Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 280 #323)

Basic Blues Harp Playing Rules!!!

To launch the new session Joe did a review of his four basic rules for playing harp. It's beginner-ish information, but vital for all players and good to review, particular if you're struggling with something. The answer to more advanced player problems lies in not having these fundamentals down:

  1. Restrict your playing to holes 1-5. Always good advice.
  2. Inhale. Blues power and expression lie in the inhale notes on the lower end of your harp. This is where the blues scale lurks so when in doubt, inhale!
  3. Relax. Look in a mirror and watch yourself play. Are you relaxed? Or are you exerting and scrunching up your shoulders? Drop your right arm, stand up straight, lift your chin and practice all this in front of a mirror regularly until it becomes second nature. Body tension is your enemy.
  4. The tongue is to a harp player what fingers are to a guitar player. Master your instrument by mastering your dexterity.

Joe also made a renewed call for people to step up and inform him of their personal goals so he can make class valuable for everyone. If you need something, let him know so he can address it.

Big Jim Themelis Interview!!!

Our buddy, the originator of the YouMissedMonday newsletter, and the official B1 mascot, Big Jim Themelis was interviewed recently by Michael Limnios, a Greek blues blogger. Read the full interview here:

Big Jim Themelis: Smokin' Blues Soul

Chicago Blues Harp Bash #5!!!

Get your tickets now before they sell out - the reserved table seats are hot items and nearly gone! It's going to be a great show!

Also, be part of the Bash promotional team by:

  • Getting some posters from Joe and getting them up in appropriate places - music stores, shops near SPACE, etc.
  • Sharing this Facebook Event with your friends on Facebook (and of course, click that you'll be attending so word spreads!)

Three cheers to Mrs. Corporate for another terrific poster design! Thanks Marianna!

Class Notes

  • Welcome back to a new session! 

Filisko Solo Show!!!

Mark your calendar for the next Filisko solo show at the Harlem Avenue Lounge, Tuesday, September 18.

New Book From Pat Missin!!!

B1 friend Pat Missin has a new book out that addresses playing on harmonic minor tuned diatonic harps. Here's the description and link:

"'This sounds really cool, but what do I play on it?'

This is often the first comment someone makes after playing a harmonic minor tuned harmonica for the first time. Here is a book that book answers that question. A collection of one hundred and one tunes selected and arranged for a ten hole harmonica in harmonic minor tuning, presented in both standard notation and tablature, gathered from a wide variety of sources - early Western composers, klezmer, the folk musics of the British Isles, Europe, Scandinavia, the Balkan countries, the Middle East and beyond. More than half of the tunes can be played without the use of note bending. Included are sea shanties, waltzes, bourrées, freilachs, schottisches, gavottes, belly dance tunes, Christmas carols, hymns and much more.

Also included is some theoretical background on minor scales and related musical modes, plus layout diagrams for harmonic minor harps in all twelve keys."

Available here: The Harmonic Minor Tunebook

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew