HOW LONG DOES THE COURSE LAST?
A. The "Hip Harp Toolkit" actually lasts for 8-10 weeks because of catch-up and review weeks, but you can get all the "Arrange Yourself" content within the first 6 weeks (remember that, "Arrange Yourself" is the arrangement training at the heart of "Hip Harp Toolkit" - and the Toolkit also teaches you how to package and share that content if you want to create arrangements as gifts for friends - or for professional use, like performing.)
You actually start implementing the ideas after the first week! I just find that having time for review, catch-up and fun 'challenges' that help you apply the material, helps people actually integrate what they learn. We take off Thanksgiving week and we're done with content by the beginning of December to give you time to enjoy the holidays - and play your new repertoire for friends, family, profit (oh yeah!) - and your own entertainment!
WHAT SOFTWARE DO
I NEED FOR THE
A. Even people who consider themselves completely non-tech-savvy are able to access and enjoy the course. Some people even say that one of the big benefits of the course is getting more comfortable with online tech formats!
Each week the course information is provided in three formats and there's always a "low-tech version" so you'll able to
you to follow.
Here's how it's provided:
- Training videos you watch online
- Audio versions of the trainings that you can download and listen to on your ipod or computer
- A PDF overview of each training as a reference for any notes you take yourself
- Bonus PDF Worksheets to help you organize and focus your learning and practice
- Homework assignments (optional) to help you put the training directly into practice. Most people find these to be one of the most useful parts of the course - even though most everyone's nervous to submit thier videos at first. (If you've never uploaded video to the web, you can read my tutorial on how to do that, which is part of the course resources.)
There's also a live online Q&A chat where you can ask whatever you want to help you understand, integrate and thoroughly enjoy all the material in the course -- and if you can't make it to the chat, it's recorded so you can watch or listen to it later.
even if your tech-savvy
goes so far
as knowing how
to a Webpage,
watch YouTube and
a file, you'll
be able to
get all the class
The truth is, there's always a bit of a learning curve unless you've taken online courses before -- and online chats and masterclasses will never be as high-fidelity as being there live -- but many people have actually told me that my online courses have given them the added benefit of learning to navigate the web in new and empowering ways -- and that makes me very happy!
WILL I HAVE TO
A. I encourage everyone to do the homework because each homework assignment guides you step by step to creating your own arrangements. Maybe even more importantly, when you do the homework, the questions that YOU need answered will arise. When you ask those question, I can pinpoint my answers to help YOU.
This, for me, is one of the most important reasons to take an online class with the instructor available - and why I encourage people to sign up for "Hip Harp Academy" when I'm giving the Guided Interactive versions of each course, even though the course material is available any time for you to learn at your own pace once you join the Full Level of the Academy.
Here's why it's so meaningful to learn with an instructor who can answer YOUR questions: People will tell you that "you can find the answer to anything you want on the web" - but that's like saying you can find a particular seashell you want because all the shells are in the ocean. The value of having a guide and a coach is that they can guide you to what YOU are looking for, instead of you having to spend all your time sifting through way-too-much information to find out what works for you.
WHAT EXACTLY IS THE HOMEWORK??
A. Almost all the homework includes createing a short arrangement (no more than 90 seconds) so you can play with the concepts from each module. If you've signed up for the VIP Level of the course, you'll videotape that 90-second arrangement for me and then I'll give you my own personalized feedback via video, pointing out what's great about what you've done (because most people can't see that!) and giving you suggestions for taking it to the next level.
Q. WHAT IF I FEEL ICKY ABOUT SHARING VIDEOS??
A. Well ... if you sign up for VIP Level you'll need to share those videos with me, or you'll have to levitate into my studio for 90 seconds each week. But if you're not signed up for the VIP Feedback option, you don't need to worry about sharing videos (though I will definitely encourage you to share your final projects with friends and family via video!)
Q. WHAT IF I'M SIGNED UP FOR VIP & I'M A TECHNOPHOBE AND DON'T KNOW HOW TO POST VIDEOS?
One of the things technophobes (like I was!) love about this course is that they become so more web-and-tech savvy just by taking the course. I have a short tutorial to help you learn to create videos, submit them to YOuTube and keep them out of the public eye!
WHAT KIND OF FEEDBACK DO YOU GIVE?
if you're signed up for VIP Feedback, I'll be giving you my feedback via video as well, usually with your homework video right beside mine - so that I can watch your video and then comment immediately in the moment. It ends up looking as if we were in the same room together.
My feedback almost always focuses on what you ARE doing 'right' and how you can take that to the next level, or what's not 'clear' and how you might make it clearer. What you ARE doing is often the hardest thing for people to see.
What we MISS is what we ARE getting and how to enhance that. The big value about looking at our work this way is that, by enhancing what we ARE grasping, we constantly move closer to our own personal style.
We tend to zoom in on what we're doing 'wrong' and inflate it, as if avoiding mistakes was the only way to move forward. Instead, we focus on imperfect completion, imperfect practice, imperfect action.
By focusing on what we ARE doing and on how to make what we WANT to be doing CLEARER, we become more and more fluent, so we get closer to expressing what we want to. For me that's just a faster, easier way to get where I want to go than focusing on what I'm doing 'wrong' - so that's how I like to focus my feedback.
HOW MUCH TIME WILL THE COURSE TAKE EACH WEEK?
A. That's pretty much up to you. You could spend as little as 20-30 minutes a week if you only wanted to download and read through the PDF - and you can get tons of great ideas that way. Some people who are busy like to do that, and then watch a couple videos and come to the online chats (or watch them later). That's one way to take the course 'just for fun' - and that's perfectly fine.
People who want to 'get the most bang for their buck' can spend as much as an hour or more a day, watching the videos, downloading the materials and then putting it all into practice on their instruments, and then submitting homework for feedback.
Most people fall between those two extremes - and it's totally fine how YOU want to use the course and how it fits into YOUR life right now. That's also why you get access to ALL the courses in the Hip Harp Academy for as long as you're a member - so you can go back and review.
The absolutely most important thing you can do each week is to find one simple concept from the lesson and put it directly into your playing at any level.
If you do that ONE thing each week you'll get more out of the course than reading and watching everything but not putting it into practice. So if you don't have much time one week, you can skim the lesson, find your 'nugget' for the week, put it into practice and feel great that you're getting something that will change your playing.
On a practical level, to just go through the videos and the handout for each lesson each week takes about 60-90 minutes.
And you don't have to do it all at once! I break up each lesson into a bunch of mini-sections so you don't have to do that all at one time. So you can log in once a day for 10-15 minutes and go through one or two 'activities' each time.
A lot of people take the course more than once because there's a lot of content - and you simply won't get it all the first time through!
Going through it again is what "Spiral Learning" is all about - and that's why I also have two mini-courses that go together with Hip Harp Toolkit, one from a Celtic Coach (Marta Cook) and one from a Latin Coach (Christina Braga) - so you can take the course several times, add some different flavors each time - and find new ways to put the principles into practice.
IF I CAN’T
can go at your
own pace – you
what you want
the course, you'll have the PDF handouts and
to access the
24/7 to review or learn at your own pace for as long as you're a Full-Level member of the Academy.
level – which
to feel I've
gotten what I need
so that regardless
way you like
able to get
Q. DO YOU PROVIDE MUSIC TO GO WITH THE COURSE, OR DO I NEED TO PROVIDE MY OWN?
I provide several sets of lead-sheets you can use - Holiday Music, Celtic Music, Latin tunes and some generic originals I wrote specificall for the course - and even if you've never read a lead-sheet I'll show you how to read these.
Q. HOW DOES IT WORK WITH THE DIFFERENT PLAYING LEVELS ALL IN ONE COURSE?
The way I deal with the different levels is by starting with concepts rather than specific techniques, and then showing how you can build those concepts with basic techniques or with expanded techniques.
By "concepts" I mean, for example, a basic arrangement structure is the concept: intro-melody-exploration-melody-coda.
Those concepts can be expressed very simply, with very basic skills, or they can be expanded to any level of complexity. These are truly the same concepts I've been using, and both expanding and distilling, for the last 40 years.
So, what I try to do is to DISTILL the basic concepts of each thing you learn, and from that distilled concept you can play it in a very basic way, or embellish and expand it as far as you want (I'm still exploring all the ways I can do that). The 'simple' version is not 'dumbed down' or simplistic - to me, the simple is equally as beautiful - and sometimes more beautiful than the embellished versions - it's just less complex.
Since we start with the skeleton of each piece, we can flesh it out at any level of technical ability so long as we understand the basic underlying concept. That's part of what I love seeing: all the different ways people express these same concepts, based on their own individual skills, innate talents, instruments and preferences!
We then have the Q&A chats, and the VIP level coaching option to help fill in any gaps specific students have. Students who want a bigger challenge can ask me for that and I can show them how they'd go further, and students who need it simplified ask for that and I show them simplifications.
There is no limit to how much you can simplify or expand a musical concept. That's part of what fascinates me about music.
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