RE: Playing in tune

The Iceman wroteth:
> ...It is through this awareness of each note created that the serious
> begins to hone his craft. With repetition and muscle memory, it is slowly
> absorbed into your technique and eventually becomes quite effortless.
> WARNING - this is not for the faint hearted or lazy. It is only for those
> that wish to rise to an extraordinary level.
> The Iceman

Larry, I want to hone my craft.  I wonder if you would be so kind as to
share some practical insights and/or practice techniques or tools to help me
learn how to achieve this kind of "total" awareness of the notes I play?  Do
you suggest I use a computer program like the one Pat suggested for learning
how to play in tune?  Or do you use a tuner or other device like a drone as
Pat also suggests?  My tuner can generate tones.  I could try to practice
hitting those same tones.  Mojo Red plays along with a piano, which I don't
have access to.  Can you improve your ability to play in tune by playing
along with records (even in light of the variability of tone on recordings,
especially the old ones I love), or is it better to play "solo", perhaps
recording yourself and playing it back against some reference tone.

In terms of actually playing music on a harmonica, it is so easy for a reed
to be a few cents off tune or for your techique to not be "spot-on", it
occurs to me that one must develop "The Ear" so that you can compensate for
instrument-related variations in tune.  Or must one be born with "The Ear"
to achieve "total" awareness of tone?  I think I have a pretty good ear but
I certainly don't have perfect pitch, so being "in tune" is highly
contextually dependent for me.  In the end it seems to me like you want to
play in "relative" tune with the other musicians you play with.  In a group
setting, being absolutely in tune is a bit moot if ~everyone~ isn't spot on.
Or am I wrong?

Many Thanks,


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