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 Jana about this project:

A note from DHC:  When I saw the original sketch for this project I laughed out loud in surprise and delight – and it was so much fun I encouraged Jana to submit it as her final project.  Never have I heard a medley that combines “The Yodler” with Beethoven’s Fifth – and when you read the postscript on the video, that coupling will make perfect sense.

QUESTION: What did it take for you to get to the place of being able to play what you did – both logistically and emotionally

Well logistically the main challenge was to move furniture in order to create a set where I’m not squeezed between my wardrobe and my bookshelf 🙂 As to the emotional aspect I really struggled with the fact that I was considering it the final re-baked version and not another half-baked one – It just changed something in me that hindered me from playing it the way I was hearing it in my imagination… And it took me quite a while to loosen up.

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

I discovered the freedom that comes along with being yourself. Whenever I made it to that point of being really connected to myself I was able to shake off all the insecurities and self doubts and that is indeed an AMAZING feeling 🙂

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

A real challenge was recording it because I could see myself on the screen of my laptop and that made me worry way too much about not making weird faces or whatever – I then decided to not look at the camera too much and when looking at the screen trying to see an audience in my “on-the-screen-self” rather than seeing myself.

QUESTION: What were your personal “Ahas”?

The answer to the 3rd question was also one of the “Ahas”: I can be the performer and the audience! – and I also found a way to visualize those 2 aspects – while performing

After 3 online courses I finally feel like I know what a VAMP is!!!!!!! 🙂

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

This is a Medley of 3 traditional Austrian tunes and I chose it because this is my root’s music. The course focusing on traditional Celtic music really helped me to connect with my country’s traditional music again so it was really important to me to choose this as a “topic” for the final project.

DHC says:  

I LOVE that a course focused on one tradition led you to embrace a completely different one (and it reminds me of my own experience of taking FROM tradition rather than playing WITHIN tradition – but in your case you use one tradition to help you ILLUMINATE another!) and I love how you’ve created both a historical and musical journey to Austria in about 3 minutes – with a harp.

It’s been so fun to have you in the course, and have you reinvent so many of the exercises, always using whatever you have – if it’s the limitations of a toy harp, or the limitations of exhaustion – to come up with inventive and deeply personal projects … and with so much natural humor.  I love the combination of raw character and spurts of dazzling technical playing.  Really fun!

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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