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 learn more about these final projects – and why they’re called “Beginning Projects”  here. – Learn more about the course here:

A brief interview with Cymber about this project:

QUESTION: Can you tell us what it took for you to get to the place of being able to play what you did – both logistically and emotionally

This piece started as the first CD I wrote and produced, called Seasons of the Soul. It’s a 5-part healing work, based on the 5 organ systems of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

In its original form it’s about 55 minutes long. In my Half-Baked version, I shortened each section to 24 seconds, in order to keep the entire piece under 2 minutes. In the final version, I represented each season with one chord, and started talking.

The biggest emotional struggle has been figuring out what I’m doing with the harp, and where I will find my audience. I know I’m not a traditional player of lots of harp music, but I borrow from lots of traditions.

I wanted my music to be both creative and of service. I kept thinking that this should just come to me whole cloth because many of my ideas do. But this focus for my music has been dribbling out. It’s taking a nice form in this final project.

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

I found it very freeing to be working entirely on my own compositions. That way I never have to worry about making mistakes. No one will know, and I often find new ideas that way.

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

The first challenge was to let go of the notion that I needed to play Celtic music, because that’s what the course was billed as. Once I let go of that, and started digging deeper into Seasons of the Soul, I found the creative process to be a lot easier, and a lot more fun.

QUESTION: What were your personal “Ahas” & Takeaways?

Be willing to let go of an old formula and create a new one.

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

Please join me for Mid-Day Meditations on Fridays on the Creating Calm Network. I take requests, and can help you create a little pocket of inner peace during your day.

DHC says:

I love that you were able to take the course using your own music, and take the parts the empower that.  I also really enjoyed your “half-baked” version – and I love the idea of distilling an entire album down into a single chord per song.  I look forward to coming to the Mid-Day Meditation!  Please put a link to it in the comments below – I’m sure I’m not the only one who will want to be there.


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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