Welcome to a one-on-one interview with Grammy-nominated harpist Deborah Henson-Conant, the mastermind behind “Hip Harp Academy” – an online academy where harp enthusiasts come together to learn, inspire, and grow in their musical journey.

In this exclusive interview, Deborah emphasizes that overcoming the feeling of being stuck is a common challenge among musicians. In the Academy, she employs various strategies and resources to empower students and help them break through creative blocks.

Check out Deborah’s answer to the question: How Do You Help Students Overcome the Feeling of Being Stuck?

Watch the video above or read the transcript of the interview below.

How Do You Help Students Overcome the Feeling of Being Stuck?

A lot of people come to the Academy because they’re feeling stuck. And a lot of them read the motto connection, not perfection. And they’re like, Yes, that’s what I want.

Because so many of us, me included, are badgered by this perfectionism, and the harp, because it’s this intricate instrument. And because we’ve seen so many amazing harpists, who can do all these things, and it looks like magic. And because there’s all kinds of little things that can be crazy, making like, Oh, I’m making a buzz, or I’m doing you know, whatever. And because we worry about playing for other harp players, all those things can make it almost impossible to play with any kind of freedom.

And I remember when I was first starting, I could fake music on the harp. I mean, anyone can fake music on the harp, because literally, you can play one note, I am now faking music on the harp, you know, it’s I mean, it’s amazing instrument in some ways, it’s the easiest instrument to play.

But I was like, no, no, no, I’m not going to do that. I am going to be a real harp player. And I’m going to impress myself and prove myself that I can really do this. And literally, like I had the idea that I was not a real musician, and the way that I would be able to prove to myself that I was a real musician, if as if I could actually play classical music and make it sound good.

And I remember struggling so much. And I remember literally, literally throwing myself down on the floor and sobbing and saying, “Why do I have to work twice as hard to be half as good as anybody else?” All the time, I could have played and sung, because that was what was natural for me. What was natural for me – so many of us cannot see what is natural for us.

And I am going to talk about the one person who was in the academy. And one day I got an email from her. And she was like, “Should I just give up because I’m just not, I’m just not gonna get this?” And I wrote back and I don’t remember what I said, but I was like, “I have it that you use are seeing yourself this way. But you’re actually this way, if you can just let yourself respect who you are.” She was just funny. She is this funny, incredibly personable person who makes these wonderful videos that just make you love her. You’re just smiling the whole time. But all she could see was that it wasn’t like this, or it wasn’t like that. And that’s not just her. I am guilty of that myself. It what it all she could see was what it wasn’t. And once we were able to get through that. And she was able to trust that I was like, “No, you are, you are this wonderful, wonderful thing, can we please have this wonderful thing.”

And then she’s just started sharing more and more of these wonderful funny. Just, it just keeps going. It just it’s like this fountain of creativity. And that’s … she didn’t get better. She didn’t have to get better, there was nothing wrong with who she was, she was just trying to do something that she wasn’t ready to do, instead of actually sharing who she already is. This is both the hardest and the easiest thing to do.

And I hear over and over again in the academy when it’s almost like this light bulb pops in people’s heads and they’re like, simple is beautiful. And when they’re talking about it, it might not even sound simple to you. It’s just that they’re not beating themselves up with trying to do something that just is too complicated. It’s not better, it’s not better, because it’s complicated. I had it it was better because it was complicated. And it was you know, nobody knew what I was doing and they were gonna be amazing. And what’s what I’m teaching, and what I’m learning from everyone is how much courage it takes to actually be ourselves and how the harp can help us do that. It gives us the space to think. It gives us the space to feel.

And what I’m doing here right now is very, very simple. And even though it may look like I’m talking and playing at the same time, I’m not. I’m talking and then I’m playing and then I’m talking and then I’m playing, I could do it with singing as well. So a lot of what we think is complicated when we break it down, and we can do it simply and we can ground in it, and we can start to make it our own. And we can do it over and over until it starts to resonate instead of beating ourselves up because we can’t do it, then, we start to be able to express ourselves.

And that is all I want. To hear that, to see that to experience that. That, to me, is the most rich performance, the most rewarding performance I could ever see. And that’s what I get to see every single week in the academy.

If you play the harp:

In this interview, Deborah ensured that members will find the inspiration and support they need to move beyond any creative obstacles they may encounter inside Hip Harp Academy. To see, other interview videos of Deborah about the Hip Harp Academy, go to this YouTube video playlist.

By offering a community-driven and inclusive platform for harpists at every stage, the Hip Harp Academy continues to pave the way for musical growth, self-expression, and meaningful connections.

So, if you're looking for more confidence, creativity support and gaining freedom from the notes on the page click the button below and join the Hip Harp Academy.

I invite YOU to join this powerful, supportive, creative community.

Deborah Henson-Conant & Hip Harp Academy Present



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