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Hip Harp Academy

Where Harpists get their Creative Wings

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What does it mean to play with FREEDOM?

You’re about to find out!

Join these harpists around the world to find YOUR freedom.

Hip Harp Academy was created by Award-Winning harpist, composer and performer Deborah Henson-Conant as a year-long  virtual learning experience for harpists worldwide who want the skills, tools and inspiration to break away from the notes on the page and develop their unique creative expression through improv and self-expression.

We do that through through CLASSES, COACHING and a powerful, supportive COMMUNITY so you can always ask questions and you never have to do it alone.

What if you already had all the skills you need to express yourself…

But you didn’t know how to use them?

That’s what it’s like for most harp players

If you play the harp, you probably think you need to develop faster technique or more skills in order to play ‘better.’

But that’s a myth

The truth is that just DON’T KNOW HOW to use what you ALREADY HAVE!

You’re stuck to the page because you haven’t been taught how music ‘works’. This goes for advanced and professional as well as fledgling or intermediate players.  And heres the thing: 

If you don’t know how to use what you have, then getting more won’t make a difference.  

Well, that’s all about to change!

Group of students around harp

“Hip Harp Academy” is all about learning fundamental skills of creativity to support the talents you already have and give you the tools, templates, blueprints and practices to free you from the notes on the page.

In your first year you learn the fundamentals of basic improv and arrangement, like how to use melodies and chord symbols to develop ‘fencepost improvising’ and how to expand the music you already play with vamp-centered improv – and how to create standard arrangement forms. You’ll develop your musicality “in Strings of Passion” and your knowledge of theory in “Hands on Harmony.”

Each year in the Academy you go deeper, building more repertoire, more skills more creative freedom. 

More and more members are now continuing beyond these 3 years with special projects and use the chats and office hours to get guidance and feedback on their projects.

Each year is focused into four quarters: Creative Resonance, Grounded Expansion, The Power of Pattern and Structure is Freedom.  Each centers on a different basic improv form, and how to apply the “DHC Method” of creative expression and improv skills.

The Academy combines THREE powerful learning modes:

Classes ~ Coaching ~ Community

The Academy combines dozens of CLASSES you can take self-paced or as part of the Guided Curriculum – with COACHING from an Award-Winning international harp innovator and role-model to give you direction and support- and a powerful, inspiring, supportive COMMUNITY of harpists around the world – so you never have to do it alone.





The real power of the Academy is in the LIVE weekly Learning Labs, Masterclasses and chats with master coaching from Academy creator, Deborah Henson-Conant and the option to get feedback on creative projects to give you accountability and support.

The chance to work through the classes with live coaching, the ability to ask questions in real time and learn from others with support of the powerful Academy community –  is one of the most empowering learning experiences you can have.

Weekly LIVE  Virtual Learning Labs

In a deeply supportive virtual classroom of 20-35 harpists, worldwide.


In a smaller group of 12-18 harpists, with open questions and coaching time


Feeling behind, with a group of 4-12 harpists you get to catch up on any part of the Academy.

Meet your coach: Grammy-Nominated Composer & Performer Deborah Henson-Conant

Working with a Master-Coach gives you new creative solutions.

Academy creator and coach, Deborah Henson-Conant (“DHC”) is an iconic innovator in the harp world, co-creator of the CAMAC “DHC” harp and a Grammy-Nominated, international touring artist who is dedicated to passing on the power and freedom of her creative experience to harpists worldwide.

Academy membership is a rare opportunity to work with an internationally recognized master on your instrument –  in directed study,  with the opportunity for personal feedback and breakthrough coaching moments. Through the assignments and projects you get DHC’s direct feedback on how to highlight YOUR unique creative voice, how to simplify and expand what you’re doing – and most importantly, the one thing you can rarely see yourself: what you’re already doing right, and how to let who you truly are shine through, no matter what your technical level.

DHC has spent a lifetime exploring and coaching personal self-expression.  She’s performed her own original orchestral works as a soloist with the Boston Pops, Baltimore Symphony and National Symphony Orchestra, received multiple awards including a Grammy Nomination for her 2006 “Invention & Alchemy” Album, NEA and “Meet the Composer” Grants, collaborated on stage with Bobby McFerrin, Steve Vai, and Mason Williams, was the first woman instrumentalist signed to the GRP Jazz Label, and toured the US & Europe as a solo artist and with her band,  The Jazz-Harp Trio. She’s been featured in two PBS Music Specials includes her own “Invention & Alchemy” and has been featured on NBC’s “Today Show,” CBS “Sunday Morning” and speaking from her harp in her TEDx talk.

Your Coach Opens up Life Experiences for YOU

Your coach has spent a lifetime developing her skills through performing and teaching world-wide with legends like the Boston Pops, Baltimore Symphony, Mason Williams, Steve Vai, Bobby McFerrin and performing her own concerts and one-woman shows with symphonies and venues like The Kennedy Center, Boston’s Symphony Hall, and in two PBS music specials.   All so she can share those skills with YOU.

These are just some of the amazing experiences your coach brings to your sessions:

  With Ray Charles & Seiji Ozawa after a show at Tanglewood

 On tour with Steve Vai

 On tour with Keith Lockhart & the Boston Pops

 In concert with Mason Williams

 At the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook, CT

 In her PBS Music Special “Invention & Alchemy”

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You provide the most inspiring, amazing space for students to break through the challenges, let go, and feel free. 

It is so fascinating how you explore the emotional and spiritual aspects of music together.

I love how you keep it real and think out of the box all at the same time, and I love both the fun and profound sides of what you express and explore.”

Tess Nurman


“She makes it possible no matter what your musical ability is. Thank you DHC!”

Katrina Sleight

When I first met Deborah’s work I assumed she would be far above what I could ever do so didn’t look to work with her. But then a 5 Day Challenge made me realize how incredibly skilled she is at recognizing & affirming the beauty of the simple, at bringing every single person along with her, no matter at what stage they are, that every single person can leave her armed with a new bag of goodies and a knowing of where they’re going.

Helen Bawden

No child should EVER go through years and years of music lessons and end up like so many of us … unable to really play anything without the music in front of us.

You are the way-shower for anyone who actually wants to know music and make music. You are freeing humanity to tune into the music that we were born to express.

Dr. Christiane Northrup


The Academy Community is a powerful and supportive group of harpists from all over the world.  In addition to the official Academy Curriculum, Academy members create mini-trainings to teach specialized skills to each other, host a Harp Therapy Mastermind, Social Salons and member-run classes within the Academy to support each other in learning.  Members direct-connect with each other during the LIVE Masterclasses and Office Hours and in the membership Facebook Group.

It’s all about CONNECTION … not perfection.

  • With a commitment to connection, not perfection, the Academy Membership of harpists from around the world, are committed to support each other in breaking away from the notes on the page
  • When you see others challenge themselves it’s more inspiring and encouraging than all the self-help books in the world.
  • You get support and camaraderie in learning the skills, tools, mindset and confidence to express yourSELF with your music.
  • Members range from dedicated, impassioned amateurs to professional players, all dedicated to overcoming perfectionism, sharing their most authentic creative self through the harp – and having fun doing it!

If there is one lesson that DHC emphasizes over and over, it is to appreciate and enjoy what we can do at this time, knowing that we can and will continue to improve.

This support has had an effect on me that has gone beyond my harp-playing.

Harriet McKenna


With less effort than it would take to learn ONE complicated piece, I have the foundation and tools to take all my playing to a higher level. 

Diane Giorgio

Invest in Your Creative Freedom

Take your creative expression to the next level

With a Full YEAR of Academy Classes & Community

$597 $497 During Early-Bird

One Payment of $1997


12-Months Access to all Classes, Coaching & Chats, Office Hours and Academy Events 

3 Payments of $215 $179 During Early-Bird
(Scroll down in order form to “Payment Plans”)

3 Payments of $215 $179 During Early-Bird
(Scroll down in order form to “Payment Plans”)

12 Payments of $185 

(Scroll down in order form to “Payment Plans”)


12-Months Access to all Classes, Coaching & Chats, Office Hours and Academy Events 

For Upgrades & Renewals (click to open)

This info is for those who have taken a paid class recently and would like to upgrade to the full Academy Membership — or those who are current members wanting to renew.


When you take a stand-alone class from the Academy, you have the option to upgrade to Full Academy Membership within 30 days – and you can apply 100% of what you paid for the class to your membership.

Here’s how to Upgrade:

==> Use this UPGRADE ORDER FORM, put your UPGRADE CODE into the “promo code” field & hit “apply” to get your discount.

  • If you don’t have an upgrade code, use the Ask-a-Question form to let us know which class you’re upgrading from and we’ll send you the code.
  • We want to make getting into the Academy as easy as possible for you, so if you’ve missed the deadline, reach out anyway – and we’ll see what we can do.


  • If you’ve been in the Academy for at least one year & you’re renewing,  use this order form to RENEW with your discount code and put your “Elite” discount code in the Promo Code field. You’ll be able to choose to pay in full or a payment plan. Renewal also gives you ‘Elite’ status with extra Elite-Only chats.
  • If the Academy price has gone up since you joined, don’t worry. Your code should bring it back down to your original locked-in price.
  • If the code doesn’t work didn’t get a renewal discount code, use the “Ask a Question” form to let us know and ask us to send it to you.
  • I look forward to spending another year with you!

See you in the Academy!

Use the Academy to support YOUR Learning style

People learn differently. Some want to work at their own pace, with the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback when needed. Others do better with weekly assignments and goals. Other have a busy lifestyle and simply want a coach and a community they can


Academy Members all have busy lives, so the Academy is flexible, to support YOUR learning:

  • Take only the classes you want, when you want them, at your own pace …
    • OR … Get more structure and accountability, by joining the guided curriculum with LIVE Masterclasses, Chats & Office Hours
  • Join other members of the Hip Harp Academy international harp community for social salons, Facebook sharing and masterminds …
    • OR … Just focus on the curriculum and ask questions when you need to, through the live Office Hours or chats
  • Do the weekly assignment and turn them in to get feedback …
    • OR … Just come to the masterclasses, enjoy them and absorb what’s most important

There’s no wrong way to do it.

It’s all about Connection … not Perfection

What students say about learning with
Deborah Henson-Conant & Hip Harp Academy

“My sheet music has always been my safety net, and I couldn’t imagine myself to perform anything by memory. But when you broke Baroque Flamenco down into small pieces, it all felt so simple. I felt so safe. Thank you so much for making me do something that I thought was impossible.

Annette Sollie Hagen (Norway)

“I have not had this much fun playing my harp for months. Since I’m fairly new to the harp; I’m also learning a great deal from the suggestions, ideas and comments of everyone. Taking copious notes & tucking them away for when I’m ready for new concepts.”

Laurie Esch Taylor

“I play almost daily at the hospital or hospice, and put all of this into practice immediately, so it really sinks in.”

Betsy Scott Chapman

“This was the single most important musical course I have ever done in years of learning harp, and I would recommend it to anyone at any musical level.

The course was absolutely jam-packed with incredible information, carefully structured so anyone at any level can work with the concepts … and the concepts I learned have become integral to my harping experience, like a kind of ‘harping code’.

With this one course, Deborah gave me all the tools I needed for arranging music.”            Blythe Tait (Australia)

“As an adult beginner on harp, I thought your “New Blues” was way too hard for me, but after I took ‘New Blues Beyond the Page’ I realized I CAN PLAY IT!”

Kathy King (USA)


How long is the Hip Harp Academy?

You are signing up for a 12 month adventure when you join Hip Harp Academy. That means that you can take any or ALL of the courses in Hip Harp Academy, either at your own pace or in the guided interactive versions DHC leads (i.e. the “Guided Curriculum)  — or BOTH — at any time, or as many times as you want for the whole year.  If you renew your membership at the end of that year, then you’ll get another whole year of access.

You can join the Academy any time and get 24/7 access to everything in the Learning Vault,  to learn at your own pace, BUT it can be fun to start  at the beginning of a quarter.

What if I’m not Tech-Savvy … or a downright Technophobe??

Even people who consider themselves completely non-tech-savvy have said they’re able to access and enjoy the course. Some people even say that one of the big benefits of membership is getting help becoming more tech savvy.

Most course modules are provided in 3 formats: streaming video, PDF worksheets and downloadable audio.

Do I have to do homework?

I encourage everyone to do the suggested work in the classes and share it to get coaching.  While that can be intimidating at first, ultimately it’s liberating, fun and confidence-building.

Are ALL the courses already available right now? If I wanted to hunker down and take them all in the first year, could I do that?

Yes.  Although you probably wouldn’t be able to do anything else.  There are a LOT of classes!

When are the courses available and for how long?

The courses are available 24/7 for as  long as you remain a member of the Academy. In addition to being able to go through the courses at your own pace whenever you want, DHC also runs  interactive “Guided” versions of most courses on a schedule throughout the year.  Once you’re in the Academy, you can choose either option – or both – whatever makes the learning work for you.

How do the “levels” of the Academy work?

The Academy is a Yearlong Membership program with THREE LEVELS

  1. FREE LEVEL includes fun resources everyone can enjoy (and you can stay in FREE LEVEL as long as you like – whether you renew your other membership levels or not)
  2. FULL LEVEL includes ALL the online courses you see on this page. When you join at FULL level, you can take any of the courses at your own pace any time OR join the guided interactive versions of the courses OR do BOTH.
  3. HARNESS YOUR MUSE if you’re ready to develop a new project, like an album, a concert, a show (or you want to COMPLETE one you started), or work with a new kind of ensemble – like a trio, or chamber group – or if you want to work on career development  you can apply for the “Harness Your Muse” mentorship project. Read more and apply here.

Is there any way to see inside the Academy to get an idea how it’s set up?

YES!!  You can sign up for my FREE “HaRpy Birthday” mini-training ( and you’ll get right into the FREE level of the Academy where you’ll see how it’s all set up.

What if I live in a timezone that makes it difficult for me to attend ‘live’ events? Will they be videotaped for replay?
  • The TRAINING MODULES are all already all videotaped, and we’re just transferring them to the new classroom now (but there’s a lot of content so we’re doing it class by class)
  • Any LIVE CHATS and EVENTS will be videotaped (barring major equipment gremlins) — and the replays will be available to everyone who has FULL membership.
  • We currrently hold the weekly Masterclass TWICE each Monday so that it’s accessible for people in multiple timezone.
  • For people who want to ask questions but can’t make the live chats or masterclasses, you’ll be able to submit your questions in advance via the “Ask a Question” form

Exactly what is the cost?

Yearly membership is $1997. Once you  become a member, the price you paid is  locked in – and will remain the same for as long as you maintain your membership, even if the price of the Academy goes up.

Can I get credit for a class I took when I "upgrade" from a single class to the full Academy Membership?

YES! If you choose to upgrade within 30 days of purchasing any class, you can apply 100% of what you paid to Academy Membership as a class credit.

Do you provide payment plans?

Yes. We almost always have at least one payment plan available for any class that’s over $150.

Can I get a Refund?

We operate a strict no-refund policy.  Join the community, take action, invest your heart and soul in our own creative expression and you’ll never want to leave, let alone a refund… trust me!

Next Question

The next question might be the one you have!  So if the answer to your question isn’t listed above, send it via my “Ask a Question” form and we’ll try to answer as soon as I can!


The Academy is Currently open for At-Your-Own-Pace Learning Only 

Get on the First-to-Know List by Downloading my Freebies

Current Guided Program, 10-Week “Hip Harp Toolkit” is currently in Session.
If you missed registration for the Guided Session,
you can join the Academy for Self-Paced Learning
or join the First-to-Know list by downloading my Freebies.









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Hip Harp Academy


Is a year-long curriculum for Harp Players who want to develop Improvisation, arrrangement and performance skills so they can express themSELVES with their instruments and their music.

The Academy includes over a dozen different classes

You Always Have TWO OPTIONS
for joining Academy Classes: