I was just texting to some colleagues in NYC and found myself writing:

OMG – I’m so proud of the people in my Academy!!! They’re so brave and funny and committed, and willing and creative.  And I just realized I should be sharing this is social media!!!

I just finished the Half-Baked Feedback

Here’s why I’m so proud: I just finished creating the “Half-Baked Feedback” video for the current class, “Strings of Passion”. This is a video I created to give feedback on the projects students are currently working on. Many of the students in the Academy find that watching the feedback I give to others is one of the most useful things in the whole Academy. It’s a chance to see people apply the concepts, and asking for feedback on how to get closer to what they envision doing.

These particular projects are called “Half-Baked” because people are supposed to NOT worry about doing a ‘good job’ and just create the ‘impression’ of what they’re creating. They then ask for the coaching they want on how to get closer to what they’re trying to do without getting lost in the weeds.

Not everyone submits Half-Bakes. Usually about 10-20% of the students, and this time there were 10 of them.

A couple of the students who wanted to submit Half-Bakes this time were on holiday or business trips. They were bemoaning the fact they didn’t have their harps and so couldn’t submit their ideas when I said, “Who says you have to have your instrument there in order to share  your idea??”   – and in the last chat, we went over how to create the ‘experience’ of the project without having to actually have it all there physically: how to either just ‘talk me through’ their project, describing what they’ll be doing, or find another way to bring the idea alive.

[Editor’s Note: What I personally love about the idea of the “Half-Baked Feedback” is that there is more meaningful interaction between the teacher and the students. Deborah will be hearing, seeing and coaching your ideas raw and pure. Unlike the usual one-way flow of communication, there is an exchange in ideas wherein the teacher and students learn from each other. Continue reading to learn more! ]


So here are some quick screenshots from the feedback sessions.

You’ll see the videos they submitted on the left and my camera on the right – and if it looks like I’m looking away from them, it’s because my webcam is in mirror mode, I spent an hour trying to get it out of mirror mode and I can’t figure it out.


Margi (below) is doing a project with Alzheimer’s patients and it’s amazing to see what kind of response she’s getting to “Take me out to the Ballgame” – on harp.

Anne (below) is both a harpist and sign language interpreter – and her story about how the harp has given her a voice is so beautiful to watch unfolding.

Susan (below) didn’t have her harp with her – so she talked me through her project of creating a protest song and had me enthralled.

Darlene (below) is combining two beautiful pieces, one by Puccini, the other “Pie Jesu” – to create a spiritual oasis of music for people who need a place of contemplation and beauty.

Alicia’s (below) creating a story about journeys and home – plus a sing-along song about kindness for the children in the school where she teaches.

Holly (below) created an exuberant joie de vivre moment in costume with her harp and the melody of the Butterly Jig.

Susan’s (below) on vacation and used this amazing prop in lieu of her harp to show how she wants to build the story of how she came to love dance and music by dancing with her father in the kitchen. Susan’s creating a program specifically for retirement and nursing homes.

Sally (below) used one of the first songs she ever played on the harp to develop a wonderful story about how she avoided playing the piece her mother most loved to hear — and Sally combined the story with snippets of the music and then the piece itself (methinks this will be a wonderful Mother’s Day video, by the way!)

Maria (below) was inspired by a painting in her house to create a story of friendship, love, and romance – and to play it in costume.

Debra (below) composed a jazz-inspired story of a spider. (Her video looks different from the others because she got her feedback live during last week’s live chat, so we had her on the full screen)

When I see the level of creativity and whimsy and the deep originality of these videos, I’m completely filled with joy.

The Academy spring registration period is about to open. Check out the classes and join me for creativity, whimsy, originality, and joy.  Oh — and harp playing — with and without a harp.



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