Re: [Harp-L] Re: Phrasing and Spacing (and some wise-waxing)

Someone asked me recently,,

How many posts can this question generate on harp-l ?

I answered,,"If you have to ask, I'm jumping off the Eiffel Tower".


Just kidding.

I actually learned something, reading the pros and cons of this.

What I learned is,,,it's good to get into the left brain and study
stuff,,,but when it comes down to it, on stage, or in the studio, you gotta
kick it up a notch,,,Baaam! Shift into that other gear, you know. Let 'er

You can read all the sites and links and books about working on your harps,
but until you pry the little sucker apart, getting into the "flow" of the
work, it's all academic.

Some people are really strong in left-brain things. They're good at teaching
the academic side. Others, maybe not good teachers, but they put on a heck
of a show. Then there are some who have been terrific performers, but are
willing to come down the mountain, lower themselves, slow down, take it
apart, and tell others how it's done. There's a balance there that is
genuinely useful, and can become a profit to many. You know the ones. Thanks
to sites like harp-l and, etc., we can all know the ones.

Jazz, blues, whatever, like anything artistic, takes practice, and a
willingness to experiment, fail, and do it again until something works,
often all in the same performance.

I recall all the Lamaze childbirth classes my wife and I both took before
having our kids. You study, you learn, you listen, you read, and then, when
the blessed event happens,,forget it all and just do it, just be the
supportive husband. If it's not running on automatic by that
time,,fuggetaboutit. All the practice is to get it into your system, so that
you don't have to think so much about it when the time comes. Truth be
known, there's no time for re-reading the book at that moment. You just go
with it.

I'm of the opinion,,"It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing,,,",
and other meaningful phrases. Phrases like that are like bullion,
concentrated. But once you attach some physical therapy to the phrase, you
become a teacher.

I had a friend, when I was 18 or so, who was a young student of the electric
bass. I visited his home one day and we jammed on guitar and bass, through
his outstanding Marshall head and speakers. I could tell he was playing too
much from his intellect, and couldn't get into a groove, so I told him,
"You're playing from your head, try playing from the groin." I went and
joined a cult around then, and didn't have contact with him for almost forty
years, until just a month or two ago, through He told me
that those words "changed his life". He began to practice "the technique",
and he told me how he marvelled at how it worked. He said that he recalls
the times when he had the audience rocking, right in the palm of his hand,
just from effect it had on his playing.

Of course, the other side of this is,,after learning to subjugate the
intellect, relegating it to the place of servant rather than master, it
still comes in handy, as long as it remains in co-ordination with the human
spirit, and not just an independent agent. Just don't be an egg-head.

So, get on that bike and ride. But be careful if you practice on a busy
street. You may get rund over.

I remember teaching my kids how to ride their bikes. It was exhausting. I
know I couldn't still do this at my age. What I did, was simply put them in
the seat, on an appropriately sized bicycle, and ran alongside, then later
behind them in some big, vacant parking lot, pushing them along gently,
letting them get the feel of their forward momentum adding to their ability
to balance, and how to steer with adequate discretion. Not too many spills
later, they quickly got the idea. Momentum adds stability, but also adds the
risk of a greater failure. Gotta try, gotta fail. Gotta get up and try
again. It gets gooder and gooder.

Sometimes I like songs that are like locomotives, starting up slow,
gathering momentum as they go. (I'm envisioning Tina Turner in my mind's
eye,,"Rollin',,,rollin',,,rollin' on a ri-ver,,")

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Joe and Cass Leone" <leone@xxxxxxxx>
To: <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 6:32 PM
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Re: Phrasing and Spacing

> The phrase is older than Armstrong. Originally, someone asked a very
> wealthy New York City robber baron named J.P. Morgan how much his
> yacht cost. His answer:
> " If you have to ask, you can't afford it". Over the years this has
> been 'bas*****zed' into a plethora of similar statements made by an
> assortment of people. I wouldn't believe any of them unless I heard
> them from the alleged source. That's called police work.
> smokey-joe
> _______________________________________________
> Harp-L is sponsored by SPAH,
> Harp-L@xxxxxxxxxx

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