Highway RickEy stepped up this week to carry on the discussion about how to approach improv. Turns out he, like Shoji, recommends you step up and be more than the typical harp player - learn your scales! Being an improvisational musician means, well, being a musician and the foundation of that is knowing the scales and staying within them when you play.
But it needn't be dry and boring to learn scales as RickEy pointed out. He shared scales with us that we should know and encouraged learning them in first, second and third position so that what you're really doing is ear training, not harmonica hole number training. Learning to hear the scale degrees when you play them is powerful and necessary, and this learning technique gets you there.
Play a one chord play-along that suits the scale you're working on and get three harps out that put you in the same key - we used C, G and F to be playing in the key of G. (Go easy on people around you and consider the Low F if you have one!) Now move up and down the scale. Then vary the rhythm you play those scale notes in. Suddenly you'll find yourself learning the sounds of that scale and also making music! Over time, this graduates to shaping and phrasing and you'll have moved ahead as an intelligent improvisational player!
Filisko and Noden in Sisak, Croatia!!!
Looks like Joe and Eric are having a great time touring Europe! Here they are playing the Siscia Jazz Club:
Morry Sochat and Shoji Naito were the winners Sunday in the Chicago Blues Challenge duo competition, hosted by the Windy City Blues Society! They now advance to the Finals in Memphis this January. Congratulations you two - we're pulling for you and will also be watching for your new duo CD soon! (hint, hint)
- Joe announced the prizes for his end of year contest. Get your CD in by end of December that shows what you are capable of and you could win! Third Prize, one high performance Marine Band Deluxe; Second Prize, two high performance Crossover harps; First Prize, three high performance Crossover harps!
- Joe's back next week! Group and private lessons are all back on schedule as normal.
- Jam - thanks to all who came out to learn from the loose playing opportunity the last few weeks. Unfortunately, that will not continue now with Joe back and using B1 all day.