It started about 3 years ago. My husband told me I should consider taking an online course.
Which I thought was ridiculous.
But it was a course in Social Media marketing specifically for musicians – and I didn’t even know how to post on my own Facebook page.
I couldn’t argue with him.
I really needed that course.
Well, 12 weeks later, I was creating widgets, writing a blog … and I even knew how to re-Tweet.
It was online! Who’d expect the teacher would be so present, the course so well-organized, that I’d have an amazing amount of personal interaction with the instructor? Online.
I was hooked.
After that I signed up to study Orchestration (yes, I know I got a Grammy Nomination for my orchestrated music – but I’d never actually studied orchestration and I wanted to fill in some of the gaps), and that was great, too.
Then I signed up for a couple online courses I really didn’t like … and I started to realize I know what works and doesn’t work for me in an online course.
I started getting opinionated.
I took online courses in business, in video editing, in media relations, in creating your own TV studio – and when guitar legend Steve Vai invited me to go on tour as a member of his band, I took an amazing 12-week online course in “guitar techniques of Steve Vai” (you can see one of my homework videos from that course below). I learned to Tweet-and-Retweet, to Uplevel my Life, to Uplevel my Business, to build my Media Moxie …
I was an online-course junkie.
And then one day … I took an online course in how to create online courses.
Now I was really hooked.
And four weeks later … I had designed my own online course, “Arrange Yourself.“
I knew exactly who I wanted to teach: people like me. Harp players who want to play a new version of themselves that they don’t even know yet. And I knew how I wanted to teach. And I knew what I wanted to teach.
And finally, only because of the internet, I knew how to reach my students – my community, which is growing, but still thinly populated around the world – my “HipHarp Nation.”
I started imagining what my students would be able to do at the end of the course – actually fantasizing about the moment they played this new thing for their husband or cousin or cat, how excited they’d feel, how people would look a them differently, hug them, congratulate them. And that got me really, really excited. It felt like I was creating a carnival ride, or a celebration – like concocting a marvelous something that would make it possible for someone to change their own life – to do a specific thing they hadn’t been able to do 4 or 5 weeks before.
This is the magic of it – the transformation.
Yesterday I launched my second course, “BLUES: Harp-Style!” – which begins May 13 (the day after Mother’s Day) … and I can’t wait to see comes out of this new transformation.
WONDERFUL. I really LOVE that you explained exactly how online courses have changed you!
This is really inspiring! I may have to take the plunge myself into creating one soon…
BTW, where did you take an orchestration course? Devin would really like to do that, I think!
Marta – I took the Orchestration course through Berklee Online. Their course structure is really great. When the teachers are good (which is the majority of the time), the courses there are stellar. The best ones I’ve taken there so far are Mike King’s Social Media Marketing courses (I took his twice, he’s such a great teacher), Video Editing with Final Cut Pro, Orchestration, Guitar Techniques of Steve Vai (sooooo fun to take that on harp!), and a publishing course.
Also – if Devin has an affiliation with BMI or NARAS or a few other organizations, he can get a discount.
The online courses are great! I’d love to tell you I miss the 8 hour (each way) drive up to study with you, but having the option to put what we learn into practice immediately, instead of after a grueling drive home, has made this method of study far more affordable and productive for me. Now I can save those trips up for the times when I need to polish something, or get re-inspired, and use the online courses to get the fundamentals, try things out, and make a real mess of things. What fun!
You’re within 8 hours? I’m jealous. From here it’s 3 long days to visit my sister, who lives about an hour north of Deborah.
Thanks Betsy — I feel the same!
One of the reasons I determined to create these online courses was that I discovered that when I’d start working with people, they were often missing these key concepts that I base my work on (like structure is the foundation of creative freedom – and how to put that into practice) – and I realized that if I created online courses to teach those fundamentals, then everyone could get them at lower cost, with a greater follow-through, go at their own pace — and then, when we DO meet in person, we’re all working at a higher level.
Also, once I discovered, as a student, how much I get out of well-run online courses, it just made perfect sense. So I’m really glad it’s working for you!
Opinionated? YOU????? Deborah, I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.
I’m a music “appreciator” and a big fan of yours from hearing you in Grand Rapids MI and last year in Benton Harbor. I am a technology teacher for older adults and a web junkie myself. I’ve been “following” you since you started online and it’s been just great to experience how you’ve expanded your already amazing creativity and musicality in a completely new way. Love going to your concerts in PJs. Always eagerly anticipating what you’re going to come up with next. Wish I could take one of your online courses, but alas, I appreciate and love but do not play the harp.
Thanks so much, Rose! I got excited when I read you are a technology teacher for older adults. Brava for you!!!! And I love hearing that you lie the online PJ concerts! Hmmm … maybe I’ll do an “Online PJ Series.”
Thanks so much for writing – and for reflecting for me the ways I’ve been exploring – I can sometimes forget that and take it for granted.
And I miss Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Symphony – I lOVE them!!! And I LOVED my time in Benton Harbor last year. Did you see the blog I wrote about my visit to the school there? I was blown away by the kids and the faculty. I can’t remember the link to that blog right now, but if I find it, I’ll add it (or maybe you’ll find it and add it!)
Thanks! – DHC