17-Sep-2012 04:35 PM
Well, here I am, five months down the road. The harmonica is now indispensable to my ukulele act. My kazoo has, at long last, been relegated to playing songs that simply won't fit on a diatonic harmonica scale (like Dream A Little Dream Of Me). I also have acquired a bunch of new songs, thanks to the harp (like Love Me Do, for one).
I think I found an answer to my previous question about whether the harmonica was positively impacting my voice in some way. I'm certain that the harmonica exercises the mouth and throat muscles, and that has to be of great benefit to the voicebox.
But, that's only a partial answer. I found another piece of the puzzle written in one of the little pamphlets that comes with a new Hohner harp.
In it is a quotation from John Phillips Sousa, the march king; "The harmonica trains the musician's ear, the most important training in any musician's life."
How very insightful of Sousa! My vocal control was improving, as I instinctively knew, but that control was an indirect benefit because of the subtleties that I could now hear!
I recently got a handle on using the glottal vibrato technique John teaches in his lesson, which is very cool! As with vocal or instrumental vibratos, it's a difficult thing to master. But, perseverance eventually started to pay off.
What's next? I have my sights set on trying to master playing a song or two with harmonica and guitar. So, last night, I started studying John Hammond's Homespun Lesson. I hope I can get a handle on Just Your Fool (Little Walter) and Honest I Do (Jimmy Reed). Ironically, the harmonica for these two songs is not really going to be much of a problem. John's right hand is the biggest hurdle.
I ukulele, daily.