Escape From Zombieland!








I  have a little brainstorm of an exercise that I want to share with you today. A way to explore scales or licks that could give your practice time a new life.

The last time I posted, I wrote about putting some feeling in playing scales. I’ve taken this idea a little farther and tried ditching the metronome and playing the scale as a totally emotional exercise.

Here is the challenge:

Take a scale, like the major scale or the major pentatonic scale, and play it up and down three times.

Make one of them sound happy, one of them sound sad, and one of them sound angry.

Play the recording for a friend and see if they can guess which one is which.

Don’t use a metronome. Just play around with your attack, whatever kind of phrasing, timing comes to you.

I’d play you an example, but I would rather not pollute your mind with my ideas. The whole object of this is to give you a way to start calling up feelings at will, and expressing them through your harmonica.

You could also try three degrees of anger: annoyed, angry, incoherent rage.

Try THAT with a major pentatonic scale!

Or whatever words you choose to come up with.

It’s interesting to see if someone else gets what you think you are creating.

If you play your recording to a few people and they can’t  guess what your aiming for, you have some homework to do…

So – the next time you find yourself in Zombieland, mechanically playing music, scales, etc on autopilot, here is a way to invite your soul and spirit to come back and play with you.

So anyway, I hope you find this useful.

Harpe Diem!


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