What makes someone start their own school, create curriculum and then share it with others?
What IS Hip Harp Academy?
“Hip Harp Academy” is my fundamental training program for harp players – and since it’s unlike any other online harp program – or any offline one, for that matter – I want to share what it IS and WHY I created it the way I did.
The Academy is a 12-Month recurring creative curriculum for harpists who are committed to developing their own unique creative voice. It’s based on concepts at the heart of improvisation, authentic performance technique, composition, arrangement and “Music PLUS ” — meaning, the art of combining harp with pretty much anything: story, movement, ideas, service, voice, poetry, dance, video, cooking, visuals, theater – or whatever moves you order to find your unique creative expression — the one that is YOU, that you alone bring into this world.
To do that I’ve created classes in improvisation forms and concepts from story-music to jazz and Blues. They all teach valuable skills, and how to release yourself from reading the notes on the page – but the real power comes when you take those concepts and apply them to projects that help you express yourSELF.
Each artist, coach, and teacher is different. My approach is particularly different because I don’t see the harp or harp playing as an end in itself. I see it as an exquisite creative platform and catalyst for self-expression – and what I love to do, and to teach, is how to use that platform in the development of someone’s unique creative voice.The real power comes when you take those concepts and apply them to projects that help you express yourSELF. Click To Tweet
Who am I?
One big question people always have of any coach or teacher is – why is this person uniquely qualified to teach this skill or art. So one official description of ME is An internationally acclaimed, Award-winning, Grammy-Nominated Harp-performer who’s performed in Concert Halls, festivals and symphonies throughout the world, a TEDx speaker who’s written musicals, had one-woman shows, chamber music and symphonic works – whose concertos and compositions are performed by harpists and symphonies around the world. An innovator at the heart of the development of the CAMAC “DHC” harp (yes, named after Deborah Henson-Conant – how fun is that as part of a legacy?)
But Who am I really?
Well, I am all that — and I’m also passionate about community and self-expression – and working with other impassioned musicians to help them reveal their unique creative selves: their creative voice. That’s why I created my mentorship program, “Harness Your Muse” – and it’s why I created an entire curriculum for creativity – specifically for harp players.
Why would I create an academy for harp players?
I’ve toured the world, I’ve played my own compositions with symphony orchestra, I’ve been to the Grammy’s as a nominee, I’ve toured with a legendary rock star. Why would I be so passionate about YOUR creative expression?
Why? Because I love hearing people’s true creative voices. I love the creative challenge of helping people find and share those voices. Other adventurers love seeing broad vistas at the top of a mountain – I love seeing authentic, unexpected talent emerge from human beings. And I love helping people take those talents and express who they are and what they love with them.
The reason my academy is for harp players is that I play the harp, so I have a lot of practical and creative understanding of this instrument – and that helps me help other harp players EXPRESS THEMSELVES with this instrument.
I love the creative challenge of helping people find and share those voices. I love seeing authentic, unexpected talent emerge from human beings.Click To Tweet I believe that creative expression is about willingness, commitment, and simple creative tools — not about a player’s technical level. I believe you can create peak musical experiences for yourself and others if you know how to truly use the resources you have right now.
Because I started the harp as an adult, I went through the agony of trying to express myself with techniques that were beyond my current ability. It took me 20 years to realize that, used creatively, I had had the skills to connect with and move an audience, after just a few lessons if I had accepted the level I was at and knew how to use those skills effectively.
That’s the genius.
The Harp is a Powerful Platform
I believe that the harp is a powerful creative platform for any passion – whether you have a quiet passion to play at hospice bedsides, a passion to tell stories with music, a passion to improvise, a passion to play jazz or any other human passion.
The trick is to connect the harp skills you currently have to skills you have already developed in your life. When you can do that, then you have a vehicle for your own learning and a way to express your truth at this moment now, before you develop all the skills you dream of having.
We Learn Best with Others of Varying Levels
I often went to very small schools as a kid, schools where more than one grade was in a single classroom. That showed me that my own learning is richer when I can gain experience and strength by learning with others who are both ‘above and below’ me in skill-level yet all working towards the same self-expression goals. That’s why I’m committed to multi-level classes, where players with less technical skills are tackling the same creative ideas as players with high levels of skills.
Here’s why that works especially well in a creative expression: True creativity is based on resourcefulness, not on technical expertise. You can create a pinnacle musical experience with a few technical skills and in fact, a reliance on technical skill may get in the way until you know how to apply it creatively. One of the main reasons I love working with mixed-level groups is because the more-skilled players often learn so much from the resourcefulness of the less-skilled players.
What I am teaching you is creative resourcefulness. I will teach you how music works so you can make it work for you.
Is Hip Harp Academy right for YOU?
Well, if you play the harp, it’s going to be an easier fit than if you don’t. I’m not just being silly when I say that. I’ve taken many classes that were ‘out of my medium’ – often because there simply were no classes for a harp player in what I needed to learn. If you DO play the harp, here’s what will help you know if this creative adventure is right for you:
- If you’re committed to your own personal, creative expression – and you want to express it with the harp.
- If you have enough harp skill to play at a ‘fledgling‘ level (i.e. advanced beginner) If you’re just beginning your journey with the harp or beginning again and need to develop basic skills before committing to the journey of full self-expression, ask about our sister program, “Start Harp”.
- If you’re open to new concepts – and willing to break down any self-created or learned boundaries that might be holding you back (even if you have no idea how to do that yet).
- If you’re willing to suspend judgment about yourself and embrace the concept of “connection, not perfection” (even if you still struggle with wanting to be perfect).
- If you want to a committed coach and a supportive community (even if you’re one of those who likes to hide out in their room while learning).
- If you want to learn the tools of musical creativity that will liberate you from the written music so you can truly ‘play’.
If any of these sound like YOU, then CLICK HERE to find out more & registerAre you committed to your own personal, creative expression and want to express it with the harp? Click To Tweet
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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.