This week I realized that there’s this whole rich ‘behind-the-scenes’ part of my life that I never share, that might be valuable to people. So here’s what’s been going on ‘backstage’ in the last few days…
Friday morning: Creative Facilitator & the WHY Documentary
On Friday mornings I meet with my new Creativity Facilitator, Sara Stephenson Donley to map out next steps in workshopping my musical “The Golden Cage.”
Below, you can see us each sharing our ideas about the process in my kitchen for an hour before meeting with video filmmaker Robert (Bobby) Hanna to talk about including the development of the piece in his WHY documentary series that explores “greater purpose” as individuals pursue their unique callings in life.
And here we are talking with Bobby. You can see our creative process taking shape in the post-it notes behind us. The conversation ranged from making art to spirituality – and how to share the experiences of each.
Next steps: Sara & I meet again next week to develop the Salon-Concert process and to schedule a next meeting with Bobby & his wife to connect in person at my studio
Saturday: Test Run of a Video Project
Videographer and musician Andrew Schwerin came by to shoot the ‘composer’s synopsis’ of my show “The Golden Cage.” This is a 13-minute presentation from the piano, where people get a quick experience of the entire show: the story, the music and the characters – because I’m generating it all from the piano – just like I used to do when I was a little kid, telling myself stories and playing the soundtrack on the piano. But this is a whole 80-minute musical condensed into 13 minutes – kind of like a movie trailer but the performed live by the person who created the movie.
On stage, the show is about 80-minutes long and be performed with two professional actor/singers in a theater with sets and costumes and lighting, and an orchestra of piano, cello and percussion – but this special presentation was created to be performed live at ‘artist salons’ where the playwrite/composer/lyricist presents the whole show themselves, followed by an open discussion of the themes and all the story evokes.
THIS WEEK Andrew and I were experimenting to see if we could find a way to bring this live experience into a form that’s sharable on the internet – by videotaping it live in my studio. Notice the black cloth over the windows – to cut out the glare on my eyeglasses when we were live-taping.
Monday – At Hip Harp Academy
On Mondays at 4:30 pm I meet with students from the Academy for our weekly chat, and answer questions about arrangement and improv. After the weekly chat, one of the students leads an After-Chat session where harpists in the Academy from around the world can stay and just talk about what they’re learning: their instruments, their projects, their lives
Next Steps: Clarise will take the replay video, the audio version and the chat overview – which student liaison, Sally Walstrum creates during the chat – and post them in the Academy so students can watch the replay, and download the audio and the chat notes.
Monday (throughout the day): I started recording feedback for students on their ‘Half-Baked’ projects. They’ve sent videos of the projects they’re working on, asking questions for specific coaching, and I create videos to give them that coaching.
Next Steps: Clarise will post the Feedback videos I’ve created so far, and I’ll continue creating them throughout the day.
Monday Night: Networking with Local Women Entrepreneurs
Monday evening: I went to my friend Mia’s house, where she was hosting a special event: local women entrepreneurs and artisans brought their creations to share and sell for the holiday season. It was like an intimate, festive, pre-holiday fair with a chance for 1-on-1 conversations with creatives entrepreneurs in everything from vegan-leather handbag to healthy gourmet snacks — all in someone’s home.
I wasn’t thinking about being the beat reporter for my life while I was there, so I didn’t take pictures but I DID make a secret video about my response to Mia’s revelatory squash soup. Watch that 3-minute video here.
I also have a series of ‘action groups’ throughout the week where I meet for an hour with creative entrepreneurs, musicians and writers — each group has 3 people in it, and each week we focus on the work of one of the group members. On Sunday nights I meet with my ‘Goals Group’ to organize and share our goals.
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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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