So there I am – I’m at my first big harp gig in a fancy hotel. I’m subbing for the regular harpist. I’m in my early 20’s – I’ve only been playing about a year and a half.
I literally only know four pieces – and the gig is 4 hours long. So I play them, and I play them, and I play them. And then this very handsome waiter sidles up to me, holding a pitcher of water, looks down at me, says “If you play those tunes one more time, I’m pouring this pitcher of water in your lap.” And he walks away.
I still had two hours to go. I didn’t KNOW any other pieces. I could pick out a few melodies but that wasn’t PLAYING. I’d spend weeks learning a piece, getting every note exactly right. I was learning classical music.
But in that moment I needed to be able to create arrangements right there, right then on the spot or I was going to get fired and I was going to get doused.
I needed to figure out how to MAKE MUSIC in the MOMENT and I needed to figure it out fast.
That’s the moment I started a completely different relationship with playing the harp. I realized I didn’t need to play perfect brilliant compositions in that situation. I was playing IN SERVICE of people eating. I needed to play MUSIC IN THE MOMENT with a simple melody that people knew — and that moment in that hotel was the moment I started developing a whole toolbox of skills that became a lifetime of improvisation – a lifetime of music in the moment.
I made it through that gig. I got hundreds of other gigs. And those simple tools opened up whole new world of how to play, how to have FUN with music, how to play WITH music.
I put all those tools together to create my online course for harp players called “Hip Harp Toolkit.”
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.
"Play with Freedom"
Playalong Webinar for Harpist
NEW! This Summer
at “Hip Harp Academy”
“Summer Harp Jam” PLUS!
- Sat. Feb. 1 - TCAN - The Center for Arts in Natick, MA - with special guest, cabaret artist Ute Gfrerer. INFO & TIX HERE
- More events at EVENTS PAGE
- Watch my TEDx talk "Reinventing Freedom ... - a story told "from the Harp"
Hip Harp Academy for Harp Players
- Strings of Passion - 8-week Creativity Class at Hip Harp Academy. LEARN MORE HERE
- Harness Your Muse - Yearlong Mentorship is open for Application APPLY NOW
- Private Coaching - LEARN MORE HERE
Free Stuff for Harp Players
- Check out my Free Stuff page for MP3 downloads, Mini-Trainings for Harpists - and other things you can download for free DHC's FREE-Stuff Page