[Harp-L] MHW Events/ HCH 2018 Reflections

Doug Schroer dougharps@xxxxx
Fri Jun 1 10:48:12 EDT 2018

@The Iceman

I believe that people choose to learn chromatic or diatonic harmonica in
order to play the genres of music they enjoy on the instrument they enjoy.
Usually it is music they heard during developmental years, but also may
include styles they came to enjoy later in life. Aspiring amateurs who were
exposed to folk, rock, and blues in the '60s,'70s, and '80s are now seeking
to play the music they enjoy, which is different than the musical styles
prevalent during the developmental years of those learning chromatic at
events during the '80s and '90s.

This is a generalization, but I think it has some merit. There are always
crossovers and exceptions. There has been concern at SPAH in recent years
that chord, bass, and chromatic use is in decline, and efforts have been
made to showcase these instruments in different more modern genres to show
that they are not bound to genres passing from popularity. I attribute the
decline in the use of these instruments to shifts in musical preferences
from classical, tin pan alley, ballads, and jazz standards to more folk and
roots based music.

The cost of attending harmonica events, especially if attendance requires
missing work, lends to a more mature, financially established demographic
participating in extended length harmonica workshops/conventions. More
mature people have the wherewith-all to indulge their musical interests. In
the midst of a career it takes dedication and money to take time off and go
to events spanning several days. Additionally, younger demographics can now
access instructional material via internet and don't need to try to find a
way to get time off work to go to several day workshops.Those younger
players who are committed to becoming professional musicians will find ways
to attend regardless of financial and employment obstacles, but the
majority at such events are older. This is why SPAH has a youth outreach
offering scholarships to the convention.

"Time marches on," indeed!

A plus to the greying of players is that this more mature demographic has
access to wealth that can be transferred to support working
musicians/instructors at concerts and workshops.

Doug S.

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