Re: [Harp-L] Reality Check - teaching
Rick has asked about my experience with the following:
In a message dated 11/25/2008 9:25:20 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
1.The player who seems to leak air all over the place but gets a
pathetically weak sound from the instrument (where is all the air going? They seem to
have the thing in their mouth far enough)
Weak sound is more a reflection of the student's insecurity - I'm from the
"breathe the harmonica - not blow and suck" school. I encourage the student to
breathe deeply and move from a chest focus to the diaphragm. I also will have
the student create, for example, a clean 4 hole inhale. Then, I'll go into
the next room and ask the student to play so I can hear him. Long tones help,
too. The ability to hang a single note in the air for 10 or more seconds,
giving the student time to start to work out the problems and awareness of what
is going on in the mouth/throat for himself.
2. Students who can only seem to bend a note when they are playing TWO holes
(usually 2/3) ....and this after I've told them they must isolate single
holes in order to bend properly. when they successfully 'isolate', they can't
bend at all.
Haven't experienced this phenomenon.
3. Explaining the difference between drawing the reed HARD - so that it goes
almost a semi-tone sharp- and drawing it so it bends, even at low volume.
Haven't experienced this one, either - inhaling hard causes the note to go
4. Why, when trying to help students isolate single holes, and suggesting
they angle the harp to an almost vertical position, they then cock there head
to one side so that their mouth is again parallel to the harmonica!! This
I suggest they angle the harmonica up about 45 degrees, similar to tilting a
glass up on the lips while taking a drink of water. They do tilt their head
as well. Sometimes I have to hold their head steady and encourage them to try
angling the harmonica until they understand the concept.
5. The perpetual 2-draw bender: They cant play draw 2 without bending it. I
tell them to let air come through their nose while they are drawing , using
what I indelicately call the 'snot' valve - or sometimes the 'snore' valve -
actually the pharynx. Very few people appear to have any awareness of this or
are able to do it.
Very common. And once they play it w/out bend, they have a heck of a time
finding a bend again. I tell them that 2 hole inhale is how to gauge a proper
inhale technique, as all the other holes are forgiving of a lousy technique -
but not Mr. Hole #2. Once again, teaching them to breathe the note rather than
sucking in helps. Also, learning to disengage the tongue (ie - do nothing
with it - release the muscle). This one may take a few weeks to overcome, but
once they get it, they've got it for life.
**************One site has it all. Your email accounts, your social networks,
and the things you love. Try the new AOL.com
This archive was generated by a fusion of
Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and