is MORE PERFORMING.  Starting with my first show of 2017 at The Center for Arts in Natick on Feb. 18th (buy tickets now – here – and if you can’t come, but them for your friends in the Boston Area)

3. Learning Takes Time & Community

One of my big revelations from 2016 is that ‘classes’ are not always ‘learning’ – and that real learning takes time and community.

I started creating online courses for harpists in 2013 – but in 2016 I wanted MORE for the students than learning cool techniques – as great as that is. The concepts I teach have profoundly liberated me, because they showed me how simple it can be to use a musical structure to build infinite creative expressions and experiences.

But teaching that simplicity when people are dazzled by the complexities takes time. Time to deconstruct.

I’ve spent a lifetime digging beneath the dazzle of what makes each piece of music different in order to find the profound simplicity of what’s the same.  To teach that takes time and community. Students need to be with other students who are learning – you need the perspective of others’ ahas and takeaways – and you need to see the same basic principles played out in many different ways in order to be able to identify them and play with them.  This is part of what makes ‘a school’ way more effective than ‘a class.’

So in 2016 I made the commitment to turn my courses into a school. That meant creating a year-long curriculum.  It meant putting the curriculum all under one roof in an online campus – and making a decision that people need to join the school in order to work with me. So in October, 2016 ‘Hip Harp Academy” was born and now I think it might be a pre-teen (HipHarpAcademy.com)

I took this same concept to my top-level creative coaching: This deeper commitment to learning also meant turning my 1-on-1 creative coaching into a yearlong group mentorship, and in 2016 my “Harness Your Muse” program became a ‘mentored mastermind’ – which means that I am the mentor and the group of 12 artists work together as a creative mastermind – giving both support and witness to each others’ creative projects.  You can see some of those projects  in this post.

What you can’t see in their projects is the power of the group – their support of each other.  Witnessing that support has been one of the most moving parts of creating this powerful, intimate community.  I’ve been incredibly moved by working with these each of artists and so proud of what they’ve each accomplished – from the shows they’ve debuted to the huge strides they’ve made in their own creative expression, and the powerful courage they’ve showed in stepping up to their fears — but nothing has trumped watching their support and inspiration of each other .

If you’re a creative artist, learn more and apply to the program at HarnessYourMuse.com .

4. Golden Cage ~ Baroque Flamenco

I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like there’s something you’ve working on your whole life — but I’ve been working on my 2-person musical/operetta “The Golden Cage” for 40 years now. I’ve produced it, rewritten it, produced it, rewritten it (see the beginning of this post, about being ‘done’ … yup, this is a challenge, for sure).

I spent a huge portion of 2016 on more rewrites, working with a script coach, a creative support group, readings in NYC with my long-time musical buddy Paul Gordon — and it’s now ready for a series of readings in the Boston area.  Right now I’m just looking for the right actor/singers – and this is where I’ve had two huge revelations:

  1. Finding the right actor-singers feels like an impasse – and I’ve often hit this impasse before. It was the impasse at which  I’ve said on many project, “Oh screw it! I’ll just perform it myself” – it’s why I’ve created so much solo work, including entire multi-character stories with symphony orchestra that I can do myself. This lifelong frustration has been the impetus for a huge body of my creative work – so it’s been a profoundly fertile struggle. On the other hand … I want to move through it this time!
  2. Working on this same story for 40 years I am awed at how much more relevant the story is to me as I unpeel it – and that reminds me yet again of how rich the creative process is, and how much it gives to the artist.

Meanwhile – my concerto Baroque Flamenco just seems to have a life of its own. It’s being performed by more and more harpists with more and more orchestras – it’s like the polar opposite of the “The Golden Cage” — it truly does have its own life now — and more and more I just try to keep up with who’s performing it where.

That is pure fun.

5 … Let’s talk about it later

 … then there’s the election.  But how about we don’t talk about that right now?

So … here we go, my friends, my fellow adventurers — tumbling into the adventure of 2017.  Me? I look forward to living and sharing one of my favorite quotes, from Jerzy Growtoski: “Don’t do more … hide less.”

How about you?

love,

DHC

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Strings of Passion ~ Exploration #1 ~ I Work with Impassioned People & Where’s the ‘Self’ in ‘Self-Expression’?

“In any ways that I interact with other people, I love to work with impassioned people. I love to learn from impassioned people, I love to talk to impassioned people, I love to play with impassioned people – like you. And as a coach and as a mentor, I love to help you find the way to express yourself with your instrument.”

The quote above is from the following video, an excerpt from my “Intro to Strings of Passion” Webinar. To see the full replay, get a free account to my “Hip Harp Academy” FREE level by clicking on DHC-Freebies – then log in and look for ‘Webinar Replays.’

so often we're not aware of who we are and what we have to express. Click To Tweet

My new 10-Week online program “Strings of Passion” gives you the principles and practices to turn creative impulse into creative expression. You’ll develop more fluency and expressive richness in every area of artistic performance – including your everyday life – and develop your own daily creative practice.

If you’re a creative … and especially if you play the harp:
>> Register for “Strings of Passion” Now <<


“If you’ve been in any of my classes, you’ve heard me say this over and over and over again, because that’s what’s so important to me. I’m not thinking about your technique – sometimes a little bit to help you because technique is only there to help you express yourself. But I don’t care how big your harp is or how big your hands are or how long you’ve played or all of that. I just care about your passion and your self-expression. And that’s great! I mean, that’s what’s important to me.

But do we all know, do we all have that connection to that self? Do we know what that self is? Do we know how to make that connection?

Someone wrote to me just recently about that and said, ‘You know, I love all this stuff  but I don’t know where that self is. I don’t know who that self is. I don’t know how to find that.’ And I was so moved by that because that is what Strings of Passion is about. It is about finding that connection to that you, even if you think there’s nothing there. And so often we’re not aware of who we are and what we have to express.”

It's about finding a connection to that 'you,' even if you think there's nothing there. Click To Tweet

(Thanks to Tess Nurman for selecting, transcribing and compiling these excerpts and to Kaitlyn Burke for turning them into video explorations)

 

 

Posted in Coaching, Teaching, Students & Learning, Creativity, harp, Online Courses, Projects, Strings of Passion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What tunes do YOU want to hear at my next show?

My next LIVE performance is in the Boston area, on Sat. Feb. 18, 2017 at TCAN (The Center for Arts in Natick, MA)! Show info & Link to Buy Tix HERE!

I’m already putting together my set list for the show, which will include some newer tunes, some that I’ve never played at a LIVE performance!

So I started a new playlist at my YouTube Channel of the songs I’ll be playing called “DHC Live” that includes these tunes: Sous Chef, Brubecker, The Happy Song, and The Giving.

You can CLICK HERE or click the play button on the video image below to watch.

What tunes do YOU want to hear at my next LIVE show? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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Happy Little Monster

Don’t do more … hide less.

This is what my pirate buddy Karen Montanaro reminds me all the time, though I always forget who she’s quoting, and then she reminds me its Jerzy Growtoski.  (“How will I ever remember this?” I asked her yesterday.  “You don’t need to,” she said, “Just remember me and I’ll remind you.”)

So I’m unhiding Happy Little Monster.

Drawing makes me happy.  No.  Scratch that. I make myself happy when I draw.

At the museum of Fine Arts last night, I was marveling at how an artist would spend hours, days – (years??) – capturing one millisecond, a single gesture.   What would make them so hungry to do that??   I mean, I get it.  I spent years learning to orchestrate, writing and rewriting a piece for the moment of experiencing a single moment.  I do that over and over again with music.  I know the experience I want to create and I’ll keep working ’til I create it, no matter how long it takes.  Not because I’m

But the beauty to me of sketching is that it’s so easily begun and done. Finished! It’s so easy to tell when I’m about to ruin it by adding more.  The sketches are so irrelevant to any sense of taking responsibility for my artist’s work in the world, and they so easily enhance my experience of being in the world.  It’s just fun. I watch what emerges. I cover my walls with these personalities.  I love them.

I think – but I don’t know – that this is what tells me I am not a visual artist. I draw for fun. I put pencil – or even pen to paper (yes! that’s how much it doesn’t scare me!) – personality emerges, and I’m delighted.  Seriously – I delight myself.  I never try to get ‘better’ unless I decide I want to try to draw a new animal, and then I work at it until it’s good enough to satisfy my hunger to see character and personality emerge – until it makes me laugh.

And that’s all that matters.

It’s part of my enjoyment of myself.  The artistic expression for myself.  Meaning nothing about me except that I delight.

 

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I Stand up for You

I stand up for you
you who did not find the partner who supports you
and i mean your spirit, your heartbroken longing to sing out loud
in your own voice

I stand up for you
you, whose tiny glories pale as you see other glories gloried
you, who could never say “I have no regrets”
who sometimes wonders ‘is there anything BUT regret?

I stand up for you
who makes the wrong turn
who says the wrong thing
a thousand times
and false starts
thinking ‘how could I have made this same mistake again???’
am I anything BUT a mistake-maker???

I stand up for you
and clap my hands
slowly,  surely
an audience of one

I stand up
looking straight in your eyes
and I say to you

Encore!

Posted in Random Thoughts | 3 Comments

Meet Your Muse – for the New Year 2017 – A ‘Strings of Passion’ warmup webinar

It’s time to meet YOUR muse for 2017 …

Watch this FREE live webinar replay to meet YOUR personal muse for 2017, then start the journey of creative expression in ’Strings of Passion,’ my 10-week creativity program where you learn to play with your authentic creative expression.

REGISTER NOW for “Strings of Passion” 10-Week Creativity Program
from Hip Harp Academy
EARLYBIRD ENDS MIDNIGHT JAN. 3rd (Tomorrow!!)
SAVE $100 when you register RIGHT NOW at

>> StringsofPassion.com <<

==> HARPISTS:  You get “Strings of Passion” when you sign up for the yearlong “Hip Harp Academy” – just choose the “Harpists Only” option at http://www.StringsofPassion.com – and YES the $100 discount works for the full yearlong program as well!  Just make sure you sign up now!

==> DON’T PLAY THE HARP? Register for “Strings of Passion” only, just choose that option on the Strings of  Passion Info Page.

IN THIS WEBINAR REPLAY from New Year’s Day – I give you the first step to connecting with your strings of passion, the creative resonance that brings the most authentic ‘you’ to everything you do.

During this live-webinar-with-music, I explain the basic concept of the strings of passion, go through the 7 strings quickly and then take you through a guided creative meditation to YOUR muse — so you will hear the first words your muse says to you in 2017.  Then you’ll hear me read the words these muses say (actually … you’ll hear me SING them!) – and answer questions from the live attendees.

Enjoy this adventure into YOUR creative expression!  And I can’t wait to see you in “Strings of Passion” — the FIRST course in my FULL year-long Hip Harp Academy.

Got questions?  Just use my “Ask a Question” form  or, just hit “reply” and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Posted in Harping & Harpists, Harps, Hip Harp Academy, Strings of Passion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Frog at the Piano & a Little Mozart at Midnight

One of my commitments to myself this year is simply to release – to share the countless tiny expressions that sit in binders and journals, like dried flowers.

So here is my frog at the piano. He’s singing “Way Down Upon the Suwannee Ribber” with longing … and some regret.

Last night my best friend, Celeste and I re-enacted one of our favorite games from college:  playing Mozart Symphonies on piano-4-hands on the beautiful grand piano I got in 2016.

We never got past the Jupiter – Symphony 1.  We considered the others but the Jupiter has the advantage of having no sharps or flats – at least in some parts.

We played it three times, well past midnight with me furiously counting out loud.  Sometimes we even hit the right notes – and other times broke into laughter so hard we couldn’t go on.  The game has always been to simply start and end together – and whatever happens in the middle  … is just whatever happens in the middle.

My big revelation of the night was “Wow – you can actually just play what’s written on the page and the music comes out – you don’t even have to know what’s there.”

And that … was an excellent New Year’s Eve.

 

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Strings of Passion Intro ~ Webinar Replay

So many people asked for the replay of this ‘Strings of Passion Intro’ webinar that I’m putting it here in my blog for people to watch.  It gives an overview of the 7 Strings of Passion – the foundation of my new 10-Week ‘Strings of Passion’ creativity program that starts in early January.  Please add your takeaways in the comments below.


Register NOW for the full 10-Week “Strings of Passion” Program

Register NOW for “Strings of Passion”

  • HARPISTS:  You get “Strings of Passion” when you sign up for the yearlong “Hip Harp Academy” – just choose the “Harpists Only” option
  • NON-HARPIST? Register for “Strings of Passion” only, just choose the à la carte option
  • GOT QUESTIONS?  Use my Ask-a-Question form


REGISTER NOW for “Strings of Passion” 10-Week Creativity Program
from Hip Harp Academy
The Doors Open Tue. Jan. 10th

Register NOW for “Strings of Passion”

==> HARPISTS:  You get “Strings of Passion” when you sign up for the yearlong “Hip Harp Academy” – just choose the “Harpists Only” option

==> DON’T PLAY THE HARP? Register for “Strings of Passion” only, just choose the à la carte option

Got questions?  Just use my “Ask a Question” form  or, just hit “reply” and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Posted in Coaching, Teaching, Students & Learning, Strings of Passion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Join Me FREE: New Year’s Day (and meet your muse)

It’s New Year’s Eve. Let me ask you something:

Does 2017 feel like a new beginning … or the beginning of the end? 

OK … now take a deep breath.

Whatever’s happening on the OUTside, INside is where you start changing your world – and the world around you.

The first step: Meet your Muse. Do it New Year’s Day in this free webinar.

Whatever's happening on the OUTside, INside is where you start changing the world Click To Tweet

If you’re feeling like the world has become perilous, think about this: how does that affect your creative expression? Do you even feel like you are connected to your true creative expression any more??

Are you letting what’s happening on the ‘outside’ affect how connected you are on the inside? When we feel insecure, it can completely disconnect us.

Or …

What if you could connect to that still, small spark inside you? You know it. You’ve felt it. YOUR spark of inspiration and wonder.

What if you could do it every day? What if you had a safe place of wonder, and creative discovery? What if you had a creative GYM where you could meet with your muse and work out each day – even if you had just 10 minutes – 10 minutes to connect YOU to YOU. And then pour that into your creative expression – into your music, your art, your writing – in everything you do each day?

That connection to your deepest, purest creative impulse is the resonance of YOUR ‘Strings of Passion’ and why it’s important for me to share everything I know about it in 2017. You know your creative experience and expression is what makes your life truly RICH. You know it’s right there inside you waiting. And … you know ‘life’ gets in the way. You lose that connection. It happens to everyone.

But you can make a choice to connect to yourself.

Join me New Year’s Day for ‘Meet Your Muse‘ – It’s a free training for – harp players, non-harp-players, musicians, artists, writers, creative seekers – on the first step to reclaiming the deep power of connection to your creative expression, the first step to making 2017 the richest creative experience of your life.

Meet Your Muse on New Year’s Day

Take the first step to reignite your spark. Register for FREE. Don’t worry, if have New Year’s Day plans already, you’ll get a replay link. And yes, Yes, YES – you’re invited whether you play the harp or not! This is about connecting to YOUR creative spark – whatever that spark illuminates.

==> Register FREE for ‘Meet Your Muse (on New Year’s Day)’ here <==

Creativity is about CONNECTION … not PERFECTION

Share this free workshop with your creative friends on FACEBOOK

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Meet Your Muse on New Year’s Day ~ A Free Creativity Webinar

Join me NEW YEAR’S DAY for a free online creativity workshop where you’ll start the new year by meeting your life’s greatest creative ally: YOUR MUSE.

“Meet Your Muse (on New Year’s Day)”
FREE Creativity Webinar with Deborah Henson-Conant

Sun. Jan. 1, 2017 –  12:30 pm PT • 3:30 pm ET • 8:30 pm London
Share this event on Facebook

>> Register NOW for FREE <<

Do you wish you had a MUSE?  Someone who fills you with passion, who leads you to LIVE your truest creative life?

Do you long for THIS YEAR to be the year you finally connect to your greatest creative expression?

Well, you do have a muse – and that muse is inside you, waiting to show you the way … waiting for YOU to show up.

You just don’t know where to look … yet.   I’ll show you in this FREE online workshop warmup for my 2017 “Strings of Passion” program.

  1. You’ll meet your personal muse – your inspired self who speaks to you from the depths of your first creative impulse.
  2. You’ll learn what you can do to FOLLOW your muse on the journey to YOUR deepest and most authentic creative expression.
  3. You’ll hear the first words your muse says to you in 2017. The words that tell you what YOU need to do next to make this year the one you finally connect full-on with your own creative expression.
  4. You’ll get a sneak peek at each of the core principles of creative fluency in my brand new 10-Week “Strings of Passion” program debuting in January 2017 – and a creative worksheet to help you meet your muse over and over.

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