Hi Gang. I wanted to share a couple of simple concepts i used to get myself up and running as a basic harp player. I am no Howard levy, but i did progress rapidly and was bending notes in under 2 weeks…not accurately, but at least getting it done by starting with the unbent note and sliding down there. It was a start.
The basic concept i wanted to share was this one: Learn the harmonica as an instrument, not as a sound effect. I learned train sounds…of course i did. I love them too. But, i never lost sight of my goal to play the notes i want, when i want, and with enough control to put them into music, both by myself and in a band context. I have done much better in the band context because i was motivated to get ready for a blues and bbq festival. I have a very very long way to go before i can attempt any one-man playing in public. Still, the concept remains and drives me to find the notes i want on any harp in any key i pick up, when i hear a song i like. I do this as an exercise, realizing i will choose a key based on the music and position i want to play in in real life.
The concept forces me to drill home the mechanical reversal at hole seven, for example…the importance of hitting a half or whole step bend from some other hole because it is the next note in the melody…the use of vibrato in its different mechanical forms and tremolo as it often appears when attempting vibrato…avoiding the OVERUSE of any one technique (including vibrato) and the importance of space in music.
All these flow from the one umbrella concept of learning the INSTRUMENT just like you learn a piano or a flute or a guitar. Gear is secondary and a whole different topic.
That’s my .02 on that…