Re: [Harp-L] Learn 6 positions first year

Rick Dempster wrote:
Hmm.....what about first position? There's a reason for calling it 'first'.
If you learn first and second, then you have really learned the guts of 4th and 5th, at least in their function as minor modal positions.
But I do agree with you about folks getting bogged down in technique and being unable to play 'music'.

At first I wanted to disagree about the reason they call it "first", but I remembered that when I was four or five and my dad showed me how to play Oh Susanna on his Echo harp, it was most assuredly on first.

But I did mention that if a new player has become interested in harp because of blues, etc., that second is the starting position I'd recommend.

I have treated each position that I've decided to learn as a big deal - spaced them out over many years. I recall Mike Will posting here about 12th position back in the late 90's, when I'd been playing blues for nearly 35 years, and just having my mind blown by the idea of 12th and the fact that it had never occurred to me before.

It was like getting a new kitten. I've loved 12th ever since. It's so beautiful, like a photo filled with sky blue patches and orange highlights. I love identifying tunes where it's appropriate, and watching the musicians I'm working with notice that something's different, and not know what it is.

But my own ability to find music in the positions I really like stems from my mastery of second position.

Importantly, new players should find whatever it is keeps them interested in learning harp. If learning lots of positions is the thing that gets a new player excited, by all means go for it.

Bill Graham once said "We are, after all, in the business of turning people on." Making music that turns people on is alot harder than learning the positions, but one has to be turned on to put the time in in the first place.

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