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 explains one of the most used words in Hip Harp Academy – “snippet”. She shares how it became a regular segment of the Academy, as part of her mission to support harpists of all levels.

Check out Deborah’s answer to the question: What is a “Snippet”?

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

What is a “Snippet”?

So what is a snippet? A snippet is a little bit of compositional DNA and as a composer, it’s just I’ve used these all my life. I’ve discovered them since I was a little kid and then I put them together.

But snippets happened because one day one of the students said, can you just tell us I want to just have a little accompaniment pattern? Can you show me what it might be? And so I showed her and she was like, cool, and I taught everybody how to play it. And then the next week she said, can I have another one of those? And I was like, OK, here’s another one. And then she said, can I have another one of those snippets? And I was like, OK, here’s another.

And it started being part of each week. And I would always do it at the beginning of the lesson so that people could literally play these as we were going through the chat because there’s something to be said for playing when you’re not thinking as well as playing when you’re thinking.

So a snippet is something like this … [plays a snippet in the harp] … It might be something as simple as … [plays a snippet in the harp] … And then those are actually three different things together. It’s a base note. It’s a shape of a sixth. And then I move that shape up one step. So a lot of the snippets have to do with learning shapes. So you play a base note, you play one shape and you move it up a step. And now the harps are ringing and you play a melody, meaning just notes together.

And part of what I’m always trying to teach is the fundamentals of music, the structures, the snippets, and always pointing to base accompaniment and melody, the three roles, so that we learn to improvise and improvise freely. And that’s been one of the amazing things to hear members of the Academy talk about, to have them talk about that freedom that they’re experiencing through learning this way. And it’s such a fun thing because it’s something that came not from me initially, but from the members asking for something.

If you play the harp:

In this informative interview, Deborah Henson-Conant explains what a snippet is and how it works in the Hip Harp Academy – where it started as requested by member harpists. To see, other interview videos of Deborah about the Hip Harp Academy, go to this YouTube video playlist.

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