This blog is one of a series. Each includes one of the students’ final projects from my online course “Hip Harp Toolkit,” along with  their answers to five questions I asked them to answer. You can Star of the County Down – Trad., Maire Dhall – O’Carolan, Taylor’s Twist – Trad.

1) What were your logistical and emotional challenges: Generally it takes so much more practice to get these things ready and I felt unprepared in so many ways. The technical reality of getting this on YouTube was much more time consuming and emotionally exausting – LONG STORY – than I expected. Sorry, it may be about 20 minutes late…

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

It’s just really fun to focus on this music and use the modulating tools that I learned.

Blocks: I encountered MUCH distraction had only small chunks of time to put this together. Feeling I have the attention span of a gnat.

3. What challenges did you meet to connect with your own freedom of expression in this project?

I have trouble remembering what I liked about how I arranged things and how to reproduce the good stuff. I get especially frustrated with the fact that I didn’t have these things memorized and find it distracting that I’m constantly looking at the music.

4. What were your personal “Ahas”?

Aha’s were mostly musical. Transitions were FUN! I learned a lot about the camera angle and observed my previous videos to make (hopefully) positive changes.

5. Is there anything else you’d like to tell people who are watching your video?

I hope that the love I have for this style of music comes through.


DHC says:  

Well, I certainly enjoyed watching it, loved the contrast between tunes, and your phrasing, which makes (even the) ballads so interesting and fun to listen to (!).  And I really enjoy the physicality of your playing and how it relates to the musical phrases.  Really fun!!

(I don’t mean to dis ballads – I just really enjoyed seeing that a slow song on the harp can have such exciting phrasing and expression!)

What was this project all about?  What were the Guidelines?  The project description was to take 3 contrasting tunes and create a medley no more than 3.5 minutes using techniques from the course, like introductions, melodic improvising, embellishing, turnaround endings and modulating from key to key. (If you’re not a musician, you’ll know when they’re modulating when you see them reach up to shift the levers, which change the harp into a new key).

One of the core principles of the course is “Imperfect Completion” so each of the “Final Projects” is really a “Beginning Project.”

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