Comments and General Observations from others.
Comments about the page at Articles>>>Off Line Harmonica Clubs
I'm getting some comments about that Buckeye Newsletter from some friends and on some Online Forums.
I think they have some merit, and I'll put them on this page, with the permission of the writers. This won't become a blog, but some people have better ways to say things than I do.
From Tom Baehr:
A response to a post that took umbrage with the Letter-writer's viewpoint. "Unwashed", in this case, refers to a post Tom's responding to, and is just an expression. Nobody is accusing anyone of not bathing regularly, if, by "regularly" you mean the first Sunday of each month.
Regarding emulating those who excel: Problem is that the "unwashed many" make no effort to go beyond blowing and sucking. These mostly older players have been playing the same wrong notes with no regard to counting beats for 50 years or more, a repertoire that often predates them. Do the great unwashed listeners care? Probably not. That's no excuse for murdering good music.
Gods, these guys have a lot of fun, mostly in the key of C! It's a whole genre and generation that has its own place, but has no place in the larger musical domain. These duffers are fading out, but still have a presence among us. Fortunately, there has been progress in the last 25 years, just not a lot of it. Chromatic harmonica is a young instrument, compared to established orchestral instruments, but it won't gain parity until there are many more virtuosos gaining universal recognition. Not in my lifetime; in another 25 years, I'll be 95, or dead.
From John Broecker, one of the people I mentioned as being somewhat of a Harmonica Historian on my History page, where I mentioned his postings and the fact that I don't know him and he doesn't know I used his name.....well, he does now, and, since I got an email from him just now, I guess I do know him. I think that's how it works.
This, however, does NOT mean that, just because a person named "USE2BBald@dsTX.targusor.info" just sent me a fine informational Email about Bosley Hair Restoration, that I know HIM. I don't.
I don't agree that the state of harmonica players or harmonica's status in the world of musical instruments is always negative, but I do agree that excellent professional harmonica teachers and harmonica method book writers are extremely rare.
We can sit here in front of our computers and complain, or we can actually do something about the state of harmonica players and the harmonica's lack of respect. Get out and play, teach, demonstrate, show harmonicas, compose new music, form groups, write method books, record music, etc.
If nothing's changed in the last 25 years, it's our fault. It's not the fault of the prior generation, or the next generation of harmonica players.
Most of us are self-taught harmonica players, and as such, we lack a logical system to achieve mastery of the harmonicas. We learn techniques by accident, not by formal study. How can we teach others, when we don't know how to explain how to bend a note, how to read traditional music, the locations of the notes on the harmonica, arpeggios, etc.?
If we want to be compared to other musicians favorably, we should go through the learning process as the other musicians do. We should study our instrument with a qualified instructor, for at least 4-6 years.
I know chromatic players who would agree with him but they are usually the players well versed on other instruments and have had some formal training on those instruments or studied music theory on their own to better explore the instrument.
I think starting out as a pianist or guitarist makes for a better chromatic player or at least puts you miles ahead of someone that is just playing by ear. I've heard piano players come to the chromatic and can do more in 5 years then I've put the effort in in almost 40 years.
What us white haired and skin head players missed in our youth are formal teachers on the chromatic. In my 20's I tried to get non harmonica teachers to teach me as if I were a flute or horn player. None wanted to take me on as a student. I finally found a friend in a very talented flute player that also liked harmonica. I learned pretty fast but that was around the time I started repairing chromatics so I ended up focusing on that and quit the lessons after a year. I was around 40 at that point. I wish I stuck with the lessons. 16 years flew by fast.