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 Joy Zahner’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]

Subtitle: A quick look at the real issues, lurking below the glossy promo pages.


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.

Submitting the first full take – because there isn’t time to mess around – took courage. I haven’t sung solo since high school and have never sung whilst playing harp. I have a lot to catch up on!

This project brought me from happily playing background music and receiving “nice” comments to seeing possibilities of more interaction, fun and satisfaction.

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

I now think about lever and pedal harps quite differently, with both limitations and advantages. I want to be able to incorporate more of DHC’s rhythm suggestions – I’m not at that level of playing yet.

I will also be upgrading my internet. For me this was my greatest frustration.

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

Singing in a high key, rather than transpose. That would have taken too much brainspace but will do later.

After module 2 I really felt like standing at my instrument, but am finding other ways to incorporate movement with the instrument that I have.

4. What were your personal “Ahas”?

Filling out each cheat sheet; loved thinking in shapes; reading others’ stories and their reasons for linking into this course; realising I need to upgrade my 2003 programs to see this course a little easier.

Each new module was a fresh aha when the sandpit / exploration space was expanded once more.

Each new module was a fresh 'aha' when the sandpit-exploration space was expanded Share on X

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

Although this course and project was a stretch – on many levels, esp having time to practice or experiment – thanks to DHC this is definitely the beginning of an exciting chapter in my playing and teaching.

thanks to DHC this is definitely the beginning of an exciting chapter in my playing and teaching Share on X

I am amazed how the word ‘riff’ is infusing into my piano lessons. I enjoy using humour but I’m also looking forward to creating some soulful tunes.

Thank you Deborah for so many useful resources to refer back to. I intend to work through this course again in my own time.

Thank you for making this possible.


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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