This beautiful version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is from Nicole Mueller, a German harpist who’s just released a gorgeous jazz-inspired Holiday album, and is a member of my “Harness Your Muse” mentorship program and you can buy the MP3 collection here right now.
I met Nicole several years ago when she enrolled in one of my early on-line courses. She’s a spectacular player with dazzling classical chops – but she came to my course because she wanted to learn about jazz – and right now all my online course are focused on what I call “Pre-Jazz” – teaching the jazz structures, like blues, or standard jazz form – but with simple harmonies and tunes that don’t change key.
Needless to say, Nicole’s playing inspired everyone in the online courses – and when I opened my “Harness your Muse” group mentorship program last year for the first time, Nicole said she wanted to join, “But I only want to learn jazz,” she said. “I don’t want to do any of the other things.”I only want to learn jazz - I don't want to do the other things Click To Tweet
In fact, Nicole’s focus was the impetus for my 3-week “Jazz Harp Masterclass” program last March. And this was one of my favorite videos she created when she was developing her “In a Different Light” album.
The Flexibility of Mentorship
One of the beautiful things about mentorship is that it is flexible. While there’s structure within the program, and tools that I encourage everyone to use (like my “Big Picture” worksheet series or “8 Weeks to Showtime” guide) – if someone in the program has a burning desire, a vision – we always bend the structure to the vision.
This is the power of a simple, flexible internal structure — which is at the heart of all my coaching, my own creativity — and a featured core principle of my “7 Strings of Passion” program that launches in January 2017: that internal structure allows the diffuse swirl of passion an internal thread to crystalize on in its own way.
For Nicole, her corner of the mentorship became a kind of jazz academy of one, where she could ask pointed questions about specific tunes, and I would give feedback, or sit down and make a video, or point out examples on the web. Or she’d email “Help! I have a trio gig – how do I comp???” and I would send a videotape – not of the ‘best’ comping in the world – but of what she needed to get from Point A to Point B so she could then find her own way.Help! I have a trio gig! How do I comp?? Click To Tweet
When it was possible, I’d then share those videos with the rest of the people in the mentorship, so other people learned from her questions.
Having a mentor to answer your specific questions, AND your follow-up questions is essential when you’re making a huge creative shift. And the result is that Nicole’s created an album I could never have created, using her massive musical skills and her guidance of my guidance.
With a mentor, you’re not learning how to do something specific that’s outwardly defined, you’re learning to reveal yourself, to create your own unique self-defined work and learn to share it in ways that are authentically YOU. This is the biggest difference between creative mentorship and other kinds of learning.
That’s why I always build elements of mentorship into every course I create – and that’s why I LOVE mentoring artists who have a huge skill in one area, and need guidance to reinvent it. Because that’s what I do: reinvent.
That’s why artists in my mentorship program often have such dramatically different skill levels on the harp itself: some are using the harp to enhance a different primary creative skill like singing, acting, storytelling or movement – and others are bending a rigid classical training into modes of expression that allow them to express more and more of themselves.
Within the “Harness Your Muse” program in 2016 the projects were all dramatically different: Shelley created a new online school for beginners (StartHarp.com), Sally and Kathy premiered their first solo shows, Alexandra discovered her voice as a composer (and is now the finalist in an international composition contest), Jana is developing a program to explore the bridge between two worlds of schizophrenia; Stephanie creates visual sound through a combination of dance and harp-playing; Teddy developed a traveling healing program that combines a portable garden labyrinth with his acting, playing and singing; Robbin is developing an inspirational speaking program ‘from the harp,’ Betsy’s creating a serialized story about a harp-playing adventurer, Katherine is developing a practice that combines ultra-marathon training with harp playing — and Pumehana is creating a rock-harp program for visiting conventions in Oahu.
Could these projects be more diverse?? Yet they all come out of the same instrument, and the same program and a huge sense of creative camaraderie – because each member is committed to expressing the most authentic self they can.
And Nicole? Well, shortly after she joined the program she got an offer to create a jazz-influenced holiday album. Interesting coincidence, eh? In fact, she declined that first offer and instead created the album in collaboration with a company she’d worked with before, Peter Finger’s Acoustic Music Records.
She calls the album “In a Different Light” and if you read German you can read some great reviews about the album starting with this one in Soul Train (http://www.soultrainonline.de/nicole-mueller-in-a-different-light/ ) or watch this trailer – and better yet, grab the MP3 downloads and enjoy them all through the holiday weekend.
And right now? Nicole’s likely basking in the glow of the half-dozen album-release concerts she scheduled to celebrate the release of “In a Different Light” or signing copies of the album at one of the final concerts.
Do you have a creative project aching in your soul? Make 2017 the year you claim it. Apply for my top-level yearlong creative program “Harness Your Muse” now.
Not sure where your passion lies? Learn more about “Strings of Passion” my brand new 10-Week program and discover your own passion.