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 shares who the Hip Harp Academy is for and how it can help their own self-expression. It is in line with her mission to support harpists of all levels.

Check out Deborah’s answer to the question: Who is the Hip Harp Academy For?

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

Who is the Hip Harp Academy For?

Who’s the Hip Harp Academy for? It is for people who want to express themselves using the harp as a creative platform. So it is not for people who want to learn to do the perfect thing with their hands and stuff like that. That’s just not what I’m about. I am all about seeing this instrument as this magnificent tool for self -expression and as a magnificent extension of our own body. One of the things that I really love about the harp is that when you imagine that your hands are silent, your hands can’t speak or sing, the harp is also silent until, until they come together.

And that is the foundation of realizing that this is all about self-expression. It’s not about trying to do something right. And that’s why the motto of the Academy is connection, not perfection. Therefore the Academy is for impassioned harpers and impassioned people with a harp who want to express themselves.

And it has nothing to do with what your technical level is. Because people are learning principles and many people who have played the harp their whole life are stuck because they’ve got a classical mind.

They use the principles to become free from that classical mind. There are many other people in the Academy who are playing the harp after a whole lifetime of doing something completely different. And they’re using the principles to ground in the first connection with the instrument. And so you would think with a big spectrum, people who are, I call fledgling players, people who can play the harp. play, but they, you know, they’ve only been doing it a year or two, up to people who have been doing it their whole lives.

And you’d think, like, how do those people learn together? And you think like, oh, I see, maybe the people who’ve been doing it a long time, they’re kind of showing the others, but that’s not at all what happens. Often it is the people who are just getting started who don’t have a lot of preconceptions who are able to be freer and to show that freedom in their playing to everybody else. And that, when I say show their freedom, everyone in the Academy is looking for that freedom and that self-expression.

And part of the Academy is learning from me, but a big part of the Academy is learning from each other, and not by others teaching each other, but by others sharing, vulnerably in a safe environment, what they’re working on, what they’re trying to do, and then being guided by what is working. I’m not going to sit there and critique what you’re doing. I’m never going to do that. That’s just not interesting to me. What’s interesting to me is to look and see what are you doing that you don’t know that you’re doing?

What is working that you don’t even know it’s working? What are you doing naturally that you’re going to probably throw away unless I point it out to you and say, look, that’s amazing. That is you and it’s nobody else and that is the foundation of how you can now express yourself with this instrument as a partner, as a platform, as a sounding board, as part of your resonance.

So who is the Academy for? It is for people who want to express themselves with an instrument.

If you play the harp:
In this interview, Deborah Henson-Conant shared who is the Hip Harp Academy for, how the members who want to learn can benefit from being a part of the community, and her goal for all of the members – to nurture and support harpists. To see, other interview videos of Deborah about the Hip Harp Academy, go to this YouTube video playlist.

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