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 learn more about these final projects – and why they’re called “Beginning Projects”  here. – Learn more about the course here: – Learn about my NEXT course here: Blues Harp-Style – Get on the “First to Know” list for all courses here: First-to-Know-List

April answers questions about this project:

HHT2015-April-blogsquare-image-finalproject1.  What did it take for you to get to the place of being able to play what you did – both logistically and emotionally?

This piece is a composition by Deborah Henson Conant, written as a tribute to her mother- The Nightingale.  I applied the Five Part Arrange-o-matic.

[Editor’s Note:  The “Arrange-o-Matic” is a tool I give students as part of the “Hip Harp Toolkit” course]

It wasn’t until the latter part of the course that all of the modules started to fall into place for me and I had to deal with feeling lost along the way but knew I was amassing a tremendous amount of material that I’d have to go back and study and play with once the formal part of the course ended.

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

Like others, my self-consciousness gets in my way but with DHC saying right from the start that we’d get gold stars regardless, it relieved pressure.  The posting of videos still found me nervous, but not nearly as much!!!!!!

Self-consciousness got in my way - it helped that DHC said right from start that we'd get gold stars regardless. Share on X

3.  What were your personal “Ahas”?

The greatest freedom and aha moment I had was learning to play what I could play and not always feeling that I had to focus on areas of weakness – brought enjoyment back to the harp playing for me. And, I have a fledgling comfort with beginning improvisation.

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

I’ve never taken a course and felt so positively supported by the coach- wonderful experience and so liberating.  Classmates could not have been more supportive as well.  Thank you to Deborah and fellow harpists!!!!!


My aha moment - learning to play what I could - realizing I didn't have to focus on weaknesses. Share on X


APRIL – Ohhhhhhh …. wow!  I didn’t see the bird on your harp until the middle of the tune — that was such a lovely touch!!!  I love it!! So subtle and sweet!

I really loved how you embraced the idea of taking a simple melody and playing with it — of adding an improvised intro, an improvised middle and an improvised ending.

My very favorite part was how you came back to the melody after the middle section – that was so fluid and really felt like a return.

It’s been so fun to watch you embrace the elements of the course, April, and to see you put your whole self into it.  I love that you chose this tune and that you’ve created something you’ll be able to share now, and be able to keep expanding and developing because of the way you approached it. I love that you embraced the guidelines of the Final project as just a suggestion, and embraced your own interpretation that works for you.   And I really love the simplicity of the scene you set — with the simple draped background, you and that lovely little bird.

I really enjoyed this and have enjoyed working with you in this course – I so appreciate how you put your heart and soul into it!

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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