Re: read music? YES (wasRe: [Harp-L] read music? NO)

I have to agree with Iceman. Knowing some music theory is always a good thing. It doesn't matter if you learned it classically, in an education environment or in bars and garages as I have. It's part of the deal. There's an old joke that there are drummers and there are musicians. That can be said of any instrument including harmonica players. Drummers are just the most notorious although harmonica players are a close second. Where I live I've met many drummers that double as musicians. I've told them so and they always appreciate it.

Listening is important. That's how the Suzuki method came about ( Listen to the masters. Get some understanding of theory and play. I don't believe that one needs to know music theory or be able to read to become accomplished on the harmonica but one needs to know some theory to become an advanced player.

I once was in a living room trio that played Claude Bolling. I played the flute parts on a 64, my friend played bass and my wife played piano. I learned from the record but would consult the sheet music for particular notes. Having played clarinet in grade school and junior high allowed me to do this. I also know my way around a keyboard as we always had a piano in my house growing up. My wife could only learn from the sheet music and my classically trained bassist friend learned from both. It especially becomes important to know some theory when writing songs.

Iceman has an advantage here because he's a fine keyboard player and I know because I've jammed with him.

On Jan 30, 2011, at 12:05 PM, The Iceman wrote:

Perhaps the distinction can be made that you can learn to play harmonica (by ear), or you can develop into a musician that plays the harmonica.

I favor the latter.

Also, still curious how those w/out music theory/keyboard image in their head view music - changes, choices, etc. With a basic music theory understanding coupled with mental image of keyboard, music can unfold in such a more rewarding fashion. This is why college music degrees always include a required keyboard 101 type class, no matter what instrument you play.

-----Original Message-----
From: JWilliam Thompson <landcommentary@xxxxxxxxx>
To: harp-l <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sun, Jan 30, 2011 6:53 am
Subject: [Harp-L] read music? NO

I have to disagree with the chorus of voices advocating reading music for the diatonic. If you are learning the diatonic, I think it won't hurt, but it won't help either, because of the tone layout of the diatonic and the fact that you switch harps when you switch keys. Diatonic is really an ear player's instrument.

If you are learning harmonica, you probaby have limited time to put
into practicing. There are at least a dozen things that would be a
better use of practice time than learning to read.

In case you are wondering, I do read music (for another instrument).

Bill in DC

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