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The Event

Our goal: Our first and most important goal is to advance your harmonica skill set.

The expert guides will assess your playing level and goals,
then work with you to advance your playing.

Each day, the Harmonica Collective will feature two learning tracks. You can move freely back and forth between these tracks according to your needs:

Daily Activities
Wednesday, April 6
Thursday, April 7

Expert Guide topics for Thursday

Ross Garren: Expand your classic blues vocabulary. Wish you had the musical vocabulary of the guitarist or saxophonist you play with? This class will show you how to use advanced bending and basic overblowing to expand on traditional Chicago or West Coast blues harmonica styles.

PT Gazell: Have - and use - all the notes on the diatonic harmonica. Once you master conventional bending, you already own 9/10ths of the diatonic. But it still has missing notes that you can get with overbends or half-valved bends – or even by using alternate tunings. However you get those notes, the harmonica becomes a more logical once you fill in the last few blanks in the chromatic scale. PT will show you how to get those notes working for you by working out a single song in three or four different positions.

Jason Ricci: Third position modal playing – Aeolian, Dorian, and harmonic minor scales in third position from George Smith to Howard Levy.

Winslow Yerxa Fourth position – the good, the bad, and the ugly – Fourth position has a lot to offer, but it also lays some traps for the unwary. Find out how this position can be fun on its own, and how it can enhance both your first-position and third-position playing – and more.

Thursday Schedule
Friday, April 8

Expert Guide topics for Friday

Ross Garren: 1st and 2nd Position Chromatic Harp. You’re probably comfortable on diatonic playing in 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions. But how about on chromatic? The examples of George Smith and Paul deLay can show you the unique melodic and chordal possibilities of these rarely used positions and help you deepen your command of the chromatic.

PT Gazell: The treasures of fifth position minor. Fifth is a great position for playing minor, with expressive notes at both extremes of the harmonica’s range. Once you get the hang of basing yourself in the 2-hole blow note, the patterns are very intuitive, as fifth has aspects that are similar to both first and second positions. And when you include half valving and overblowing, you expand the possibilities even more!

Jason Ricci: Pat Ramsey 101. Pat Ramsey was Jason's blues-rock harmonica mentor. Jason talks about how Pat showed him how to avoid just stringing together licks, and discusses Pat's use of triplets, sixteenth notes and "PAT"terns, and his unique "mixed -up-Lydian" scale.

Winslow Yerxa: Phrasing and the beat. When you place your phrases in the context of the beat – where you start, where you stop, and how long your phrase lasts, you can create magic, even with just one note!

Friday Schedule
Saturday, April 9

Expert Guide topics for Saturday

Ross Garren: Make a huge sound with octaves. The tiny diatonic can sound big and meaty when you play octaves and splits. This is such a satisfying sound that many blues chromatic players will play entire solos in octaves and split intervals. In this class we will explore exercises and advanced techniques that will help you get more mileage out of the octave sound on the diatonic harmonica.

PT Gazell: Mastering different song structures. The same three chords used in 12-bar blues also make up the 8, 12, and 16-bar formats used in country, jazz swing, and Irish styles, to name a few. In this class you get a guided tour of how these formats and others work, along with some hands-on practice in playing over them.

Jason Ricci: The 30-minute Harmonica Upgrade. Customizing and harmonica repair with Jason's unique perspective, including embossing and re-arcing, tuning.

Winslow Yerxa: The Laughing Academy – finessing your air column. Make the most of the air moving between the bottom of your lungs and the air around your head to bring you big, full, tone, several colors of vibrato, ways to create sound textures, and power over note bending.

Saturday Schedule