Harpist Sally Walstrum and Margi Miller both started taking classes at Hip Harp Academy, my year-long training program for harpists – more than 3 years ago. They each came to the harp in very different ways with very different skills.

Sally started the harp as a young girl, went the conservatory route and became a trained classical player – then left the harp for decades – and has recently returned. In addition to a lifetime of harp skills she’s reigniting, Sally returned with a hunger for freedom.

Margi’s journey was very different. She didn’t even start playing the harp until after retirement, and once she did, she immediately wanted to use her new skill as a facet of the service that’s been important all her life.

Now Sally and Margi are the two “Student Liaisons” at Hip Harp Academy, helping me behind-the-scenes and helping students in their own journeys. At last week’s chat I asked them each to jump onto the screen and tell the new students a little bit about their journeys with the harp and how the Academy played a part.  You’ll get to see what they said – off the cuff – in these videos along with a snippet of each of them playing.

Margi: “I only started playing harp when I retired so it’s been brand new for me and I went into the Academy about five years ago. I started out trying to obey all the rules as if I were taking a college coure and then …”

Now Margi puts everything she learns immediately into play as you’ll see in her project with Alzheimer’s patients.  You can read more about this project here, how it came about and how the class “Sing & Play Harp” freed her to really engage with her audience.

Sally: “When I started this venture, I didn’t know how to improvise to save my soul. I was convinced I couldn’t do it, I was convinced I couldn’t do an arrangement even though I could read music and then …”

Since joining the Academy, and also my “Harness Your Muse” program, Sally has created and performed her own shows combining classical music, pop and jazz, stories … and improv. You can see her website and the shows she’s created here at SallyWalstrum.com. 

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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