Practice for Mastery



Earlier this summer, I got bored with practicing Pentatonic Scales. A few years ago, I decided that these scales would be my main foundation for playing the harmonica, and I don’t regret that decision at all. They are by far, the most useful scales I have ever worked on, and I truly believe that going deeper into these scales is better for my playing than almost anything else I can do.

But I still got bored, and looked around for all sorts of new things to work on.

Then this morning, I read the following passage from the book “Mastery” by George Leonard:

“the essence of boredom is to be found by in the obsessive search for novelty. Satisfaction lies in mindful repetition, the discovery of endless richness in subtle variations on familiar themes.”

So, I want back to a familiar scale, and decided to make it an exploration of the scale, the possibilities of the harmonica (where are the bends, how can I work the tone, what kind of feeling do I want this to have, how can I make this scale sound beautiful?)

It ended up being an exploration of how I can practice. I didn’t want to quit. It felt good. The recording is not perfect. My timing is a little off. I am OK with that. I am enjoying practice again. That’s the main thing.



  1. Hal Vandiver

    October 3, 2013 - 12:55 pm

    Richard, have you tried the same with the G minor pentatonic scale? Was the recording made using a g or c harp? Thanks, Hal

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