My new “Jazz for Harps” summer program is in its final weeks and the students have just submitted their “Half-Baked” projects and I’ve shared my feedback with them.  When one student took notes on every one of my feedback videos, the discussion of the feedback spilled over into our weekly chat and became a rich conversation.  Some of the comments in the chat were:

Very useful and thought provoking!” (Sharon)

Really loved all the harp hacks like how to simplify and layer short loops” (Teddy)

So inspired by what everyone’s planning to do with the material from this course!” (Sophie)

“I learned It is REALLY worthwhile to submit a Half-baked!” (Anne)

“I got that I have more questions 😀 … Knowing what to wanna ask is good ;)” (Bina)

It reinforces all that we’re learning” (Laurie)

Reinforcing the supportive feel of this course. Thank you!” (Alicia)

So … what IS this #HalfBaked project that seems to bring so much value to everyone in the class? Share on X

So … what IS this “Half-Baked” project that seems to bring so much value to everyone in the class, whether they did the project or not?

So … What is a Half-Baked Project?

In my yearlong “Hip Harp Academy” most of the classes include a “Final-Beginning Project” and a “Half-Baked” project. While some of the classes also included homework, these projects are the students’ opportunity to put what they’ve learned into a form that they can share with the outside world – and that’s a two-part process.

“The Half-Bake” is basically like a dress rehearsal for the Final-Beginning Project. It’s a chance to create a mock-up, first-draft, or even a completely inept ‘stumble-through’ of your Final-Beginning Project and get my feedback on what IS working, where to take it next and any answers to your specific questions.

It’s a chance to share safely with someone who loves what you’re doing, wants you to bring as much of yourself to it as possible, and can help you take the next steps YOU want to take.

The Half-Bake is a place to be totally safe exploring creatively. Share on X

You share it with me as a video – no more than 90 seconds long. And I make another video giving you feedback, answering your questions, giving you next steps.

And it’s only shared within the private community of the Academy. The screenshots in this post are as much as anyone outside the Academy will ever see of them, and if any student asked to have their image in the Half-Bake above removed, it would be removed.

The Half-Bake is a place to be totally safe exploring creatively. (more on the history of the Half-Bake in a future blog – it’s not my idea, I first learned it with my mentor, Tony Montanaro)

Making a Half-Bake allows you to go through the process of forming a project without having to worry about making it ‘good’ — and it provides you with the opportunity to write down – and ask – the questions that come up when you actually start putting what you’ve learned into practice.

The way I give video feedback is to set up the student’s video on my computer, an then a video ‘window’ into my studio next to it. That way we end up looking like we’re in the same space — even though the video and the feedback happen at different times.

Even if students aren’t planning to submit a final project, I still recommend they do a Half-Bake because actually doing what you’ve learned helps you figure out what questions you still have — and one of the most powerful elements of my Academy is that students get to directly ask me those questions, and then watch the answers over and over on video.

So … What is the Final-Beginning Project?

The Final-Beginning Project is the project you create after the half-bake, using what you learned, and it’s the Final-Beginning projects that I encourage people to share,

I call it a “Final-Beginning Project” because, rather than being the ‘end’ of something — the projects are the beginning of your lifelong relationship with what you learn in the course. It’s a place to start the next part of the journey, and a place you’ll be able to return to, look at, and say, “Oh, wow – that’s where I started!”

Hip Harp Academy Opens for 2018-2019 Term on Labor Day 2018!


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