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 King’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.
First off, a huge THANK YOU to DHC, for being such a wonderful, thorough, enthusiastic teacher. Every time I take a course from her, I learn amazing amounts of musical information in such a short time. She truly does everything she can to help us succeed.
[Editor’s note: You are SO welcome! It’s so much fun and I learn so much from each class because of how engaged you all are and your great questions]
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Kathy’s answer to my 5 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
Well, I am still a relatively new harpist, so I knew from the beginning that there would be some disconnects between what I imagined doing vs. what my fingers and brain were actually capable of. I had to figure out logistically how to have some fun with this, and learn to do at least a few new things. Emotionally, it is difficult for me to put a project out there that I know is not perfect. So, once again it is a case of embracing “imperfect completion.”
2. What freedoms and blocks in yourself did you connect with (or struggle with) in the process?
I thought that the most difficult thing would be finding a project. However, this turned out to be easy. I had a dress from a Renaissance-themed Murder Mystery Party. Just after starting the Blues course, I walked past the dress, and the idea of a story-song about a “reluctant” Fairy Tale Princess just jumped almost fully formed into my head. So the most difficult part of this project was actually the easiest. The block for me was when I realized that I had created something not quite “true” to the Blues style. I really couldn’t hear the song any other way. DHC was, as always, super supportive about just letting the song be what it is. Let it be!
3. What challenges did you meet to connect with your own freedom of expression in this project?
I wanted the words to rhyme, and of course, fit with the timing/rhythm of the piece. That was my first challenge. I was actually shocked at how much fun that was! At the Half-Baked, DHC suggested I add stylistic contrast with my voice. It was a bigger challenge than I expected, trying to contrast the proper-soprano style singing with a gutsier Blues-y style voice. I’m still working on that!
4. What were your personal “Ahas”?
My biggest “Aha” was realizing that, rightly or wrongly, the song had taken on a life of its own, and some of my original ideas were not going to fit. I really wanted to bend a few notes and add some riffs, and that just wasn’t going to happen within the context of this piece. It took me some time to make peace with the fact that this wasn’t going to be the right time for me to focus on new harp skills.. Just sing the song…
5. Is there anything else you´d like to tell people who are watching your video?
I discovered that you (or a helper) have to watch the lighting in the video. As I worked on getting a decent recording, the day lengthened and the room became darker. My best recordings, sadly, were the darker/grainer ones. Lessons learned.
A NOTE TO THE READER FROM DHC
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.