Welcome to Hip Harp Academy Member Spotlight Series: Grounded Expansion Quarter (Part 3 of 3)

For this year’s second quarter, Hip Harp Academy Members poured out their creativity to the next level, putting their creative expression into forms so that they can share it with others. And now, I’m sharing them with you!

Scroll down to see the projects – but first, take a moment to think about the power of people sharing their creative PROCESS instead of a PERFECTED “PRESENTATION.”  What you’ll learn from these videos – and the mini-interviews in which they share their process – will be far more inspiring to your creativity than someone sharing a trendy video with five gazillion hits.  This is creative process – and in these shares, you get to glimpse into the process of other people like you and HOW they overcame their own blocks to accomplish their next creative goal.

The Hip Harp Academy Members’ Final Beginning Project

How to enjoy these wonderful video shares:  Enjoy the creativity and the willingness to share. Think about the fact that each of these videos is a unique creation – none of these musicians are playing written sheet music – they’ve created these arrangements by learning the fundamentals of arrangement and improvisation and putting them into play – literally – in their own creations. And notice how different each video and each project is from the others … and yet they were all taking the exact same class.

This is the power of learning the tools of self-expression and creativity. 

“Final-Beginning” is a term we use remind ourselves that these are not meant to be “Final” projects. If we worry about making them ‘FINAL’, we’d never share!  Instead, we learn to embody a moment of completion as a new beginning: to acknowledge an accomplishment as something that opens up a new door, a new place to stand in, a new level of confidence – not the FINAL – it’s not the END … but the new BEGINNING.

So think about that as you watch them and read their own account of their personal creative journey in creating each video by clicking the toggle beneath each video – and I encourage you to do that if you really want to be inspired.

Some of the players have played for years, and even 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, and 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.

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

Want more confidence, creativity support and freedom from the notes on the page?

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

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See all the Academy Member Spotlight Series:
Part #1  –  Part #2  –  Part #3

Carol:

The process of doing this, and finding that the ceiling does not collapse on me and the sun still rises the next day, even though what I have shared seems so imperfect, has given me the courage to put my hand up to organise a conference even though I really don’t know how on earth it will work out.

.

Carol's Insights about this Project

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

I’m submitting this to have a form of completion this quarter, but it’s not half baked, it’s quarter baked.  It’s more a place holder for an idea.  Every time I heard the words ‘Baroque Flamenco’ I found the words ‘Broke Flamingo’ swirling around in my head.  I just had to do something with that… it’s nowhere near what I imagine it might become, but I found as I pulled it into some kind of reality that it reference a period of my life when I felt broken…. I wonder where thhhis might go.

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?

Connection not perfection!   I connected with the idea that had been swirling around in my head, I connected with some old emotion that I need to explore more, I connected with my harp, I connected with my hope that I might one day tell stories or speak and sing with the harp, and it might connect with some listeners.

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

Courage.
It took courage to let something which feels so far from ready to be shared, to be seen by others.

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

The Freedom is to do it anyway, even though it’s not ready.  And that’s because I trust this Hip Harp community.  
The block is ‘it’s not good enough’, Truly I know it’s not good enough.

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

See answer to the question above.

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

The process of doing this, and finding that the ceiling does not collapse on me, and the sun still rises the next day, even though what I have shared seems so imperfect, has given me the courage to put my hand up to organise a conference even though I really don’t know how on earth it will work out.

What were your personal “Ahas”?

It’s bad, but it’s not quite as bad as I thought it was.

Janet:

Look for patterns to help lean new things, practice/do what was hard will become easier

Janet's Insights about this Project

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

Short Video of the beginning of Pedal harp modulation from Cb to t0 Db, 

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?

The modulation staircase is only availble for Eb to D for pedal harp at this time. Ilearned the pattern and was able to get grounded in that and then work out the chord progressions for all the other keys around the whole cirlce of 5th. I enjoyed it a lot and found how learning a pattern and applying that pattern expanded what I could play with no acutal written music.

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

Working out the arpeggios in the first key and the Chord progression and seeing that the pattern continued into the next key.

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

The freedom was I did not need any music to play my all the way around the circle of 5th. My blocks was getting the chords of the progression and the pedal that need to be moved to advance to the next key.That is why I made the first charts of the keys and chord to play with the pedal/lever to change. 

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

Trying to read and follow the lines on my chart I decided I need a quick easy way to remember the chords for each key and that really there were only 7 to learn, so I made up the phrases to remember them by.

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

Look for patterns to help lean new things, practice/do what was hard will become easier, 

What were your personal “Ahas”?

At first I thought I have all 15 or so progression to learn, not thinking that each note has 3 ways to be played. In playing them I realized I just played that prgression and by writing them down i could see that there really was only 7. 

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

This is a short video of only moving from Cb to Db, for me right now to play all the way from Cb to B takes about 20 -30 minutes. I am meeting my goal with this practice of learning my pedals and what pedals need to be engaged for each key. 

HW:

Intros and Cadenzas are becoming fun.  I think the DHC-Shelley FairPlay master class was a huge part of that.  I struggled with cadenzas until I saw Shelley doing her intro and then it clicked.

HW's Insights about this Project

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

Having a ‘final beginning’ version of my “Snippet Library and Noddle Toolkit” (should be attached), I have begin doing the ‘transformative’ part of practicing with it (still in the rough stages.)  This is today’s sample of that practice: Intro the harp, Intro in G7, and Snippet is Circle of Fifths
C F B E A D G C

Attach your homework in PDF or JPEG format here:

SnippetLibraryAndNoodleToolkit_2 June 2024 HRW.pdf

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 a nearly-current version of my Snippet Library & Noodle Toolkit.

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?

From chats: I collected Snippets that seemed either grounding or enticing to me. The Snippet Library includes chord progressions & basslines; connections & transitions; & Noodle Toolkit.

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

  1. Being an “analytical” personality means I’m driven to “collect all the data”…. “before I start”.  Mid quarter I realized I wanted a snippet library.  Watching DHC & Shelley Fairplay it had to include some “introducing the harp”.  It still all feels pretty incomplete— but its time for Final Beginnings, so here it is ready or not.

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

Freedom: I’m loving the 5 minute timer with intros and snippets.  My fingers are moving again.
Blocks: It took me a long time to realize that I might learn to play Baroque Flamenco but it’s not why I came— DHC asking “why did you come to the academy” made me remember why I came, and the Snippet library, noodling improv tools, and fluency IS why I came.

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

Nerves!!  Feeling like it’s not done. (But I did read the directions so here it is…)

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

I adapted Carol Booth’s grounding meditation, organized a set of scriptures to go with it, and began work on that (although sometimes I forget and just start playing).  Otherwise it’s hard to say at the moment since this is a very (final) “beginning”. Maybe I’ll know more later.

What were your personal “Ahas”?

Intros and Cadenzas are becoming fun.  I think the DHC-Shelley FairPlay master class was a huge part of that.  I struggled with cadenzas until I saw Shelley doing her intro and then it clicked (maybe her Welshness is a contributing Celtic factor to why I could catch it from her)

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

Make a library of your own, it’s fun!

Want more confidence, creativity support and freedom from the notes on the page?

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

>> Classes Start Mon. July 22 - Join Now to get $400 off <<

Debra Knodel:

This class is a huge stress relief for me…Retiring to my music room is wonderful therapy, and making any kind of progress helps even more!

Debra's Insights about this Project

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

This is a resubmission of my 2nd quarter project. I was having trouble sorting through a multitude of noodles and ideas but after the Monday June 3 chat, I got some new things to try. I pared it all down into a map that I could remember and repeat, used a version of the arpeggios in some parts and tightened up other parts. To me, this version sounds like someone is taking a brisk walk along a sunny trail, suddenly comes to a shaded pool, sits and contemplates the pool for a bit and then continues on their merry way. I love to take Celtic tunes and expand them with jazzy things and other stuff. Bring them forward in history as it were and see what the harp is capable of. Note: I had a stroke in 2021 and my left hand is slightly compromised, so I can no longer do some of the more intricate things I was doing before with left hand.  I really enjoyed working on this, and it has brough me back to playing wire harp, which I always enjoy.

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?

Glide, arpeggios, expand on a chord progression, don’t worry about if it is too simple, make a map of the arrangement and stick to it (you can always add to it later).

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

I was having trouble sorting through a multitude of noodles and ideas but after the Monday June 3 chat, I got some new things to try. I pared it all down into a map that I could remember and repeat, used a version of the arpeggios in some parts and tightened up other parts. To me, this version sounds like someone is taking a brisk walk along a sunny trail, suddenly comes to a shaded pool, sits and contemplates the pool for a bit and then continues on their merry way. I love to take Celtic tunes and expand them with jazzy things and other stuff. Bring them forward in history as it were and see what the harp is capable of. Note: I had a stroke in 2021 and my left hand is slightly compromised, so I can no longer do some of the more intricate things I was doing before with left hand.  I really enjoyed working on this, and it has brough me back to playing wire harp, which I always enjoy.

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

Biggest block was getting the video right. There are sill a few mistakes in this submission, but I got tired of hitting the record button. I would like to edit the audio tracks of videos, so this has spurred me to investigate software that will do that for future submissions.

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

I got bogged down with too many ideas that I was having trouble remembering long enough to explore further, even though I recorded most of them. I had trouble narrowing it down to a set map, but eventually got there.

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

This class is a huge stress relief for me just now as I am dealing with an aging partner with health issues and it is extremely difficult. Retiring to my music room is wonderful therapy, and making any kind of progress helps even more!

What were your personal “Ahas”?

Recognize chord progressions and play with them, use the arpeggios (one finger in left hand and rest in right hand) because they ground you and help you achieve glide. Make a map and stick to it. You can always change it later.

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

I have had a hard time with this – it is now late at night, and although I liked it earlier, I am having doubts now. My first attempt to upload a clip where I had adjusted the audio did not work, so this is the raw file. 

Frank:

Dare to step back from the written sheet music in order to observe what will happen.

Frank's Insights about this Project

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

It is supposed to be a short version of baroque flamenco but with slightly different rhythms.

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?

Dare to step back from the written sheet music, in order to observe what will happen.

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

I prepared a short structure that I wanted to follow while playing….but that piece became way too long…so I had to shorten it, skip the repetitions etc.

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

freedoms: to toss around with different rhythms…
blocks: to fing a proper transition back to the baroque theme

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

to be satisfied with the things achieved…..not permantently trying to improve

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

music is all around…..some snippets or short melodies sometimes swirl around my head, wherever I am….

What were your personal “Ahas”?

once you take your time, sit down and try, something will always come out!

Romana Buaiscia:

I somehow feel more freedom to play the harp after every class. As if I got permission to improvise, without judgment.

Romana's Insights about this Project

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

Impression of Largo from The New World Symphony by Dvořák

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?

You can take a piece of music, create a simple structure, and expand it.

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

I was hesitant to use a classical piece by a composer I admire and create a very simple and limited version of it. It took me a while to allow myself to do it.

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

I always struggle with my limited abilities to play the harp, lack of technique and fear of ridicule. Once I gave it a try, I enjoyed the freedom of improvisation without sheet music.

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

I really wanted to play the original melody and express my love for its beauty, but I also struggled with my fear of demeaning it or making it sound cheap.

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

I somehow feel more freedom to play the harp after every class. As if I got permission to improvise, without judgment.

What were your personal “Ahas”?

I can create an impression of a piece of music I like without any sheet music and despite my limited ability to play the harp.

See all the Academy Member Spotlight Series:
Part #1  –  Part #2  –  Part #3

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