Once upon a time,  during one of the severe pandemics in the 21st century, when all people were forced to stay at home and could not meet and play music together …

… an international community of DARING harp players met each week in a Virtual Academy to plumb the secrets that their hearts wanted to tell. There, they each committed to share a song – each with their own unique gifts – not in the name of perfection, but to turn their hearts – and their harps – to the music of connection.  And they’ve shared these songs with you in a Holiday greeting.

Some have played harp for years, or decades – some have come to the harp as adults – some even as a retirement gift for themselves.   We’re a community connected by a commitment to creative expression. Every week we meet for masterclasses and training, during the week we practice the new ideas and the willingness to be vulnerable, authentic and self-expressed with our instruments, our voices and ourSELVES.

Read about their personal creative journey by clicking the toggle beneath each video.

Be inspired by their commitment and courage, let it infuse your own life – and if you play the harp, come join us at Hip Harp Academy.

[See more from this series:  Projects #1  –  Projects #2  –  Projects #3


Sabine:

There’s no need to be perfect!!!

Sabines Insights about this Project

Describe your final project so I know exactly what you’re sending me.

Christmas greetings to family and friends with a German song.

What principles from this course or from chats did you use to develop, perform, and record this project – and how did they play a part in your process?

– 5-part-arrangement form
– keep it simple
– create an exploration, improv.
– keep a structure
– using a cord-progression, arpeggios, 1-5-10

Give a short description of what it took for you to be able to play what you did – both logistically and emotionally.

It’s hard to remember the parts and the structure, the brain gets foggy and I’m lost. Every time I play something different. That’s good, when I don’t have to videotape it. 

What freedoms and blocks within yourself did you connect with (or struggle with) in the process?

What I just said. 

What challenges did you meet while connecting with your own freedom of expression in this project?

There are upcoming ideas for playing and improvising, when keep trying.

What other parts of your life were impacted by what you learned in this class, and how?

There’s no need to be perfect!!!

What were your personal “Ahas”?

Chord progressions, vamps, embellishing the melody…

Susan:

I feel more empowered in my playing. Perfect imperfection is fine. 

Angie's Insights about this Project

Describe your final project so I know exactly what you’re sending me.

 This is the extended version of my half-baked card.
Tried to incorporate 5 part arrangement, ideas from tool kit and spent time with the background and graphics to complete the card.

What principles from this course or from chats did you use to develop, perform, and record this project – and how did they play a part in your process?

Five part arrangement
Descending in intro
Exploration

Give a short description of what it took for you to be able to play what you did – both logistically and emotionally.

 It was not easy!
Wanted to connect with friends and family who are not living close and show them my new love- harp.

What freedoms and blocks within yourself did you connect with (or struggle with) in the process?

 Took freedom in playing melody in upper octave.

What challenges did you meet while connecting with your own freedom of expression in this project?

 Biggest challenge was putting it all together and trying to play with fluency.

What other parts of your life were impacted by what you learned in this class, and how?

 I feel more empowered in my playing.
Perfect imperfection is fine.

What were your personal “Ahas”?

Just being able to make a video I’m willing to share.

Lynne:

This is the finale for a Hannukah party performance, our “rock” version of S’vivon, Sov, Sov, Sov.  I’ve always wanted to scat, but didn’t think I could. Doing improv on the harp and learning little tips for that helped me depart from the melody, but not too much.

Lynne's Insights about this Project

Describe your final project so I know exactly what you’re sending me.

This is the final run-though of the planned finale for a Hannukah party performance. We chose 8 songs and keys and worked them separately until right before the party. This is our “rock” version of S’vivon, Sov, Sov, Sov.  Mike is playing an instrument that he can change the timber and key at the touch of a button, and uses two different instrument settings for this song.  He plays bass role while I’m singing, then changes it to clarinet for his solos.

What principles from this course or from chats did you use to develop, perform, and record this project – and how did they play a part in your process?

First I changed the tempo, then I played with improv using my voice, then I added the 3x turnaround at the end. Then I collaberated with another musician, adding a full verse for him to play and came back to singing it again (before the actual 3 part turnaround, and slowed a bit at the ending)

Give a short description of what it took for you to be able to play what you did – both logistically and emotionally.

It really flowed easily and I had a LOT of fun doing it. I was glad that Mike was open to the tempo. At first he was playing a lot slower than I wanted to, but we went through it about 4-5 times until we were both comfortable. This is the last run-through.

What freedoms and blocks within yourself did you connect with (or struggle with) in the process?

I’ve always wanted to scat, but didn’t think I could. Doing improv on the harp and learning little tips for that helped me depart from the melody, but not too much.

What challenges did you meet while connecting with your own freedom of expression in this project?

Finding time to try it out was really the only challenge.

What other parts of your life were impacted by what you learned in this class, and how?

That playing with other musicians can be even MORE fun than I remembered from before COVID.

What were your personal “Ahas”?

Scatting doesn’t HAVE to be jazzy to be scatting. I used the same 3 chords that I used to use, no substitutions.

Is there anything else you want people to know when they watch your video?

nope, that’s about it.

Fern:

Emotionally I felt naked because I had neither the guitar, voice, or DHC background music.  I purposely did this because I want to feel confident playing alone.

Fern's Insights about this Project

Describe your written materials – if there’s anything in particular you want to say about it to help people know what they’re looking at, add that here.

This is the first version of my Christmas video card.  The guitar isn’t here because Will and I are in different cities this week, but we do plan to do a Christmas video card together.

What principles from this course or from chats did you use to develop, perform, and record this project – and how did they play a part in your process?

Principles of using space as part of the project, separating base, harmony and melody and how to put them together effectively.  How to use either right left hand as the harmony portion.

Give a short description of what it took for you to be able to play what you did – both logistically and emotionally.

Emotionally I felt naked because I had neither the guitar, voice or DHC background music.  I purposely did this because I want to feel confident playing alone.

What freedoms and blocks within yourself did you connect with (or struggle with) in the process?

I struggle with everything I play being not musically enough, too simplistic, silly, that I’ll be tolerated but inwardly laughed at because of mistakes, hesitations and “the nerve that she thinks she can play the harp.”  I know that these are my personal demons and I struggle to keep them down,

What challenges did you meet while connecting with your own freedom of expression in this project?

As above, meeting the challenge of feeling naked, playing alone.

What other parts of your life were impacted by what you learned in this class, and how?

Will and I schedule regular time to practice together.  We talk about chords, inversions, etc.  Our learning systems are very different, and we have fun learning each others systems, etc.

What were your personal “Ahas”?

Aha, I can get this done early, and keep improving before I send it out for Christmas.

Is there anything else you want people to know when they watch your video?

Does it sound “stilted?”  Without intonations, everything the same volume?  Boring?  Ways to make it more dynamic?

Thanks for all of your support,
Fern

Cherie:

I wanted to be able to do arpeggios. I couldn’t have done this even a year ago and it’s thanks to you and your fabulous teaching. This has given me a sense of achievement to be able to play this piece as I’ve always wanted to, but couldn’t.

Cherie's Insights about this Project

Describe your final project so I know exactly what you’re sending me.

It’s a Christmas video to send out to my friends & family.  “O Holy Night.”   
This is different to my half bake as I wanted to get out a greeting to my friends while I had time, as we will be busy on the farm before X-mas.

What principles from this course or from chats did you use to develop, perform, and record this project – and how did they play a part in your process?

Simplifying a piece of music so I could play it.   I had to make lots of changes but I also wanted it to sound a bit “fancy”
Learning how to do arpeggios, 6ths in the melody and integrating hands.

Give a short description of what it took for you to be able to play what you did – both logistically and emotionally.

Just a year ago I couldn’t read music so from what I’ve learnt in the Academy, I can now understand & follow music.      Practising the hand shapes, squeezing and playing over & over has made it possible for me to get the arpeggios to sound smoother.

What freedoms and blocks within yourself did you connect with (or struggle with) in the process?

Just to be able to play this tune as I really like it. 
I had to “let go” of the more difficult parts so I could play it without hesitating.  

What challenges did you meet while connecting with your own freedom of expression in this project?

This tune was a challenge .   Making the tune shorter to fit in the time and still hopefully sounding OK.  I didn’t follow the form as I wanted to do arpeggios , and so it was longer but I did an intro & ending with the tune.

What other parts of your life were impacted by what you learned in this class, and how?

I’ve discovered the importance of practice and how this really helps with feeling comfortable playing.  This has given me a sense of achievement to be able to play this piece as I’ve always wanted to but couldn’t .

What were your personal “Ahas”?

Going back to Strings of Passion, finding the impulse and playing tunes I love.
Learning the structure and how to read and understand some music so I could then change it to my ability.  Doing the video and seeing where I could simplify where I was having difficulty. 

Is there anything else you want people to know when they watch your video?

I’ve been inspired by Sally’s playing and wanted to be able to do arpeggios, (of course nothing like her ability but at my level. ) I couldn’t have done this even a year ago and it’s thanks to you and your fabulous teaching.

Harp Players!

Join our Summer of Improv at Hip Harp Academy and free yourself from the notes on the page.

Join Hip Harp Academy

Hip Harp Academy is a year-long membership program for harpists - from fledgling to professional - who are committed to develop their skills and self-confidence in improv, arrangement, performance and self-expression - with an award-winning coach and a vibrant, supportive creative community.

Hip Harp Academy

Alex:

It was painful to leave the bad parts in but in embracing imperfection, I don’t have to worry about Imposter syndrome.  I’m not fooling anybody. 

Alex's Insights about this Project

What principles from this course or from chats did you use to develop, perform, and record this project – and how did they play a part in your process?

I relied heavily on ideas I got from other people’s projects, and although they didn’t end up in the final version, I played around with a lot of things we did in the warm ups.  I tried to pay more attention to other things in the scene as far as recording, though I have too much stuff to ever get a completely clean background.

Give a short description of what it took for you to be able to play what you did – both logistically and emotionally.

My take starts out with me laughing.  I had just started the piece five times and something went wrong each time.  This time, I was ready to go, and started off with a wrong note (which isn’t on the video.) I made two versions (with two cameras each) because the first half was good on one, and the second half was good on the other.  I. The end, I just used the first one and let everyone watch me squirm through the part where an unknown lever is causing me a lot of angst.  I’m embracing  that.

What freedoms and blocks within yourself did you connect with (or struggle with) in the process?

It was painful to leave the bad parts in but in embracing imperfection, I don’t have to worry about Imposter syndrome.  I’m not fooling anybody.

What challenges did you meet while connecting with your own freedom of expression in this project?

Hmmm

What other parts of your life were impacted by what you learned in this class, and how?

Not sure.  I was already pretty imperfect.

What were your personal “Ahas”?

Little snippets that can be thrown into things almost at random are your best friends.  I now have a little book called my bag of tricks.

Is there anything else you want people to know when they watch your video?

I wanted to go from contemplative to joyful.  To me, nothing is more joyful than Handel.

TH

Anne:

Block: “This isn’t what I planned” (due to the blackout).
Freedom: “I can still do something!”​

Anne's Insights about this Project

Describe your final project so I know exactly what you’re sending me.

This is a 1.34 minute video which includes speaking and then a short tune on the harp with Christmas and New Year greetings.

What principles from this course or from chats did you use to develop, perform, and record this project – and how did they play a part in your process?

It is about connection, not perfection.  The realisation that people are actually more interested in connecting with me than hearing me play a virtuoso piece on the harp (just as well! haha)

Give a short description of what it took for you to be able to play what you did – both logistically and emotionally.

This was filmed during a blackout which meant I couldn’t use my looper. As a result, my plan to layer an additional carol over the top of this one could not be executed.  As a result I felt the harp playing seemed overly simple and I felt disappointed – but, I still did it anyway because of all that has been said about connection being more important than perfection. No-one else knows what it could have been! They are not going to judge me as harshly as I judge myself. 

What freedoms and blocks within yourself did you connect with (or struggle with) in the process?

Block: “This isn’t what I planned” (due to the blackout).
Freedom: “I can still do something!”

What challenges did you meet while connecting with your own freedom of expression in this project?

Finding the time to do it all.
Setting up the background and the camera.  Being concerned about the noise (cicadas) in the background which I couldn’t cut out. (Authentic Aussie soundtrack!)

What other parts of your life were impacted by what you learned in this class, and how?

Something is better than nothing (usually).  I had something else to do (outside of the academy) and I took the same principle “just do something and connect” with me into that situation and it helped me to get it done.

What were your personal “Ahas”?

If you want to loop two different songs and layer them on top of each other – they don’t have to have the same time signature or even be in the same key! You can always work out a way to layer them that sounds novel and beautiful! I love doing this!

Is there anything else you want people to know when they watch your video?

That my sentiments are real – I really am thinking of you and hoping you and your loved ones have a plentiful year in 2022 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Felicity:

I help myself best by accepting where/who I am now as a journeyman musician, then I can take the next steps. Showing more of myself is helped by setting up a backdrop that supports my sharing.

Felicity's Insights about this Project

Describe your final project so I know exactly what you’re sending me.

This, The Christ Child’s Lullaby, is an old Gaelic carol from the Outer Hebrides, traditionally sung at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

I have created my own arrangement from the melody line I came across on the Isle of Iona. It’s a simple lullaby (in mixolydian mode) so I chose to keep the arrangement simple, using a drone for the most part, which felt right for its origins.

I’ve wanted to sing the lullaby, self-accompanied since I first heard it, so here it is, my first venture into singing to my own arrangement of a song. A big leap for me! It’s not quite ‘performance-ready’ but ready enough to share among friends.

What principles from this course or from chats did you use to develop, perform, and record this project – and how did they play a part in your process?

I used the 5 part arrangement structure to guide my arrangement choices while arranging this carol for harp and voice, to waymark the path, while making the path my own. I simplified and simplified again.

Give a short description of what it took for you to be able to play what you did – both logistically and emotionally.

Because I’m new to self-accompanied singing and find the video-making challenging, it wasn’t an easy process. It took a lot of letting go of self-doubts and wanting to be ‘better’ than I am right now

What freedoms and blocks within yourself did you connect with (or struggle with) in the process?

I connected with my innate freedom to make creative choices and follow my intuition re my arrangement. This actually helped with long-standing challenges regarding finding my voice and being heard…singing ‘my song’

What challenges did you meet while connecting with your own freedom of expression in this project?

Pushing through self-defeating thoughts and keeping going. Believing in myself more and wanting it enough made me dare to do it.

What other parts of your life were impacted by what you learned in this class, and how?

Becoming better at self-encouragement! I can use the 5part structure as a framework to support other creative work and daily living too

What were your personal “Ahas”?

I help myself best by accepting where/who I am now as a journeyman musician. Then I can take the next steps.

Showing more of myself is helped by setting up a backdrop that supports my sharing.

Is there anything else you want people to know when they watch your video?

I just love this old Hebridean carol and wanted to share it.

Heather:

I became more adventurous harmonically and rhythmically in order to improvise better arrangements. Hard work is worthwhile.

Heather's Insights about this Project

Describe your final project so I know exactly what you’re sending me.

a compilation of clips from Christmas Leadshheets. Linda, our violinist, plays the main melody of each tune while I improvise an accompaniment from a Leadsheet with only chord symbols and melody notated.

What principles from this course or from chats did you use to develop, perform, and record this project – and how did they play a part in your process?

I learned how to develop an accompaniment from a Leadsheet that I could play with other instrumentalists

Give a short description of what it took for you to be able to play what you did – both logistically and emotionally.

had to understand the structure of each piece and how the chord progression functioned in relation to the overall structure of each tune.

What freedoms and blocks within yourself did you connect with (or struggle with) in the process?

had to become more adventurous harmonically and rhythmically  in order to improvise better arrangements.

What challenges did you meet while connecting with your own freedom of expression in this project?

maintaining confidence in my ability to play without remade arrangements

What other parts of your life were impacted by what you learned in this class, and how?

It was a great focus point…had to keep my eyes on the “prize” so to speak

What were your personal “Ahas”?

hard work is worthwhile

Is there anything else you want people to know when they watch your video?

Linda, my violinist, is a ROCK and puts up with all of my crazy nonsense

Harp Players!

Join our Summer of Improv at Hip Harp Academy and free yourself from the notes on the page.

Join Hip Harp Academy

Hip Harp Academy is a year-long membership program for harpists - from fledgling to professional - who are committed to develop their skills and self-confidence in improv, arrangement, performance and self-expression - with an award-winning coach and a vibrant, supportive creative community.

Hip Harp Academy

Carol B:

I’m taking the class so that I can enhance my ability to connect with people through music.  Every step forward IS a step forward and that is enough.

Carol's Insights about this Project

Describe your final project so I know exactly what you’re sending me.

This project is a medley of 3 Christmas Carols:
• Silent night
• Joy to the World
• We wish you a Merry Christmas

Attach your homework in PDF or JPEG format here:

Final Project – Seven Questons.pdf

What principles from this course or from chats did you use to develop, perform, and record this project – and how did they play a part in your process?

  • Do it.  Just damn well do it.  Just get out of your own way and do it!
    • It doesn’t have to be perfect.
    • Even one note can be enough.
    • Arrangement:  Intro / Melody / Exploration/ Melody / Ending – I didn’t do Exploration in the video but in the class I have learned that I can do this.
    • I learned how to video myself.
    • I learned how to trim, clip and overlay videos.
    • I remembered to use a few gestures and occasionally to look at the camera.

Give a short description of what it took for you to be able to play what you did – both logistically and emotionally.

I had to totally let go of my original plan for the project.  I had wanted to play in the Australian sunshine by the beach.  However, it’s been raining for weeks. Had to let all that go.  So I learned to overlay a video background.

I totally had to let go any idea of musicianship and instead just let what my hands do be enough.

Had to let go of the idea that I might be able to add 3rds and 6th for harmony. Had to let go of the idea that I could do an exploration.  Had to accept that at this point, while the video is running, I’m barely capable of playing a melody line, AND that has to be ok.

What freedoms and blocks within yourself did you connect with (or struggle with) in the process?

I have to get over the block that I’m not a musician.

I accept that one note, or a simple melody line is enough. I had to accept that  because I played more than one note that is ok.

Freedom:  I’m taking the class so that I can enhance my ability to connect with people through music.  Every step forward IS a step forward and that is enough.

Remember to be present and to lean into my intent.  Lean into the reason why I’m playing and let that be enough.

What challenges did you meet while connecting with your own freedom of expression in this project?

I had to get over being disappointed that I stumbled so much and could barely play more

My Freedom: well, ultimately, I did do it. And, I did upload and share it.

What other parts of your life were impacted by what you learned in this class, and how?

I noticed that my posture improved while being out there in the world.  Seeing myself on video, then intentionally trying to have better posture at the harp, and I found I had better in life in general.  In my daily life, from time to time I noticed that my posture is more erect. Of course, having better posture is also about feeling more self-confident, and that happened too.

What were your personal “Ahas”?

  • Showing up is enough.  Showing up and being myself is even better.
    • Play with intention.  Your intention will show through.

Is there anything else you want people to know when they watch your video?

I really didn’t like my video, and so actually uploading, it despite the fact I don’t like it, is major. I went ahead and uploaded it and feel glad that I did that.

Carol H:

The challenge was in letting go of what was written in the music for the bass line, and trusting that I could pull this project off.

Carol's Insights about this Project

Describe your final project so I know exactly what you’re sending me.

This is 3 minutes of a 6 minute Christmas medley with narrative.  I cut off the intro and the second half to make this fit.

What principles from this course or from chats did you use to develop, perform, and record this project – and how did they play a part in your process?

Deborah suggested I simplify by doing chords (or bass notes) in the left hand instead of following the written music.

Give a short description of what it took for you to be able to play what you did – both logistically and emotionally.

What I had to do to escape from the written notes was to cover the bass lines with black washi tape, so that I couldn’t see anything except the melody line and chord names!

What freedoms and blocks within yourself did you connect with (or struggle with) in the process?

I really struggled with this project!  I didn’t want to cover half of the music, but i did, and that freed me up to play better.  I also bit off too much, by having 6 carols in my full narrative.

What challenges did you meet while connecting with your own freedom of expression in this project?

The challenge was in letting go of what was written in the music for the bass line, and trusting that I could pull this project off.  (Some of what was written did come through, simply because I knew it without seeing the notes.)

What other parts of your life were impacted by what you learned in this class, and how?

Going backwards in playing music, or in other aspects of life, is not helpful.  Keep moving ahead.

What were your personal “Ahas”?

I feel like I regressed, in some ways, so I had to simplify to move ahead.

Kirsti:

Knowing that it was not about perfection really helps me. I have not sung for so long, that I would rather sing and not be perfect, than not sing at all.

Kirsti's Insights about this Project

Describe your final project so I know exactly what you’re sending me.

This is my final project for Hip Harp Tool Kit.  It is a medley of three Christmas songs from the popular and musical theater genre.  I am singing as well as playing my arrangement.

What principles from this course or from chats did you use to develop, perform, and record this project – and how did they play a part in your process?

In this arrangement I used many ideas from chats and from the first few modules, such as a repeating theme at the beginning and end to tie it together, ascending cookie cutter chords over the dominant for my intro. Simplifying accompaniment when singing. Glissandos, descending 9th chords, using 6ths to enhance the melody, the tag repeating 3 times, going to the relative minor before going to the tonic.

Give a short description of what it took for you to be able to play what you did – both logistically and emotionally.

Knowing that it was not about perfection really helps me. I have not sung for so long, that I would rather sing and not be perfect, than not sing at all. Feeling emotionally connected to the medley I put together, that it expresses how I feel, and how I imagine others might be feeling right now. Knowing that when what I was doing was too hard, that I should simplify it.  Knowing that when I cannot simplify it, that doing my closest approximation is good enough.

What freedoms and blocks within yourself did you connect with (or struggle with) in the process?

When I was a classical singer, there was an idea that I should be a soprano and that I should sing things a certain way and in certain keys.  Taking a long break from singing and coming back not caring about the rules.  Putting it in the key that resonates with me – and if I do not want to sing the high notes I can change things that work for me and my voice, and what I want to express.  That is freedom.  There is no construct I have to adhere to anymore.  One sound is not superior to another.  It’s about how true the sound is to me.

What challenges did you meet while connecting with your own freedom of expression in this project?

Being ambitious and hearing things that I do not have the ability to play yet could have bogged me down, but I just remembered what you said about playing below my skill level.  I still pushed the envelope because that’s just me – I tend to go for what is more challenging.  But I felt like I was more gentle with myself – like – okay that’s not there yet, what else can I do to express what I want here?

What other parts of your life were impacted by what you learned in this class, and how?

I’ve been taking a sound healing course with bowls and voice, and it has really opened up my relationship to my voice and to other people’s voices and the sounds we make.  I am starting to hear my voice differently and appreciate what it is, and not so much trying to make it something else as in the past.  That’s huge for me.  It’s the same with harp.  Your course is about optimizing what you can do where you are now, and that approach is more fun! Interestingly, I learned quite a bit even though I was not so obsessed with mastering new skills.  I picked out some things from your curriculum and practiced them, and incorporated them – it was more about quality than quantity.

What were your personal “Ahas”?

I cannot be who I am if I keep trying to be someone else – musically or personally.  It was a big deal to hand in this project in which my singing and playing is not perfect or polished.  But if I do not share, I cannot grow, because I can only grow from who and where I am now.  I glanced at my Christmas video from last year – from before I joined HHA and I just see how cautious I was.  I’m sure I can stand to become even less inhibited, but this project feels like I am embracing the “full catastrophe” of being me, in comparison with the past.

Is there anything else you want people to know when they watch your video?

I am in a healing process with my voice – I know there is stored trauma around my voice and throat, but I am moving through it and I am so happy to be singing again and to be finding a new relationship with my voice.

JD:

Thanks to Deborah and all you inspiring Hip Harpists for helping me try my hand at acquiring new skills in arranging and lever changing. An opening for me to a new and wonderful world!

JD's Insights about this Project

Describe your final project so I know exactly what you’re sending me.

This is my own tune. I created it a while ago as a gift for my husband. There are lyrics but decided, for the purposes of this project, it was best not to complicate things with singing.
I thought it might be mellow and slow enough to help me focus on changing keys with my levers as well as work it into a 5 part arrangement.
Perhaps I will use this tune  in a simple ‘winter music’ video greeting for some of my family and friends during this holiday season. If so, this is a sample of what it might be like.

Thanks to Deborah and all you inspiring hipharpists for helping me try my hand at acquiring new skills in arranging and lever changing. An opening for me to a new and wonderful world!

What principles from this course or from chats did you use to develop, perform, and record this project – and how did they play a part in your process?

Five part arrangement, key changing, embellishments, vamping in the intro and ending.
They all played a part in helping me to broaden my scope in playing a simple tune.

Give a short description of what it took for you to be able to play what you did – both logistically and emotionally.

I experimented with different keys, embellishments, noodling etc. After doing several ‘takes’ I opted to present you with the shortest of my imperfect renderings.
I was playing the melody from memory and reading the left hand chords I had written for myself. Felt that this came out a bit with a hesitancy in the flow and an occasional ‘mid-pluck’ but decided to go with Deborah’s motto of ‘connection, not perfection’!

What freedoms and blocks within yourself did you connect with (or struggle with) in the process?

I was a bit tired that day so perhaps my focus and energy were not the best. Every time I turned on the video button I could feel the nervous tension in my hands and chest. Deep breathing helped a little.

What challenges did you meet while connecting with your own freedom of expression in this project?

Nerves, hesitancy, muscle memory were all challenges.

What other parts of your life were impacted by what you learned in this class, and how?

Just learning to ‘give things a go’ without worrying about being judged on imperfection.

What were your personal “Ahas”?

I can actually change levers while playing! This can only get easier with practice!

Enjoyed expanding any tune with the 5 point arrangement, thus making it more interesting for oneself and the listener. Loved doing this!

Special Thanks

Very special thanks to harpist Sally Walstrum for collecting and curating these video gifts (including the 20+ others that we’ll be sharing in coming days). Sally – you are a joy and an inspiration.  And thanks to everyone in the Academy for your willingness to share your gifts with the world. You make this a richer world to live in. (DHC 12/24/21)

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