One thing I love about teaching at Hip Harp Academy is getting to see the “Final Beginning Projects” that each student does. This is a culmination of Kathy Kunkel’s experience in the Blues Harp-Style class – and this is just the beginning!
This post is from a series that shares the “Final BEGINNING Projects” from my winter 2015 “Blues HarpStyle” online course for harp players. students created short videos based on what they learned in the course, and answered 5 questions about what they got from the challenge of this project.
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KATE SAYS …
I was not going to sing, but I just had to express the song ideas that came out in the course. This is NOT the technical stuff I’ve learned, but I couldn’t manage to do technical and sing, so, I chose to sing. It’s the one and only time anyone will hear me sing anywhere but the shower 😉
1. Give a short description of what it took for you to get to the place of being able to play what you did – both logistically and emotionally
Emotionally I just had to stop being a teacher and go back to being a student. That didn’t take too long because I do take a lot of online courses. However, the others I’ve taken are still in my “genre”, so it wasn’t as much of a stretch. This time, to admit that I knew absolutely nothing except that the tools I use to write my own Non-blues music were based on the 12 bar blues was the biggest hurdle.
So, not only did I have to admit that I was like a baby taking her first steps in the genre, I also had to learn to play standing up (a COMPLETELY new idea for me), to slap at my harp and bend strings. I love doing these things now, by the way!
2. What freedoms and blocks in yourself did you connect with (or struggle with) in the process?
Because I played professionally for so long, and I have many students, sometimes it’s hard to admit being completely out of my league. While I have always enjoyed the blues, and admired those who could play the genre, stepping out of the world I knew to actually PLAY it was a stretch.
3. What challenges did you meet to connect with your own freedom of expression in this project?
While I never claim to be perfect at anything, because I knew other people would be seeing this, I had to get over my, obviously irrational, fear of being ripped apart for not having the skills/technique/whatever. Isn’t that crazy? Heck, I played Vegas for 2 decades. The crowds don’t get much tougher than that, especially on the night shift. And actually, as I write this, I realize that it is because I am playing for my peers that I am a little more nervous and perhaps not as willing to express myself as I am even with my students.
4. What were your personal “Ahas”?
I don’t have to “do it all”! I mean, as a solo harpist for most of my career, I’ve felt the need to keep everything going – I can do a mean descending bass line, and great accompaniment, and improvise till the cows come home, all while holding a reasonably accurate melody (well, most of the time).
Problems arise, however, when I do play with other people, especially in the last five years when I have been totally solo professionally. It is difficult to let go of all the parts, so I would end up stepping on someone else’s line. And that is especially not nice when that other person is your husband 😉
But this course has taught me not only how to let go, but also to enjoy the magic that happens when you do that. So that’s why, for this final project, I wanted to take advantage of the skills and talents of the one blues person I know.
5. Is there anything else you´d like to tell people who are watching your video?
It’s not perfect, but it was fun! And you are the first people, ever, to hear me sing – well, except my grandson 😉
Hey, thanks for reading this example of what it’s like to go thru a course with me! Did you have A-ha’s or revelations watching the video & reading the answers she wrote? Add your comments below. Please – no critiques – just share what you learned from someone courageously sharing a project that’s the BEGINNING of a lifelong learning journey.
Want to do some courageous learning yourself? Click here to register for my next Free Online Training and check out my next online course especially for harp players.