I’m in the middle of a 30-day challenge to show up LIVE on Facebook every day – and to my delight, people email me their takeaways from those sessions. Thank you so much to the anonymous emailer who emailed me this one!

It started when Clarice wrote in the comments: “Love how you can take something so simple and turn it into a big beautiful creation!”

Thankyou, Clarice! I love being able to take something simple, and by adding little parts to it, or changing one thing or keeping one thing the same, to be able to find my way around it and then have it become mine – a part of my voice.


And that’s what I love teaching in my Academy – and what I teach so much of in Hip Harp Toolkit  — these simple tools you can take to expand your creative voice.


I love teaching them because these are the things that have allowed me to expand my own voice so much, over years and years and years and years and decades, starting from the ukulele and going on and on and on – finding one thing one year and playing around with it for so long and then something else and realizing that what happens when you have these little ideas and these little tools, as you start playing with them over and over and over again, they’re the building blocks of improvisation, they’re the building blocks of self-expression, they’re the building blocks of accompaniment.


And as you play them and play WITH them and learn how to break them down, then they become enriching parts of a whole that all come together – part of your creative voice.


Right! So when I was a little kid I remember the day I was learning to write words — and my mother had all the alphabet letters written out on a piece of paper on the floor, and then I had other strips of paper to write on and a bunch of crayons.


And she said “this is your name” after she wrote it on one strip of paper. I was like – wow!  And I said, “so you just take those letters and you just put them in an order and that makes words?” And she was like, “yeah, that’s how you do it!”


And I was like, well I’m gonna to do this! And I just remember I wrote all these letters and I was thinking, this is the greatest thing, I am going to make The Greatest Word Ever!


And I held it up – this big string of letters and I said, ‘What does this say?’


And she said, ‘Nothing.’


And this was one of the first deep disappointments of my life.  I really thought I had it.


But in fact, with music it’s true! You can take all these things and put them together, because you don’t have to make something that makes sense to somebody else. You make something that helps you express yourself.


*What I learned later – with both words and music – is that you can put it all together randomly and then figure out what you’re saying by starting from this randomness – and often that’s a great way to start.  But if you want it to SAY something with that writing, then you need to be able to HEAR what you wrote and hone it and shift it until it actually resonates and reveals that message to you.  And as you do this more and more, you can actually start hearing at the same time as you’re speaking or playing and then you can actually HEAR yourself.


So, Clarice, thank you so much for pointing that out.

And thank you to the person who sent this to me!   I edited it slightly for clarity – thank you for helping me share this!


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