This post is from a series that shares the “Final BEGINNING Projects” from my winter 2016 “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.

Miller-PaulettePAULETTE SAYS:

I called it the “I Don’t Know Yet- Blues” because I am still working on the Blues. I think it will always be a work in progress.  My husband, David- the flutist, and I often perform together so this became a collaborative adventure.

Paulette’s answers 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.

I implemented many of your suggestions from the half-baked feedback and figured out what things I wanted to change on the harp part.  David and I rehearsed and there were more changes that David and I worked together I’m sure, the more we play it, we will continue to revise and adapt this music.

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

The freedom is that the more I played the patterns, the more comfortable I became with them.  I can hear the basic 12 bar progression and enjoy the harmonic template that it provides.   The block is that what I hear in my head, staying in the groove, settling into the pulse, using accents and expression does not always come out in my playing.  I am still thinking a lot and need more time and repetition.

I enjoyed the freedom of always trying out new riffs, some worked, others didn’t, but it was a fun and intellectual process.

I enjoyed the freedom of always trying out new riffs Click To Tweet

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

The biggest challenge for me was staying in the groove.  I always tell my students that we can work on steady beat FOREVER and I feel as if I need to still work on it.  I practiced over and over with a drum track to try and  lay back in the pulse and when I listened to the several takes that we recorded, I still rushed in certain parts.  The other challenge is that I often feel I should make something more complicated, then I realize that I am putting in more notes, but not more feeling. 

4. What were your personal “Ahas”?

The aha is this is a form that I have always loved to listen to, but have not played on the harp- so the aha is -Hey this is fun and creative. I can do this – I have more tools, templates, patterns and lots of ideas to continue to work on. I can start from the beginning and go back to that slap bass. I still need lots more time to internalize all that we have covered. 

I can do this! I have more tools, templates, patterns and lots of ideas to continue to work on. Click To Tweet

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

I really enjoyed the collaboration in this class.  It is such a pleasure to listen and share in everyone’s journey.  What a wonderful opportunity to connect with my fellow harpists and be able to collaborate with this community.  Thank you, thank you. 

What a wonderful opportunity to connect with fellow harpists and be able to collaborate Click To Tweet

DHC’s Feedback:

Paulette – this was really fun!  And I love how you used a vamp for the improvising and everything you said about focus on rhythm – and I could really feel the work you’ve done on playing in the groove – brava! I love how you played around with different ways of interacting with the flute – accompanying, trading, then those fun little flicks of sound you did together in the last chorus.   And I love how you really are invested in this as a Beginning project, knowing that you and David will be playing it many times and seeing where it takes you.  It was great to have you in the course and really fun to see this develop – and wonderful that you brought David along for the ride!


Hey, thanks for reading this example of what it’s like to go thru a course with me! Did you have Aha’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 creative exploration.

Check out the beginning of a lifelong #harp learning journey Click To Tweet

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