introducing myself

I'm a new member of this group, and I'm gradually reading my way
through the archives, and I figured that now is as good a time as
any to introduce myself. I've been playing harmonica (still
getting used to the concept of calling it a harp) for a year now.
I sing, and I took up the harmonica as a method of learning new
songs. I don't play the blues, although I enjoy listening from
time to time. I tend to play folk songs. I read music, and it's
been fun to discover loads of old folk tunes from library books
I've run across here in Washington, DC.

I had never had much luck learning to play an instrument, so it
has been exciting for me to teach myself how to play. I started
out with a $3 harp (there, I said it) -- the Lark, made in
Shanghai, China. It has 12 holes and it's in C. It took me awhile
to figure out how the notes work. It can be annoying having so
many C's, but it is nice to have the low A, which has turned up
in several songs I play.

Next I bought a Hohner Marine Band in D. I have no idea why I got
it in D instead of something else (like A), but I didn't really
know what I was doing. It took me a while to realize that some
notes were missing, like my beloved low A. But I like the sound
of the Hohner, and it's more compact.

I wanted to tell you how I went about achieving the
one-note-at-a-time effect. Like I said, I started playing
primarily so that I could learn new tunes, so it was important
for me to hear the correct notes being played. I ditched the
tongue method almost immediately, and created the finger method,
which looks really ridiculous but works well for me. I block the
surrounding holes with my index fingers. I slide my fingers to
the left and right as need be. It was very awkward at first, but
I'm so used to it now that I don't even notice it anymore. It
gives me a lot of control, and it's easy to tell exactly where I
am. Another plus is that my harmonica doesn't get soggy, although
my fingers do. Before any purists out there groan in dismay, I
want to say that it wasn't very hard for me to learn how to play
one note at a time without my fingers in my mouth, and once I
know the song, I generally ditch the finger method. Sometimes if
it's a sweet ballad, I play one note at a time, and sometimes I
play chords. It varies.

It's interesting to read about you folks using amps and jamming
with bands. My public debut was last summer at an office softball
game on the mall when I started the game off with the "Star
Spangled Banner," followed by "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
Interestingly, a co-worker of mine has just taken up the harp, so
we plan to play the National Anthem as a duet this season.

I'm enjoying reading everyone's postings.

Best wishes,

Janet "Fingers" Lieberman       Internet: liebermanj@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Office of Federal Programs
American Assn. of State Colleges & Universities
One Dupont Circle, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036

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