Years ago I heard about a master-teacher named Tony Montanaro. He was a legendary performer and coach. People called him a creative GURU. I wanted so badly to work with him. I knew he would take my performance to a whole new level.

But I was scared. So I kept putting it off.

I was afraid I wasn’t good enough. Or cool enough.

I was afraid of how much it would cost.

I was afraid I wasn’t ready. I was afraid I wouldn’t work hard enough. I was afraid I would be wasting my money.

So I waited ‘til the very last minute. I was shaking when I signed up.

And Tony changed my life.

He became my mentor and he helped me see the harp in a completely different way. He started me on a journey I’m still on today, 30 years later. Along the way, I invented a completely new instrument – won prizes and awards (including a Grammy-Nomination!), played with symphonies, even created my own PBS music special and got to watch it on TV — but what’s most important is that Tony taught me to think differently.

He taught me to break apart the preconceptions about what I thought I could do with my instrument and empowered my journey to discover of my own creative voice. And guess what? Tony wasn’t even a harp player (he was a MIME – a mime who talked and didn’t wear whiteface)

Tony believed in the power of opening students’ minds – of engaging their own creativity – and that changed my life.

It’s what I learned with Tony and the other powerful mentors, teachers and coaches in my life that inspired me to create my online school “Hip Harp Academy” where I mentor hundreds of harpists from around the world in improv, creativity and performance.

One thing I learned with Tony was the power of group mentorship, and that’s one reason I created my own Academy as a place where creative harpists all over the world can learn on their own time but also come together as a group to share what they’ve learned, or get support for where they’re feeling challenged.

If you’re a harp player, join me in the creative adventure of a lifetime:

There are two ways we can work together right now:

Hip Harp Academy

Hip Harp Academy is a yearlong program that include 10 classes in improv, creativity and performance, in classes that give you basic structures of improv forms like Blues, Jams and basic arrangement form, and then show you how to use these forms to express yourSELF at YOUR level of technical ablity – exactly as you are right now.

I personally guide each of the main classes once a year so that members get my input throughout the year, in each of the main areas of study through these guided classes, chats and activities.  Learn more at

The first class of the year is “Strings of Passion,” a focus on the 7 principles that take you from creative IMPULSE to creative EXPRESSION, with a focus on developing your own creative practice, and developing your repetoire for improvisation. I created this version of the program especially for harp players, but it’s possible to take the course with any instrument – whether you’ve played that instrument before or not. Register Now at

Harness Your Muse

Harness Your Muse is a yearlong mentorship intensive where I work with a small group of creative harpists to develop a project that will make a ‘next level shift’ in their creativity and career.  If you have a creative project you’re struggling to get off the ground, “Harness Your Muse” is a perfect way to complete it and share it.  I encourage everyone who is even considering the program to apply —  simply filling out the application form often gives people clarity and inspiration for their dream projects.  Apply Now at

If you do nothing else for yourself this year, discover YOUR strings of passion and let them resonate throughout your life.

If you play the harp ... Join DHC's Hip Harp Academy

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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