Deborah Henson-Conant

Telling stories with music at HipHarp.com

got-questions-i-got-answers-FBboostable

“Summer Harp Jam” starts July 11th!

A 6-Week virtual summer camp for harp players – lever or pedal, from fledgling to professional – that gives you a treasure chest of jams, vamps and play-alongs that strengthen your improvisation and rhythm skills while you’re having FUN!

REGISTER NOW


You Got Questions? I got Answers!

I get a lot of questions from people about my online programs, especially if they haven’t taken a course with me before.  So in this post I’m answering some of the questions I’ve gotten about “Summer Harp Jam” – as well as standard questions.


Q:  How do I join?

A:  REGISTER NOW at: Summer Harp Jam http://www.harpjam.com. There are 2 options:

  1. You can sign up for a year of Hip Harp Academy and have access to ALL the online courses I offer, including HipHarp Toolkit, Blues HarpStyle!, and Strings of Passion, just to name a few… OR
  2. You can sign up ‘a-la-cart’ for just ‘Summer Harp Jam’

You can learn more about both options HERE

Q:  Can I get a ‘taste-test’ – I’ve never been in an online course, is there a way to just see how it works?

A:  YES!  I created a special little course that you can take for free.  It’s called “HaRpy Birthday” and it’ll give you a taste of my teaching style. Just sign up for DHC Freebies. That gets you a “Free Level” account at Hip Harp Academy. Then just look for the “HaRpy Birthday” icon and you can take that mini-class to see what it’s like to work with me online.

Q:  What time is the class?  When do I have to be there? I’m worried I’ll have to get up in the middle of the night?

A:  No worries – you can take the whole Summer Harp Jam, at your own pace.  Everything is recorded and many people prefer to never come to the live parts. They only watch them afterwards via replay or download the MP3s and just listen and play along. The ‘jams’ are recorded usually on Sundays at 2pm EDT if you want to come live, and I try to get the recordings online within 24 hours. There’s also a lot of additional warm-up material that’s opened each week on Thursday.

Here’s what the “Summer Harp Jam” Schedule looks like each week:

  • THURSDAY:  A new “Jam Sequence” is opened and students can go thru the warm-up materials if they want to – but they don’t have to
  • SUNDAY (usually at 2pm EDT): I record the new Play-Along jams LIVE – and usually about 25%-30% of the students enjoy being at those live. The others prefer to watch via replay. Students can ask questions during the 2nd part of this live session, and if they can’t be there live, they can send questions in advance
  • MONDAY: The recording of the jam is posted so students can watch it at their own pace, download PDF “Playsheet” and the MP3 to keep on their computer or MP3 device
  • ANY TIME: Students can connect via the private Facebook Group and ask me questions via the Facebook Group and/or my “Ask a Question” form

I built the “Summer Harp Jam” course so it can work both for people who want to just have a low-pressure summer play-along AND for people who really want to dig in, invest a lot of time and learn all the rhythms and riffs.  The program works fine either way – it’s just your choice.  You can just enjoy the jams, or you can spend as much time as you want with the rest of the learning materials.

Q:  Will I learn to improvise in Summer Harp Jam?

A:  Yes!  Summer Harp Jam is all about learning to JAM.  To make that easy and fun, the whole program is based on small chord sequences that you’ll find in lots and lots of music.  You’ll learn to improvise on solo harp, to play with others and how to use these sequences for intros, interludes, endings and improvisations — using rhythmic styles or rubato so you can use them for contemplative or therapeutic improvisation.

Q:  Do I need a Looper Pedal to take the program?

A:  No!  All the jams are recorded so you can play-along with them! BUT if you’re interested in looper pedals you’re in luck because one of the BONUSES you get with the program is my “Looper Lesson” video that gives you the basics of what to look for in a looper and how to start using it.

Q:  Will I have to do homework?

A:  TaDa!  No homework in this program!  This program is all about PLAYING ALONG so I’ll encourage you to play with the course audio … or with your friends … as much as you can.  And there will be jams that you can do with friends who aren’t even musicians — like a jam to play with someone playing Pots-and-Pans in the kitchen!

Q:  How much time will I spend on the program?

A:  That’s pretty much up to you. You could just spend an hour a week if you just want to watch the play-along video and play along with it. People who want to ‘get the most bang for their buck’ can spend as much as an hour or more a day, watching the videos, downloading the materials and then putting it all into practice and playing with others.

Most people fall between those two extremesand it’s totally fine how YOU want to use the program and how it fits into YOUR life right now.  That’s also why you get access to the website for at least 3 months after the program ends – so you can go back and review.

Q:  What if I can’t keep up?

A:  That concept doesn’t really exist for this program. Each week you’ll be learning different jams, so if you miss a week or more, you can just jump back in – and you get two BONUS REVIEW WEEKS at the end so we can go back over everything and you can ask questions.

Q:  Will the style you’re teaching be too ‘jazzy’ for the type of music I’m playing? (I play mainly hymns and folksy type of music/songs)

A:  WHAT A GREAT QUESTION!  Summer Harp Jam explores a lot of different styles, and one of them is always ‘rubato’ or ‘straight’ – as opposed to rhythmic.  In fact, we always start that way, and then add different rhythms later.  We take one basic progression each week and learn all the things you can do with it: how to use it for intros, endings, interludes, improvs, meditation, bedside playing, how to break it apart to play with others.

And yes – you can ABSOLUTELY jam with Hymns and folk songs – and you’d learn a lot about how to do that in Summer Harp Jam.  It would be fairly easy to expand what you learn to Hymns or the progressions in folk songs – and what’s SO GREAT about taking this program LIVE is that, if you have a special kind of music you want to explore – like Hymms or Folk songs – you can ask me how to do that in the Jam-Chats.

What I’ve done in Summer Harp Jam is to choose progressions that are so short that people can literally learn them in 30 seconds, so that everyone can focus on how to have FUN with them instead of worrying about how to read or remember them.  And I’ve chosen some of the most useful progressions I know, chord sequences that show up over and over again in lots of pieces.

So you won’t be learning ‘songs’ per se in Harp Jam – you’ll learn progressions you can use with songs.

If you want to take a look at a little warmup version of “Summer Harp Jam” to get a sense of how it works, here’s an online “Webinar” training that you can watch.  Let me know what you think!

Q:  Is the material in Summer Harp Jam unique to this course?  If I’ve taken your other courses is this NEW material?

A:  This course is very cool and unlike any of my other courses.  I tried to make it more like a summer camp – with activities, LOTS of play, and no homework for one thing.  If you’ve been in my courses you’ve probably experienced at least a little bit of “call and response” where I set up a background accompaniment on my looper and then I play little melodies and you play them back to me.

Every time I do that people LOVE it and ask for more – so Summer Harp Jam is based entirely on “Call and Response” — on JAMMING together — because it’s such a fun and effective and freeing way to learn to improvise and to simply have FUN playing your instrument.

Each week you learn a new sequence – which takes about 30 seconds.  Then you learn a whole bunch of things you can do with it – from creating intros, endings and interludes with it – to creating full improvs.  You learn a bunch of different bass patterns you can use with it, scales you can use with it, and various ways of creating rhythms with it like Waltz and Latin rhythms – as well as how to use it in responsive and contemplative settings like hospice or meditation.

It’s not sequential. If you miss a week, you can just jump into the next week and it’s not a big deal.  That’s because the activities are all based on a set of chord sequences – a different progression each week.

And you can learn as little or as much of that as you want – because the JAM part of the program is the real heart of it:  each week we have an online JAM where I set up the progression with my looper, and then we play!  I play a riff and you play it back to me, I play a riff and you play it back.  It’s basically the way I learned to play as a kid: call & response.  It’s incredibly fun and you don’t need to play exactly what I play because nobody can hear each other and it’s not about ‘getting better at copying’ – it’s about getting comfortable improvising and learning the kinds of musical gestures and scales work for you and are most fun.

I love it because 95% of it is “learning by playing” – and because everyone can keep what they’re doing as simple as they want – or make as complex as they want based on their own level and how much time they want to spend in the class (er … I mean camp!)

Q:  Do you provide the music for this course, or do I have to provide my own?

A:  You’ll get all the music you need from within the course.  Each week you’ll download the jam sequences – and that’s all you need!  (You don’t even need that, because I’ll also show you the jam sequence on a video)

Q:  How does it work with different playing levels all in one course?

A:  All my online programs are multi-level and for both lever and pedal harp and it works because I always start by teaching the underlying concept of what we’re doing.  For each thing I show you, I’ll always include a distilled/fundamental/simple version of it and ways to embellish and expand it.

And if it’s either not simple enough … or not complex enough for you, then you can ask for a simpification or an embellishment — and that’s part of what I’ll do in the live Q&A sessions and part of what creates such a vibrant sense of involvement and ‘live-ness’ in the classes.

Q:  What software do I need for the course?

A:  You don’t need any special software or hardware. You can take the course on your computer or ipad. You’ll watch the course videos on line, and you can download the MP3 playalong files and PDFs.

Even people who consider themselves completely non-tech-savvy are able to access and enjoy the course. Some people even say that one of the big benefits of the course is getting more comfortable with online tech formats!

Each week the course information is provided in three formats and there’s always a “low-tech version” so you’ll able to access the basic course materials without interactive software (like a live-stream webinar) because I’ll be videotaping each lesson and providing PDF outlines for you to follow.

Q:  My internet isn’t great.  How much Summer Harp Jam is video and how much is live streaming?  Is the chat session a video chat or an email chat?

A:  That’s an excellent question about the video and how the course works with less robust internet connections.  Let me know if this answers that question:

  • The “static” part of the program – the part that’s already there when you get into the classroom – is embedded videos (plus PDF handouts, text and downloadable audio).  The video content includes both “warmup” or “prep” videos PLUS  last-year’s live-stream jams chunked into segments that are based on content.
  • What that means is that I took last year’s jams, and edited them ‘bite-sized’ chunks.  I also created extra videos last year when people had specific questions.  All of that is available as soon as I open each module. Most of those are 5-10 minutes long.  The longest seems to be about 15 minutes.
  • For every video on the page, there’s also a downloadable mp3 at the bottom of the page. That means you can get the mp3 right onto your computer and then avoiding worrying about internet at all. I try to be careful when I ‘show’ things on the video to also name the notes, since even when people can see the video, it’s not always close or clear enough to be useful.
  • Also, the focus of this particular program is on “call-and-response” where I play something and you play it (or something like it) back, so most people find it most useful to just put the audio on, and play along based on the prompts I give.  This program is unique in that way (although I’m starting to use that technique more in other courses because people love it so much – and it’s fun for me as well).
  • The live weekly jams are all livestreamed.  Usually only about 25-30% of the people actually come live.  The rest prefer to wait until we post the replay, and either watch that online or just download the MP3 and play with that.  I’m not sure if they do that because of their internet connection or just because they prefer to be able to stop and start the jam at their own pace.

Q:  What if my Internet is out?

A:  We can’t always count on internet, as great as it is.  That’s why I record everything we do in the program and then add it to the classroom so people can watch at their own pace, or download the MP3s and the PDF Play-sheets to have on their own computer or MP3 device.

Q:  Do you have a payment plan?

A:  YES! You can find all the course details including payment options HERE


Still have a question?  CLICK HERE for my ‘ask a question’ form.

REGISTER NOW
FOR SUMMER HARP JAM!