Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 241 #284)

George Smith!!!

In case you ever had any doubt about George Smith's harp skills, not that you did, but in case you need very definitive proof, Joe would point you to bars nine and ten of his solo on Love Life. Try smoothly sustaining those two bends on any harp, let alone an F harp, and you'll know why George is in the list of elite players! Killer bends, beautiful tone and they make perfect musical sense outlining the chord changes on those two bars.

In talking further about bends like this, Joe pointed out you need two skills to accomplish this:

1 Muscle memory/mouth control to physically accomplish the bend.

2 The ear to hear it and hold it.

Shoji listened to the tune in class and outlined the chord changes for the intro this way:

/ I I I I / IV IV IV IV /
/ I I IV IV / V VI V /

Although George plays notes outside the blues scale on this solo, he is still relying heavily on blues scale phrasing.

Remember these words of wisdom when practicing with your F harp:

"Treat it as though it were a weapon. Like a gun, never point it at anything you don't intend to shoot." - Joe
              Level Four Workshop Next Week!!!

              - Joe will be out of town the next three weeks and instruction is in Shoji and RickEy's hands. Rickey has this on tap for next week:

              Workshop: How to Practice and Organize Your Music
              As taught and explained by Harmonica Einstein!

              A must attend class on how to practice, including numerous tips to help you streamline and expand your practice time.
              Featuring two premier computer music tools:

              Media Center 16 from J River (PC)
              Free trial available at jriver.com

              Amazing Slow Downer (PC, MAC, & iPhone)
              Free trial available at ronimusic.com

              Topics covered with Media Center:
              Logically storing your music on your computer.
              Tagging songs to enhance sorting options, i.e., by song key, harp key, tempo, etc.
              Creating and using playlists - the lifeblood of keeping your goals focused.

              Topics covered with Amazing Slow Downer:
              Importing and managing playlists.
              Loops - creating, using, and saving.
              Independently changing pitch and speed.
              Hotkeys for controlling speed, pitch, and loops.
              Exporting to use with your mp3 or cd players.
              Shoji Naito Selling Play-Along Tracks!!!

              What could be better than harp play along tracks recorded by the guitar and harmonica playing genius in the Eddy Clearwater band? Shoji has years of teaching experience too and has built a great catalog of song-specific tracks. They are now available at his site for download and can be purchased through PayPal (no account necessary, just use your credit card).

              Get 'em here!
              Position Playing Workshop At Old Town!!!

              Bob Kessler (no relation!) from the Black Willoughbys stopped by class last week to announce a workshop he's teaching at Old Town. On Saturday, October 22 at 1:00pm Bob will be teaching how to play in positions beyond first, second and third. As he explained, playing in new positions can move you out of improv ruts and give unique sounds to your playing. Sign up and learn how to approach 4th, 5th, 6th and even 11th position!
              Bruce Iglauer Talks Walter Horton!!!

              "Someone once said that if Little Walter were playing harp like a tenor sax, Big Walter played it like a bass clarinet." - Bruce Iglauer

              The October 11 issue of Blues & Rhythm Magazine has a great interview with Alligator Records owner Bruce Iglauer. He describes connecting Walter Horton with Carey Bell for a record and gives a lot of behind the scenes insight into Walter Horton's character and possible reasons for not being more well-known. A must read for Horton fans!
              Class Notes
              • Our winter recital is on the calendar, December 17. You should start planning and practicing your songs now! Sign up sheets are due November 14 and should include short bio info on the back.
              • Emphasis will be placed on reducing the time between songs at recital this time. The next three weeks is a great time to practice playing the end of one song and launching a second song in short succession. Shoji and the B1 Band welcome this if you'd like to work on it!
              • Joe's out of town October 24, 31 and November 7. His private lessons won't happen, but all group classes will proceed as normal with master subs Zoe Savage and Shoji Naito in charge.
              - Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

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