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 Frauke Haenel’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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[Updated by DHC 231019]


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.

It took many attempts to get this videotaped so that it was kind of “performance ready” without stopping or any hick ups.

Playing alone in a room is easy, but in front of a camera is so difficult, because you want to get everything organized: the notes, the rhythm, the groove, the dynamics, the look of your face, the way you move,…and this usually does not work out.

2. What freedoms and blocks in yourself did you connect with (or struggle with) in the process?

My freedom was having a structure that you can work with. I felt safe and that I was not lost anywhere. I was happy to have this clear 12-bar blues skeleton that I could follow (and that obviously many other blues players follow).

On the other hand I felt blocked sometimes by the endless possibilities I still had. Even between only a few different riffs I could not decide which one to choose for a homework, because they all sounded great. I forced myself to focus on a few, but this felt like I was missing something.

I was happy to have this clear 12-bar blues skeleton that I could follow Share on X

3. What were your personal “Aha’s”?

Standing at the harp is so great. It gives you so much more freedom and I like getting away from the traditional pedal harp position. I will definitely do that more often on my lever harp in the future.

Another thing I loved to experience was that, even if you have all the freedom of improvising it is possible to play with others, because you have the structure everyone is following. That is great and completely new for me coming from a classical background and being dependent on every note that is written.

Even with the freedom of improvising it is possible to play with others Share on X

4. Is there anything else you’d like to tell people who are watching your video?

The melody I am playing came into my mind one evening and I kind of liked it, even though I don’t think it sounds really like a blues melody. Nevertheless, I wanted to keep it, because it was something that I had created by my own. Therefore, I used it for my final. That’s the reason why the piece is called: A Bluesy Song (instead of a real Blues).

Probably my body language and my face is not 100% convincing, but I had much fun to play and prepare this final project. 🙂


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.

Check out the beginning of a lifelong #harp learning journey Share on X

Want to do some courageous learning yourself? Click here to check out my next online course especially for harp players.

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