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 Harriet McKenna’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]


My final version is similar to the half-baked one but a little peppier and with improved vamping.  I wish my voice sounded better but it’s still so cold and dry here.  I went back and listened to my half-baked and almost decided I liked it better slower but both versions have their strengths and weaknesses and that’s not what I want to focus on!  It was just me expressing myself at different times.

Harriet’s Answers to my Five Questions …

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 feels like we have been in this course much longer than 5 weeks!  I definitely could not be playing the blues on the harp with the internalized feeling of the groove I now have, without DHC’s wonderful instruction.  I’ve practiced a great deal but that’s because I’ve felt so motivated to learn as much as I could from DHC.  Some of it has been easy and some quite difficult to get into my hands and body, so I feel really good about what I can play that I couldn’t before, and also about the possibilities for continued learning on my own that I now have.

I feel really good about what I can play that I couldn't before Share on X

It was not easy to video myself for every lesson and I probably would not have if it were not for DHC’s constant encouragement to each of us to appreciate what we can do at the level we are currently at and to use our limitations to spur our creativity and uniqueness instead of fretting over them.  This support has had an effect on me that has gone beyond my harp-playing.

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

I love to improvise vocally and have found that even with some voice problems I am currently having, that I could have fun with the blues and support my voice with rhythm and harmony on the harp.

The blocks I experienced were mostly related to the critical voice in my head and I was able to get past them because of this supportive environment where we were all sharing our difficulties.

I was able to get past my blocks because of supportive environment where we all shared our difficulties. Share on X

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

I haven’t done much with lyrics in the past but decided to try to write a blues song about my real feelings about an important family event that I was missing.  I had it in my mind that is might become my final project but only had the lyrics done in time to send for the event.  My challenge was to put the lyrics to blues on harp using the tools from this course.

4. What were your personal “Ahas”?

A few days ago, I just tried singing — no lyrics, no scat (don’t know how) — just oohs and aahs, while playing through the different types of blues that I am now feeling comfortable with.  It was fun and freeing with lots of “mistakes” which could become the next “right” notes.  I need to do this more!

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

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.

Appreciate and enjoy what we can do at this time, knowing that we can and will continue to improve. Share on X


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 register for my next Free Online Training and check out my next online course especially for harp players.

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