welcome to jonkip.com
"I found too much of this site to be merely
clever ways to belittle hobby players."
....clever online reviewer.
...and with an opposing viewpoint, from a guitar teacher/player, who actually read the content....
"..All aspiring instrumentalists should be made to read your entire site before being allowed to take lessons. Most of what you present is good fodder for all musicians, regardless of instrument, and you present it extremely well and in a very entertaining way. It made me laugh out loud several times. Great job! I'm going to refer everyone I know...:)"
"So just what do you do to your instrument to make it sound so good, Jon?"
Note #1: If things worked as planned, I think I have a YouTube channel for some of the recordings, but not all. All the tunes are on this site in the "Listening" section, but if you want to also see ads for silly things, visit here on YouTube.
Note #2: I don't add too much to this site, but at times, there are things that I've found to work for me and my students.
If you want to be notified that something interesting might have been added to this site, please email me and ask to be notified when fun changes have occurred. My 45 years as a studio woodwind player and over a decade of study with Tommy Morgan, might just have told me some things that others might find useful. Then again..........
It (the site) Starts
Even with the best upbringing by two Very Good, Attentive, Opposite-sex, Non-Divorced Parents, together in a committed relationship until Death Do Them Part, (which it usually does, and it did), I ended up being a Studio Musician, playing sax, clarinet, flute, oboe, kazoo (just once, for money, and Zero times for Pleasure), and then retiring, and accidentally becoming a Chromatic Harmonica Owner-Player. with, as of few minutes from now, his own website.
NOTE: Like lots of New Things, this site will be in the Breaking In Phase for some time, and sooner or later, I'll fix stuff that is not confusing enough already.
This site is mostly full of my ramblings, ruminations, sarcasm, and my attempts to show that there's really no reason for Harmonica players not to study their instrument just like people have, traditionally, studied the More Real Instruments, that is to say, the ones your parents made payments on and provided lessons for, and the ones that you couldn't watch TV until you'd practiced them. Those instruments.
There are also some decidedly non-studio recordings of my progress in The Jazz Stuff. I record every so often, and then go back in my room for some months, try to improve, and then record something else. I seem to be improving a bit. Or my perspective is getting skewed by Old Age.
Some people tell me they enjoy them, and some people know when to keep their mouths shut. At very least, the recordings show what can be learned in a short ten years, if your plan is to take lessons from The Best in The Business, and, for the rest of the time, to sit in your room, avoid human contact and just work on something until the Pizza Guy shows up.
There's a lot of silly stuff, some good stuff, and some really bad suggestions in this site, but hidden in there somewhere, are some thoughts that actually might be a positive contribution to someone's musical education...or to their demise, I suspect.
A Steady Job for a Lucky Jazz Harmonica Player?
I mean, I can't have totally wasted the last 50 years..... could I? (Rhetorical question, no answer needed.)
One problem MIGHT be that I failed to mark the suggestions as to which ones are really useful and which are just sarcastic ramblings. I'm sorry about that, but my fingers are typed out and you're on your own.
If you see something I've written, started to try it out, and quickly tell yourself "HUH??? THAT CAN'T POSSIBLY WORK, IS HE KIDDING???..... and, although that question might be also rhetorical, you might trust your gut on some of the ideas.
Chromatic vs Diatonic Harmonica....no offense meant.
A quick read of this site might have you believe that I don't like Diatonic Harmonicas, Diatonic Harmonica Players, and that I probably use my diatonics as ammunition to throw at the Possums who steal my cat's food late at night.
That's not true. The diatonic, in the hands of a good musician, can be emotionally pleasing, no question.
(Not that I haven't tossed a Golden Melody in the direction of The Possum, but only twice, when I ran out of oboes.)
My favorite players these days are Tom Ball, PT Gazelle, and Brendan Power, a young fellow from Far Away.
Tom plays traditional diatonic, writes songs and sings like a Jailbird, and PT plays chromatically, and both are wonderfully in tune, which, for them, doesn't impinge on the Soul Factor... check out PT's version of "When I Fall In Love". Probably you should also go to his site and buy his albums and you'll make your ears and PT's wife and bookkeeper happy. Buy Tom Ball's albums too, and, although it won't make any difference to PT's wife, your ears will be happy, and your feet will move.
Brendan and PT have an album together....I really like it, but that doesn't mean that you won't..... buy it.
I have many (4) sets of diatonics set up in various ways, valved and not valved, and they stay in the attic. After I heard those guys, I really wanted to sound that way, spent a month (Yes, a WHOLE MONTH!!!! ) at it, and gave up.
I'm guilty of being a Serial Giver-Up
I have also given up on Bass Harmonica, Chord Harmonica, and four octave chromatics, except in Range Emergencies.
As a late-starter to harmonica, I had bitten off more than was reasonably chewable, especially for my elderly teeth and, with a family history of leaky gut syndrome, I went back to the three-octave chromatic and just enjoyed listening to those guys play.
PT's advice to me was mostly the same as Tommy's ....that if I sound like I do on chromatic, (and I usually do) why bother with diatonic? While I'm not sure what they mean, I'll take it as permission to not spend any more time on diatonic.
Thanks, guys, I have fewer instruments to be Unemployed on now.
My problem with diatonic playing is that most of the people venturing into the "Playing Chromatically on a Diatonic", have Pitch Mysteries, making it hard for me to appreciate whatever music is being played.
There seems to be a reticence for the online people to discuss pitch... I think lots of people have their doubts, but it seems to be one of those "Emperor's new clothes" things, where everyone knows about the pitch issues, but never mentions it. Kind of like dandruff, I suppose.
Brendan, PT and Howard pull it off. Most others I've heard....not so much, although I'm totally open to hearing it done by others...really, I am. Truly. Really.
There's no reason that both of the instruments can't be studied as if they were Real Instruments, which they are, and there are plenty of hints in this site to help. There are also some "hints" that might tend to hinder, and you'll have to pick and choose.
I thank Tommy Morgan for the help over the last ten years, a good friend and, since I want it to stay that way, please don't blame Tommy for any of the silly things on this site. They're all mine. Some of the Good Points, though are his. For those six people who don't know Tom, you should.
So please feel free to come in and take a look, and see if anything helps you or confuses you, and, if you want, let me know, and I'll pass it on to my Ghost Writers, who will pass it on to their Unpaid Interns, who probably have a place to file it.