Re: [Harp-L] Bluegrass

<I am a harmonica player and no genre of music is sacred.  I'm not a pro, I play for fun.  This <bluegrass thing is beginning to sound "elitist" to me.  Because I learn by sitting in, I'm not <supposed to play because I don't know everything.  If that attitude prevailed in all other genres, <there would be a lot less people playing harp out there. 

Depends on who you're sitting in with, doesn't it?  

If you're playing with people who are very experienced in a demanding genre like bluegrass, where the players are expected to know both the repertoire and the stylistic conventions when the tune starts, then it's not likely that a novice will be welcome, regardless of instrument.  Let's be clear: it's not easy to sit in with a band playing a genre that is technically VERY demanding and stylistically VERY formal.  Think baroque (Bach was an improviser), bebop, bluegrass.  It's not like rock and roll, where just about anything goes.  You have to know what's inside and what's outside.

Why not do your listening and learning BEFORE you get to the jam session--by listening to records and playing along with them?  Then when you show up to jam, you've got something to play that's genre-specific.

I do agree that bluegrass players seem "elitist" where harmonica is concerned.  A harp player has a burden of proof before him or her that a fiddle player doesn't have.  But it could be worse. Imagine that you were playing saxophone or trumpet.  You don't see a lot of those on stage with bluegrass bands, unless we count Bela Fleck.

Has Cara Cook weighed in on this thread yet?

Regards, Richard Hunter 

author, "Jazz Harp" 
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