- => Practice Log & Blog => Topic started by: Rick on February 05, 2012, 09:53:50 PM

Title: Rick's Blog
Post by: Rick on February 05, 2012, 09:53:50 PM
I thought I'd start this out.  When I have time to practice properly, here is what I do.

(1) Practice scales to a metronome.  Some of my scales were oddball made up scales. 

(a) Play the first postion scale.
(b) Play the 2nd postion.
(c) Play the 3rd position.
(d) Scale 4 is climbing up the harp by 4ths.  This is one of my "made up" scales.
(e) Scale 5 is (on a C harp), you start at the low G, and play up the scale, but always jumping back to low G before you hit the next note in the scale.  (Since I'm starting on G, this is really an elaboration of the 2nd position scale)
(g) The play every note on the harmonica scale.  With this you play every physical note on the harmonica.  Since I don't do overblows, this just means making sure I get every bent note in.  There is a quarter bend on the xx hole, the 3 notes on the xx, and the 3 notes on the high C blow bends  A Bb B.  I did not describe these bends too well, I'll leave it as an exercise for you to figure out.
(h) Play the scale using tongue blocking, bending using the tongue blocking (since I am a naturual puckerer)
(i) Play octaves all up and down the harp, substituting a single note where there is no octave
(j) Play a scale but using thirds up and down the octave.  I don't find this one too useful, but its sort of interesting
(k) I have other weird scales too.  Smiley
 What is fun about the metronome is that you can speed it up once a scale  starts getting stale.  The metronome can always go faster than you.  Also, by practicing with the metronome you are actually practicing two things at once: rhythm  and scales.

I use scales to bust out of a rut.  If I am playing along and realize I am playing the same old same old, because in a certain part of a I-IV-V I am always in a certain part of the harmonica, then I jump up or down a couple notes and try to improvise my way out of the dire circumstances I just created for myself.  You jump up a few notes and you will feel like you are playing an instrument you never played before.  These stratagies work to enhance your melodic playing. 

(2)  When I am learning a new technique, I always make up a riff that uses that technique and use it in a song.  I find I get more repetition of the new technique that way.  I upload the song to the Harmonica Jam.

(3) Make sure some of your practice is fun, maybe make most of it fun.  Play some music you love and just blast away on the harmonica on it.  You can get carried away by the technical stuff, and the fun accidentally evaporates away.  You don't want that.  Scales and theory aren't music.    Smiley

Divide your time into segments. If you only have half an hour to practice, do 10 minutes of technical stuff.  This might be scales, or bending notes you have trouble with, or working out of a Gindick book.  Do 10 minutes focusing on a particular song you are working on.  And do 10 minutes for just fun jamming to your favorite tracks.  You compartmentalise the time so that you do not accidentally spend too much time, say on scales and burn yourself out.  Jumping from thing to thing is kind of fun and keeps you fresh.