This is an archive post ~ originally published Jan. 13, 2016 and updated in 2018


A few years back at a show in the Boston area, I launched into an impromptu story of my life and how I started playing the harp – all while playing the harp.

Afterwards, the theater owner said that in his ten years running the theater, he had never heard anyone do that: tell an extended improvised story while playing improvised music – in this case, the Blues.

He said in his 10 years running the theater he'd never heard anyone do that Click To Tweet

And here’s the thing. It feels like the most natural thing in the world: singing the truth with Blues. And I just learned to do it recently. And guess where I learned it?  In my own “Blues HarpStyle” course. Seriously.

Here’s what amazes me: singing what I’m thinking is one of the easiest, most intuitive things in the world for me to do, one of the most fun, satisfying and natural things for me to do, and I never would have done it if I hadn’t created this course to teach OTHER harp players how to play Blues on the harp.

Blues lets you tell your story with music Click To Tweet

And here’s how that happened: the lever harp is an amazing instrument for the Blues, with a surprising number of similarities to  the harmonica – but it can be a little tricky to deal with the levers that harpists use to change keys, so I’m constantly looking for ways to simplify the Blues to make it easier for my students.

At the same time, a good portion of my students straddle two worlds: they love playing FUN music they can play with other people – but many of them also work professionally or semi-professionally playing in hospice or as therapy harpists.

Because of that, my online students are constantly asking me how to rework music to make it more contemplative and responsive for therapy use – yes, even the Blues.  So I’m constantly thinking about how to do that.

I’m generally a high-energy person but because of my students I’m always thinking about how I can slow it all down.

I discovered a set of 4 beautiful Blues chords and sang a spontaneous training session to my Blues HarpStyle online students.  Here it is:

I also gave my students those four chords. Ever since then, those 4 chords are my go-to when I simply need to express myself – either when I’m alone and need to work out something emotional by singing through it – or in concert – or in a class – when I need to SING what I’m saying.

Music can expand your emotional expression and experience.  Especially the Blues. No matter what instrument you play, try playing the Blues. And if you play the harp register for Blues HarpStyle today. Next Blues Harp-Style class is in April 2018!


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Deborah Henson-Conant's "Hip Harp Academy" online learning community is open for self-paced learning yearlong.  DHC personal guides each class in the Academy once a year.  Access to each guided class is limited to students who register before the 2nd week of class. Registration for the Fall Guided course, "HIp Harp TOOLKIT" is currently closed.  

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