Clarity is beauty. And it’s sooooo hard to get there.
I just spent two hours rewriting a welcome script for students to my like me, have trouble intuiting the cryptic online templates my shopping cart gives me.
I bought a special URL, “DHC-TV.com” so people could easily connect to ALL my Livestream shows like the one this coming Sunday because the URL for each individual show changes each time. I have trouble finding the individual shows, so I assume it’s even harder for audiences.
This is my challenge, as an artist, an educator, an inventor, an entrepreneur: to create clarity. To help people find a way that I, myself, have trouble finding.
It’s a lifelong practice. And sometimes I feel like I’m kicking & screaming my way there.
Because sometimes the biggest thing in the way … is ME.
Right now I’m in the middle of three experiments to reach that clarity and beauty by giving up control.
Yes, I realize the paradox: that I’ve created controlled experiments on myself to give up control.
Experiment #1: Getting Out of the Way of Artistic Clarity
I’m about to release a new album – alternately titled “Long to Touch” and “I Sing the Harp Electric” (I’m still working on the title). I’ve learned that, left on my own, I’ll perfect a piece to death. I’ll keep ‘fixing’ every aspect that I hear as a mistake until the initial impulse is gone.
I’ve watched other performers do the same thing in recording sessions. I know it’s musical death. And I know the compulsion to do it.
So this time I’ve consciously pulled myself out. Consciously turned the files over to brilliant professionals: producer Jonathan Wyner and engineer Tom Bates. In a sense, they’re creating the recording, based on my raw files.
And I love their work. I LOVE their work, and I’m scared to let them do it. I’m scared that what I’ve given them isn’t good enough to work with.
I feel that fear even though I know that what we’re doing is the best way to capture my work right now.
It’s deeply uncomfortable to stop tinkering. I feel like I’m letting everyone down, even though I know I’m just getting out the way.
Ever feel that way?
Experiment #2: Collaborating with Learners on Teaching
With my online course for harp players, “Baroque Flamenco Bootcamp” I engaged the students as my teachers.
I built the first session of the course as we went. I was one day ahead of the students.
In essence, the students were my Beta Team – I even called them that – and through our collaboration, that course is now so much richer and I’ve just launched the course anew.
I originally envisioned the course as a 10-day online bootcamp. That didn’t work. Everyone needed more time. And many students wanted more in-depth information: how to play it with other instruments, how to improvise on it.
It’s grown into a 21-day online course that includes warmups, a reference section, video training and a powerful community of harpists all over the world sharing the different ways they can play the same piece.
And it’s the students who helped me see what it could be.
The hardest part is letting my students see me ‘making mistakes’ as I build the course with their input – but over and over again, even as the course content becomes richer and clearer, the comments from students repeat that one of their favorite parts of the course is watching me make mistakes.
And as I write this, I wonder if that may be the most important thing I could ever teach them: How to move forward imperfectly, reveal your mistakes so you can get help with them.
Experiment #3: UNFOLDING an Album
The 3rd experiment is how I’m releasing my newest album. (And I just realized I don’t even have a splash page for it yet!)
I always had this idea that an album needs to be a big splash EVENT. A RELEASE of something complete and immediately amazing. Like love-marriage-and-kids all at first sight.
But the truth … at least for ME … is that it’s an unfolding. It DOESN’T happen all at once.
It’s like a real relationship.
And it doesn’t NEED to all happen at once. The big “Album Release” was just the way it’s worked in the past. Because that’s the way albums had to be released in the past, when you had to print them all at once and they had to all go out to the press at once.
It doesn’t HAVE to happen that way now. It can evolve. It can unfold.
Mine’s unfolding in at least 3 events: a livestream concert where viewers get to download the 3-song EP, and two live concerts near my home, in Rockport, MA on Sat. Apr. 12 and in Nantucket, MA on Sat. Apr. 26
It was hard to accept that. I wanted to fit the idea I had of what a ‘real’ album-release was like. As if nothing else is ‘real.’
Yet once I accepted that it could be different and real, I realized it was a beautiful thing, and that I could unfold the album over a series of events.
These are my experiments.
I’m in the middle of each.
I invite you with all my heart into each of them with me.
And in each, I am kicking and screaming myself out of the way of myself so we can meet where the real, imperfect me, exists. With the real, imperfect you.
Join me in the lab of life, art, learning – and perfectly imperfect being. Here’s where I’ll be waiting for you:
Baroque Flamenco Bootcamp
3-Week Online Course for harpists to learn my powerhouse showpiece “Baroque Flamenco” so you can knock the socks off anyone who thinks the harp is ‘just a nice quiet background instrument.’
Registration & More Info Here: BaroqueFlamenco.com
Class starts April 8th – Register now and you can get right into the classroom where you can watch videos, download warmups and get started learning about the piece
Use this Discount Code* for 15% off: BFBC-15 (Discount Deadline Sun. Apr. 6th at Midnight – your midnight, wherever you are) *[NOTE: If you already joined my “First To Know” list for this course, check your email for a personal email and special discount code]
Album Release Events:
Sun. Apr. 6 – Online Livestream Concert – 4:30 PM EDT
Join me for this livestream show via DHC-TV.com and ConcertWindow.com and get a FREE download of the 3-song Preview from my new album just for tuning in!
Sat. Apr. 12 – Rockport, MA – Shalin Liu Performance Center – 8pm
Live, solo, in concert at one of the most gorgeous small theaters on the Eastern Seaboard. I’ll be signing the first, limited-edition 5-song EP versions of my new album at this show.
Sat. Apr. 26 – Nantucket, MA – Dreamland (Main Stage) – 7:30 pm
Live, solo, in concert at the newly renovated “Dreamland” Main stage – on “Daffodil Weekend” in Nantucket. I’ll have the first copies of my signed, limited edition, full new album at this concert.