This blog is one of a series.  Each includes a student’s final project from my online course “Hip Harp Toolkit,” along with  their answers to five questions.  You can I think my fingers did more of the memory work and my left brain did a lot less.  I got increasingly more “inventive” and I found that the memory LASTS a lot longer this way.  I also decided to try a new video technique:  Chroma Screen.  I ended up mounting a bright green tablecloth and a few new lights in my garage which has now become a “studio”.  The result is not as good as the “weatherman”, but I loved trying to put different backgrounds to my playing.

My fingers did more the memory work than my brain. I found the memory LASTS longer this way. Click To Tweet

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

There is nothing more freeing than sitting down to a harp WITHOUT a music stand/IPAd to grab your attention and concentration.  Learning a simple melody and then taking it wherever the spirit leads is just plain WONDERFUL! (not to mention what it means to the hospice patients I play for).  I still struggle with the “audience” aspect, however, and as soon as another visitor enters the hospice room I grab the IPad and start reading music!

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

I still hope that someday I will learn the “magic formula” of what notes NOT to play when I am improvising.  Maybe that’s like saying “I’m not free until I’m perfect or until I totally understand music theory!”

4.  What were your personal “Ahas”? 

When I was growing up I can remember my mother (who played by sheet music) and my father (who played by “heart”) discussing what they would do with “us kids”.  My mother won, and we took the dreaded piano lessons.  NOW, however, I am realizing that I can have BOTH.  (Dad, it’s your turn to win!)

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

Taking this course was a total jewel!  Posting videos of the homework and then watching/listening to DHC’s suggestions on my playing was the most valuable thing I could ever imagine!

Posting homework videos & then listening to DHC’s tips was most valuable thing I could imagine! Click To Tweet


Learning a simple melody and then taking it wherever the spirit leads is just plain WONDERFUL! Click To Tweet


Margi – As always – I love how you totally embrace technology and really USE it in creative and fun ways. I love that you used the fade-outs to images as transitions – that’s a new aspect for your videos. It’s so fun to see your creative vocabulary expanding!!!

I also really liked that the juxtaposition of ocean and harp – which is NOT a typical Christmas/Hanukkah image was put totally into context by your first text “Christmas Greetings from Florida” – and the green-screen worked especially well there in that segment (something you may want to use again!!)

I really enjoyed all the different kinds of experimentation you did between the playing, the text and the green-screen images to create a sense of journey and message. Loved that you looked right at the camera some of the times – I know that’s hard and you did a great job –  and I can see you’re starting to get more comfortable relaxing.  One of my favorite moments was when you closed your eyes during a particular ‘tasty’ transition note.

It’s funny that I’m talking so much about everything but the playing – but that’s one of the things I really appreciate about your work – that you’re always telling some kind of story, always creating an experience and the beauty is that the more you do that, the more the music simply becomes part of the experience.

Thus said, I love how your playing is getting more and more fluid, how you’re embracing the value and power of simple techniques as well as experimenting with more exotic sounds.  I love that the lever-changes were truly integrated with what you were doing .

Really, really fun … oh … and the dog at the end … definite cherry on the top!


What was this project all about?  What were the Guidelines?  The project description was to take 3 contrasting tunes and create a medley no more than 3.5 minutes using techniques from the course, like introductions, melodic improvising, embellishing, turnaround endings and modulating from key to key. (If you’re not a musician, you’ll know when they’re modulating when you see them reach up to shift the levers, which change the harp into a new key).

One of the core principles of the course is “Imperfect Completion” so each of the “Final Projects” is really a “Beginning Project.”

YOU can join my next creative harp course:

My next online course for harpists begins January 14, and it’s called Blues Harp-Style.  Take a look at the Blues Harp-Style info page here or get on my “First To Know” list for notification of early-bird specials and new classes.



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