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Harp Irish Harp irishlanguagesong Kickstarter Musician Tips recording debut album Traditional Irish Music

How to Record a Debut Album Part 1: Preparation

April 15, 2018

As I write this, I am in the throes of preparing to record my first professional solo album.  I’ve very recently begun the recording process at Wild Sound Studio in Minneapolis and over the next several weeks will record twelve tracks for the album.  I thought I’d invite you into my living room (virtually) and let you in on the process I’ve been experiencing this past year from deciding to record an album all the way through releasing it in this coming autumn. This is the first part of a four part series (Preparation, Recording, Post-Production, and Release), which will include my thoughts on my experience recording my debut album.

Ready? Here we go! Let’s start at the very beginning (it’s a very good place to start)…

1. Decide what kind of album you want to create

This may seem obvious but the very first preparation that needs to be done in order to record an album is to decide exactly what kind of album you wish to make.  Classical? Folk-rock? Indie? Look at your own music and what you regularly perform and enjoy. Whatever it is that you find the most creatively invigorating and personally enjoyable is what you should record! Don’t worry about what you think will be “popular.” The most important thing is make something that is an expression of your own creative interests. You shouldn’t try to copy someone else’s art or change your own style to fit into what you think people will buy. Be an original!

My door of songs that are going on the album.

2. Create a track list

Now that you have a plan for what kind of product you wish to make you have to decide what the right songs or tunes are for the project. Do you have a speciality or area of interest musically? That’s the best place to start. When I decided it was time for me to record my first album, I sat down and looked at my own repertoire and knew right away that I wanted to create an album of Traditional Irish music since that is what I play/perform consistently, am the most qualified in, and enjoy the most as a musician.

3. Change your mind about the songs you want to record

Have you decided on the songs you want to record? Great! I guarantee that you will change your mind regarding at least half of the songs in the next few months. When I decided on the tracks I wanted to record for my first album I had a mixture of Traditional Irish songs in English and the Irish language. By the time two months had passed the album had changed direction entirely so that all the tracks were songs in the Irish language. Who would have thought? This ties into point #1, which is to make music that you love and enjoy and not make something because you think it will be popular.

4. Learn/Arrange the Songs

Now that you have an idea of the pieces you wish to record it’s now time to learn and arrange them! Chances are if you are making an album of Celtic or Traditional Irish music you will be creating your own arrangements of songs or tunes.  This is most definitely one of the most important steps of all! The most significant amount of time through the entire process should be spent on creating, recreating and fine-tuning all the tracks. This point leads us to the final step…

Practice…You gotta do it even when you don’t feel like it!

5. Practice, Practice, Practice

Did I mention practicing? I cannot emphasize it enough. PRACTICE, PEOPLE! You can have the best arrangements in the world but if you don’t practice them enough the next step in the process, the recording, will be a NIGHTMARE! I don’t think I can even count the hours I’ve spent preparing to record my album over the past eight months. This is the very un-glamorous part of being a professional harpist/singer. I always laugh inwardly when people ask what I do every day. Who wants to hear that you voluntarily choose to sit all alone in a small-ish room for hours on end, day in and day out, playing/singing the same pieces of music OVER and OVER until they are so ingrained you could play them in your sleep! Sounds fun, right?! But that’s what it takes to create any music worth listening to.

Keep an eye out for the second part of the series, “Recording,” coming soon!




Crowdfunding Harp Ireland irishlanguagesong Kickstarter song and harp: a solo album Travel

Song and Harp Kickstarter

November 20, 2017

I am delighted to announce the launch of my Kickstarter campaign “Ceol agus Cláirseach” or “Song and Harp;” A solo album of Traditional Irish songs in the Irish language with harp accompaniment.

For more information about my project and to learn how you can support my new album visit the page below. I am so excited about this project and the music I have been making!

Harp Ireland Northern Ireland Travel

Round Ireland With a Harp

May 16, 2017
Hannah Flowers

Suitcase (check!) Harp (check!) Camera (check!) I’m almost ready…

T-minus seventeen days until I hop on a plane and head back to Ireland for the summer. Where has time gone?

For those of you who don’t know, I learned a few months ago that I was awarded a Gaeltacht Summer Awards grant through the Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange (Yes, it’s a mouthful) to study the Irish language at Oideas Gael in Glencolmcille, Co. Donegal. Along with the time I will be spending in Donegal, I am also playing harp for a choir tour of Northern Ireland during the first two weeks of June, going to a summer school for traditional music, and visiting some friends down in Waterford. Suffice to say it’s going to be a busy summer!

When I was in Northern Ireland last summer I started a blog to write about my adventures: https://harptunesandtales.wordpress.com. However, that blog is now officially moved here to my website and I will be posting updates and ramblings as frequently as I can during the summer. Please check back frequently for new posts and updates!


Minneapolis Wedding Minnesota Weddings Repertoire Wedding Ceremony harpist

Wedding Ceremony Music Suggestions

January 9, 2017

Wedding Ceremony Music Suggestions

Below is a list of suggested pieces from Hannah’s repertoire for each part of the ceremony. This is not a comprehensive list, merely a guide from which a couple might go about choosing the music they want to make their ceremony special. See wedding ceremony music for more details about hiring Hannah to play in your wedding.

Prelude: A mixture of Classical and Celtic selections. (10-15 minutes)

Processional Suggestions:

  • Canon in D, Johannes Pachelbel
  • Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, J.S. Bach (also recessional)
  • Prelude in C, Bach
  • Trumpet Voluntary, Jeremiah Clarke (also a lovely recessional)
  • Greensleeves, Trad. English
  • Bridal March from Lohengrin (Here Comes the Bride), R. Wagner
  • Prelude in C, J.S. Bach
  • A Time for Us, From “Romeo and Juliet,” Music by Nino Rota

Recessional Suggestions: 

  • Trumpet Voluntary, Jeremiah Clarke
  • Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desirings, J.S. Bach
  • Wedding March (From “A Midsummer Night’s Dream), F. Mendelssohn
  • Spring, Opus 8, No. 1, Vivaldi
  • Mairi’s Wedding, Traditional Irish
  • The Star of the County Down, Traditional Irish
  • Purple Heather/Princess Nancy—Traditional Irish Jigs
  • Flatwater Fran, Waltz, Trad. Scottish

Unity Candle or Special Music Suggestions:

  • Ave Maria, Schubert
  • A Thousand Years, Christina Perri
  • Be Thou My Vision, Trad. Irish (Recessional or Unity Candle)
  • The Gentle Light that Wakes Me, Phil Cunningham (modern Scottish tune)
  • Moon River, From Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • Sunrise, Sunset, Jerry Bock (Fiddler on the Roof)