Re: [Harp-L] Question from a rank beginner

On Dec 11, 2010, at 8:35 PM, harp-l-request@xxxxxxxxxx wrote:

From: peter_schwartz@xxxxxxxxxxx
Date: December 11, 2010 7:21:39 PM EST
To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [Harp-L] Question from a rank beginner

<2-draw is wonky. Suggestions for self study?>

Hi, Peter!

Welcome to harmonica playing!

I've been at it for 2 1/2 years. 2-draw is balky for many, many beginners. Your book is remiss in not mentioning this fact. Wiser instructors than I have said that they don't know why this is. But you are not alone.

One thing I recommend is to exonerate your harp, as follows: Do a very gentle draw chord on holes 1-2-3-4. If 2-draw sounds okay in this chord, then you know that the harp can play 2-draw. (This also works for 10-blow, at the top end, if this proves problematic on higher-key harps, down the road.) Then work on 2-draw as a single note, but try to draw as softly and gently as you did in the chord. This was my starting point; over time I became able to draw more deeply and robustly without having it go all wonky. But I don't know why -- can't put my finger on exactly what I'm doing differently now than before. But emphasize tone quality over volume. The volume will come, with time. AND there is no shortage of amplification equipment out there to boost your volume. That's its job. Your job should be to get the best tone that you can, even at the expense of volume.

I made two unsuccessful attempts to teach myself to play (10 years ago and 20 years ago). I never got traction until this time around, when I reached out and connected with real, live, warm-blooded instructors. Self-study materials have enriched those experiences, but for me they were not enough in and of themselves. Harp-L has already heard me mention my favorite instructional experiences a few times, so I'll omit a repetition of those. Feel free to contact me off-list if you'd like some specific suggestions.

Best wishes,
Elizabeth (aka "Tin Lizzie")

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