Single Notes

Hi @Luke, @HarpinBobbyMcB, @AstridHandbikebee63 and everyone else,

Here is my next post relating to clean, accurate and acoustically crisp hole three bends – this time WRT your practice methods.

Rather than making a long complicated written description, I have decided to give everyone a link to two videos:

  1. The first one is longer (approx. 8 minutes)

  2. The second one is very short (only 36 seconds) but important

They are both coming from the extraordinarily good harmonica player (both chromatic and diatonic) Filip Jers. These videos demonstrate excellent ways to practice not only hole three bends, but they can be applied to any bends, including blow bends.

Have fun and let me know if these helped you improve your bending skills. :musical_note:

Regards,
– Slim :sunglasses:

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Hallo @Slim, wirklich sehr interessant! Bisher habe ich es nach Gehör und Stimmgerät gelernt, aber natürlich braucht es seine Zeit.
So dürfte es leichter zu finden sein. Vielen Dank!

Beste Grüße Astrid

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Hi Astrid @AstridHandbikebee63

Was ich oft benutze: Online Virtual Piano. Echt gut. :sunglasses:

What I often use is the online virtual piano. Check it out. :sunglasses:

Tschüss
– Slim

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Oder so @Slim. :smiley: Damit habe ich mich noch nicht so angefreundet. Ich bekomme aber am Freitag mein Keyboard wieder. Das hatte ich früher schon parallel zum Gitarre lernen genutzt.
Bye, bye Astrid

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-2 -3 -4 require more air than the higher notes. The lower the note, the more air is required to make the reed vibrate. The trick on the draws is to pinch your nose and see if you’re accidentally allowing air to come in through your nose. Using this trick I can often confirm that I’ve been allowing air to “leak in” through the nose without having been aware.

-2-3-4 are difficult to play in tune at the beginning, because of tension in the mouth we accidentally be bending the notes a little bit so that they are not in tune. The Bend-It-Better tool can be very helpful to examine this and fix through practicing relaxation.

Good for you for taking a break when you get annoyed! Lots of little practice sessions are much more effective than one big long one. And particularly when we get frustrated we become tense and then practicing could be actually doing harm rather than helping!

Yes, keep playing and playing and playing, and it will keep getting easier and easier and easier!

Rock on,
Luke

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Yes! Relaxation is the key.

Relaxation is the key.

Also, relaxation is the key.

:wink:

Rock on,
Luke

P.S. Relaxation is the key :wink:

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I think that what Luke @Luke wants to say is that relaxation is the key. :innocent: And I can be a witness to that wisdom too.

Regards,
– Slim :sunglasses:

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So…I’m not really getting this…is relaxation important ? Nobody has mentioned it yet…

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Ist Entspannung 🧘‍♂️ nicht bei vielen Dinge des Lebens hilfreich?
Wenn ich angespannt bin, dann ist es auch meine Muskulatur, die Atmung ist anstrengender, der Kiefer verkrampft usw…
Mir geht es so, dass ich unter Stress (Anspannung) mehr Fehler mache.
Die Fehler bauen dann wieder Druck auf und damit kommt die Enttäuschung. Auch das Gehirn wird blockiert.
Aber es soll auch Menschen geben, die unter Anspannung besser sind. Die Frage für mich, wie lange?
Das wahre Rezept für sich muss sowieso jeder selbst finden. :smiley:

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For me, I have found everything is better with relaxation.

In martial arts, the best fighters are relaxed. When I fight, or spar, I am so relaxed, everything comes easy to me, and my reactions are super fast. In that state, I love it. It is literally the easiest thing in the whole world. When I feel tense, stressed and ‘hard’ on the outside, it is the hardest thing in the world.

When I was an elite cyclist, it was clear that having a relaxed body meant I could ride harder for longer with less tiredness, and a higher power output. If I was stressed, and my body was tense, I tired more easily.

I practice qigong. We release layer and layers of deep tension. I spend weeks releasing old tension, and it feels amazing. But soon enough more, deeper layers of tension rise to the surface. None of us truly knows what it feels like to be relaxed. As humans we carry so much tension, from childhood onwards.

When we are relaxed we can enter the flow state. That never comes when we are tense. The flow state is a magical place. When I fight in the flow state, there is no thought, no sense of ‘me’, its beautiful and easy. When I think back, to analyse my performance, I can remember almost nothing of it. It just happens. Its beautiful.

I think the flow state is where the great harmonica players exist. Totally relaxed. Feeling. No thinking. That’s my theory, anyway.

Relaxation is everything.

Its the getting there, that is the tricky thing.

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Thanks for the tip @Luke ,really appreciated!

And I can only agree with others are saying. When you’re relaxed in body (and mind) things become a lot easier

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@Slim These are great bending exercises and nice for isolating all notes it seems to me. There are so many different subtleties in the sounds that can be made on the harmonica…

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I had a recent experience I would like to share.

I live in Venezuela and there is a song called Alma Llanera which is like a second National Anthem…

When I started learning the song, my sister in law, who has a very good ear, indicated two places where I was off.

Sure enough, when I looked up the tabs, I found my problem… The DREADED 6 and 7 draws were throwing me for a loop… It’s taken me several days and quite a bit of practice, but I’m finally getting to be able to isolate the notes…

This is the first phrase:

6 6 6 7 -7 -8 7 8 -8 7 -7 -8 7 -7 -6 -7

It’s a beautiful song when played with nice clear notes, not so much with mixed, dirty notes.

Then later in the song it has this sequence:

6 6

-6 -6

-7 -7

7 7

8 7 -8 -7 7 -6 -5

-8 -7 7 -6 -7 6 5

Play these two sequences anywhere where there are Venezuelans and a few are likely to start singing!

Try it, the song is really amazing with its ups and downs. It also gives great practice over the change up in to 6 and 7 holes.

All I know is that it’s finally starting to sound like a song. It’s incredible to me how previously squeaky notes that sounded like a shrill cry from a bird in pain are finally getting to sound like something recognizable as music.

As @Luke and others are expressing here, relaxation and easy breathing gets me closer to clean, crisp notes than tension and forced breath does.

All y’all Rock!

Thanks :sunglasses::+1:

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Nice! Great warmup/practice idea is the major scale in the middle octave:

4 -4 5 -5 6 -6 -7 7 -8 7 -7 -6 6 -5 5 -4 4

You can play this up and down with a metronome without stopping as soon as you get to top note, come back down, and as soon as you get to bottom note go back up.

Also, for practicing high notes, the first 5 notes of the major scale in the high octave:

7 -8 8 -9 9 -9 8 -8

Again, this can be looped without stopping, and can be played with a metronome.

Both of these exercises are good for getting used to DRAWS being ABOVE BLOWS for holes 1-6, and BLOWS being ABOVE DRAWS for holes 7-10.

Hope this helps.

Rock on,
Luke

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Great idea :bulb:

Back to basics is often the way to build the best foundation… This seems to be true with music as well.

Thanks for your support and encouragement @Luke

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Scales are great technique builders, but they’re also great for providing a context in which to “see” melodies that you play.

Yes, I agree with you about fundamentals. Before we landed on “Beginner to Boss” my working title for the course was Harmonica FUNdamentals.

I’ve heard that Vince Lombardi started every single football season that he coached by holding up a football and saying, “This is a football.” He was all about blocking and tackling.

It’s fundamentals that gets the job done for sure.

Happy to have you as part of the Harmonica fam Blazing Bobby!

Rock on,
Luke

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Hello @Luke,
for me, starting with the scale, including the upper octaves, is like warming up during sports.
This is not only good for me, but also for my harmonica and I “groove” (favorite word :smiley:) myself.
Best regards Astrid

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In Kung Fu, its always said, the difference between a Master and a student is the Master does the fundamentals really well. Its not about the flashy stuff. Its the fundamentals that makes the difference.

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I went to sleep playing scales in my mind and “watching” as the “double draw” on 6 and 7 keeps the scales moving in the right direction…

I love visualizations and can imagine how knowing the scales inside and out can help to understand and “predict” melodies…

@Luke, any reason why you suggest going up to the 8 draw at the top part of the Major C scale before coming down? :thinking:

Technically doesn’t it stop at the 7 blow on the C and then come back down again over the “hump”? :thought_balloon:

I like what @AstridHandbikebee63 says about using scales to warm up, like stretching before doing exercise. A little stretching before we start can do great things for our performance later…

I’m definitely going to start implementing these exercises into my daily routine, particularly at the start of the day, or any time I have set the harp down for awhile, which happens as little as possible, but a necessity while I do bothersome things that require my hands like eating or showering…

Though I must admit that playing my organ in the shower can also be a lot of fun. I love the acoustics! :wink:

lol… :joy:

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LOL. Are you really playing while you shower??? :rofl:

Yeah, I just added the top top note so that you can play it with a metronome or backing track loop it continuously without stopping.

But you’re right that 7 is the top of the major scale.

What you’re doing with the visualizing is FANTASTIC. That’s great stuff Bobby! Thinking about the number of each interval in the scale is also an awesome best practice that will create even more value when working on this stuff:

ONE 4
TWO -4
THREE 5
FOUR -5
FIVE 6
SIX -6
SEVEN -7
ONE 7
TWO -8
ONE 7
SEVEN -7
SIX -6
FIVE 6
FOUR -5
THREE 5
TWO -4
ONE 4

When visualizing, if you can practice hearing each interval inside your head, then that’s extra credit. :wink:

ROCK ON!
Luke

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