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 Karen Goodin’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

I found it interesting from my half-baked tune that people (not me so much) heard a Scottish/Celtic voice. After many years working on Scottish music I guess I actually absorbed something. Not what I wanted here, really, though. I changed the scale I used for melody to one that might be somewhat more bluesy — D, F, G, A, C.

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

Maybe more a problem of logistics, but I tried playing the melody in octaves, and just couldn’t get my LH to jump back and forth that much. I still have the left hand reaching up for the comping chorus, as well as for several lever slides. This is working out better than expected! I hope to be more successful with future pieces with lever changes, etc. Maybe I’m developing a new way of thinking about this, based more on the notes I want to hear, and less on what’s written down in my music. (Maybe someday I’ll be able to explain it, too!)

Maybe I'm developing a new way of thinking about this based more on the notes I want to hear Click To Tweet

I’d like to notate this for my own future reference, but I don’t have the skills for that yet. It would take me a lot longer to do that than it does to play, for sure.

I had to abandon my terror of seeing myself on video (mostly). Also, fear of “making a mistake”–most of what I do falls short of my hopes. It’s still so hard to transform what I can imagine into a reality.

3. What challenges did you meet to connect with your own freedom of expression in this project?

Keep making it simpler to get more success in turning thoughts into sound.

4.  What were your personal “Ahas”?

I’m starting to get some small understanding of how people can play in a group (without everything all written out a la chamber music or band). The three roles are important, and there is a planned harmonic structure. I realized that more is planned out than I thought. These people aren’t all super-geniuses who can magically play together–they probably have a lot of experience doing this _kind_ of thing, over and over. (Free jazz remains a big mystery!)

After a lifetime of playing “too slowly” I need to learn how to rest back into the groove and not rush things!

GOODIN – Karen (USA) “Tolly’s Winter Blues” (BHS3) Click To Tweet

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

I made a certain effort to “dress up” for the video. Not really something I’m good at; I could use an assistant to pick out clothes and work on my look, etc. (Ha!)

Rather than trying to get Tolly the cat to pose for the video, I stuck up her photo in the background. Too creepy? (She is understandably shy about participating in “cat videos” of any sort.)

Here’s the form I used:

  • Intro — count in
  • Head
  • Comping with integrated hands
  • Out-Head
  • Ending –D in 3rds up to E



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 Click To Tweet

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

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