How do you practice? 🤔

Are you very direct and disciplined when you practice, choosing a particular part of the day, and playing pretty much the same thing everyday; or are you haphazard and likely to break out into just about any old song, at any 'ol time of the day for no reason at all?

We each have a different way of practicing and quite likely we pretty much all think ours is the best way… :wink:

That’s why we do it :sunglasses:

The truth is that we can all learn from each other. I’d love to say I spontaneously play at any time of the day, the truth is I don’t, though I used to! :joy:

I’ve gotten into a pattern which I like, but I’ve an idea that there are others out there who have equally good routines, and likely some with much better ways to practice on our favorite tin sandwich :sandwich:, which keeps music ringing in our ears :notes: .

So how about we share our practice routines here? :thinking:

What do you do when you first pick up the harp for the day? :performing_arts:

What’s your practice routine? :thought_balloon: :memo:

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Hello you loyal soul @HarpinBobbyMcB :grin:.

Compared to the first year, I no longer have any exercise routine.
As already mentioned, I play and learn less harp in the summer. I take advantage of the weather outside to get physically fit for the winter.

Overall, I’m not a fan of routine. We usually already have enough routine from everyday life. For me, routine has something of an obligation that eventually becomes boring.

Playing the harp gives me relaxation, joy and a beautiful attitude to life. Play time is like a colorful bouquet of flowers. I play what I like that day, maybe fall back on the song I want to learn.
Maybe that sounds too loose? No, because I recognize my progress.

As you write, everyone does it differently :woman_shrugging::blush:.

Best Regards from Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:

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Hi again HarpinBobby, good question.
I’m generally a very disciplined person in most things, finance, diet, exercise… and very routine. (boring to some) But anything artistic, I’m almost the opposite. I used to write a bit of poetry, haven’t done for a long time but I’ve had a poem 80% written and have been unable to finish it. Probably for 10 years and had pretty much forgotten about it. Last week I went to bed and woke up 30 min later with the poem completed in my head. So, I got up and wrote it down in less than a minute. I can’t explain it, but I guess it’s that left brain, right brain thing for me. So, no routine for harmonica practice, I just take it as the mood takes me. On the other hand, I will absolutely positively walk no less than 2 Km this morning.

Regards
Craige

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Mostly pretty random playing interspersed with (most days) OK I’m going to actually practice “this thing” for a bit.
Yes, just time spent with the thing in your hands is good, but there’s a world of difference between just goofing about and actually trying to get better.

I kind of think of it like this: Running (well, jogging) is my other pasttime (until i buggered my knee this summer) and the general wisdom with that is 80% low intensity 20% high intensity training and I’ve ended up a bit like that where I’m 80% goofing about with it and about 20% actually prcaticing at getting better.

But I’m not a good musician (or runner TBH) and I don’t have any goal with this beyond my own amusment (and hopefully, eventually, lessen the suffering of the rest of dwelling’s enhabients, even the dog is giving me a stinking look when I pick it up now…!)

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My routine goes like this, 2 mins warm up with a train rhythm (nuka-tuka), numerous scales, draw/blow bending, diaphragmatic exercises and a little bit of trilling. Once that’s done I then go and do a lesson or two on Beginner to boss course.

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Thanks for your responses!

I like your ideas about not getting stuck in a rut @AstridHandbikebee63 and @PapaCurly. Reminds me of a story I heard one time that a “rut” is nothing more than a grave with the ends kicked out :joy:

I do as you do @Piglet throughout the day as I hear songs I like. I have a key identifier I use called “Auto Key”. If I have the right harp, or can get to it in a different position, I try that, otherwise I just pick something as close as possible. I too get funny looks from my dog and others as I play, but I think they are getting used to it.

I tend to be more disciplined like you @grantabre when I first start, going through set sequences taking me through different scales.

I’ll post my routine in a bit :wink: :notes:

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I just practice and play along to songs I’ve recently heard or if lady has asked me for a request :wink: I’ll try learn that or find a way to play along to a backing track !!
When I jam with my pal , it’s a little more serious :thinking: as we are trying to find songs we can both play and sing to that will sound good at a gig !!
Learning the harmonica has been extremely fun and I’m so glad I picked it up that first time and tried to learn the piano man (which is one of my go to’s now) !!!

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I just practice and play along to songs I’ve recently heard or if lady has asked me for a request :wink:

You sly devil @Tank :sunglasses:

Great idea!

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The harmonica, and specifically @Luke, has been my “gateway drug” into a musical journey which I previously could only dream of in my wildest imagination.

I’ve found a new world which I’ve listened to my whole life, but never really “heard”. In order to get the notes right on the harmonica, I took possession of an old electronic keyboard which I had given to my daughters years ago and then a guitar which was laying around collecting dust, which I started plucking away at to see if I could get the same notes and sounds.

This relates directly to my harmonica practice in the sense that on my best days, I dedicate about 20 to 30 minutes of practice to each of three different instruments:

The Harmonica
The Guitar
The Piano

In addition, throughout the day on the harp I will play songs I’ve already learned that come to mind, or that I hear on the radio or my random playlist of my music.

I have made up songs which follow several basic scales to make practicing more fun. So far, I can only play all of them semi-decently on the harp, though I’m getting there on the piano and the guitar.

These are the songs, the scales they use, and my preference of key, though I will usually play through all of them on whatever harp I happen to choose for the day:

Of special note the song Showtime which came as the result of buying a Db harp by mistake. I figured the Blues Major Pentatonic scale (I think this is what it’s called), using the black keys on the piano starting at Db, matches perfectly to my Db harp in 1st position.

On the piano, I go through all 12 notes on Up and Down for practicing the major scales.

If there is an interest here in the group, I can post the Songs in the Key of Me, little by little here on the forum.

Harp on :notes:

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:rofl::joy::rofl: gotta use it to an advantage :wink: a lovely lady I’ve been seeing loves a Pina Colada , so I learned ESCAPE (THE PINA COLADA SONG) for her !!! She loved it and it was so easy to learn (love it when that happens).

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I practice and play when I am up for it. One thing I do is when watching T V with my wife I pick up my favored harp and play as softly as I can. Hopefully my wife cannot hear it. What is very surprising is my breathing is never an issue and hitting the single notes much easier. I stay relaxed. When I am ready to do something else I put the harp down. On average but not two hours but in interavels. If I am getting tired and losing concentration i take a day off.

Many may disagree with my approach to improve. I pick a song that requires moving all around the harp to hit notes. i.e. 5 to 9, as its harder to play that 5-6 note licks. My biggest challenge is getting the timing down. I place one I Pod ear piece in and play the song I am listening to. It confirms I play too fast most of the time. Hitting notes is one thing but doing it are the correct time is another. I also time the length of the song, play it and compare the times. I also lay back in a reclining chair as I am almost face up, which helps with breathing. Nothing like a straight shot from the diaphragm to the harp. If I learn one thing a session I consider it time well spent. No real routine, just play when it feels like fun. The more and easier I play the better it sounds as I relax and do not worry about much of anything.

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Hello all, I start with about 20 min of scales, skipping and tongue slaps and pulls, bends etc. I then do the same with my Chromatic. Depending on the day , I rotate and average about 2 1/2 hours on line with class assignments, songs and techniques. I am also determined to learn the piano and a bit of voice. Wish me luck :four_leaf_clover:

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Excellent :+1:

From the what you say, and if you keep going that way, you won’t need any luck at all :wink:

You da man @bubby.graves

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It’s nice to hear from disciplined harp players. I once played along with records a lot but never with a set practice regimen. Now my practice is increasingly sporadic - converting jazz heads or riffs to blues. I have a very recently arranged gig, coming up in a week. I’m doing a lot of listening to get my ear tuned in, putting together a set list - song, key, and beats per minute, and planning to practice for at least an hour or two during the week. But I don’t think I’d improve it too much practicing hard for 7 days. When the gig is over back to other things with good intentions to practice.

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I like to set the bar really low, lol. I’ll typically have one or two things I’m inspired to work on for some days or weeks or months and be like “ok I gotta spend at least a FEW minutes a day doing it.” (Once I start, I never wanna stop, lol. So I basically just trick myself into starting.)

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I like your trick @Luke

Like many things in life, the first few steps, or first few minutes of anything seem to be the most important.

Without them, likely nothing else gets done!

:joy: :+1:

Harp on :notes: :sunglasses:

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Wow. I love to hear a little love story. To stay in love you need to listen all the time. Remember what you heard and act on what you learnt.
I did something for one of my tenants once. He was a single dad having a really hard time. The religious school he worked for didn’t pay him properly. He was a music teacher. Years later I was in a bar and a band was playing. The drummer stood up and said this is for her pointing to me. They played Heart of Gold. Yes it was him. I would have married him on the spot. Music is very powerful. I never saw him again.

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I try to have two or three tunes I work on until I feel I can play them or give up because I know they are beyond me. Then I might do a lesson on btb. I sort of stopped at bending module.
I will do scales because I find them helpful for my ear training. At the moment I’m practising Seven Nation Army a lot. Jamming along with the Link Luke sent out.
Great topic

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