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Blues harp improvisation lesson - Virtual jam session lesson

Through this interactive play along video included in this lesson, you’re going to learn to improvise by playing blues on a virutal stage. For this reason, I’ve created a standard 12-bars G blues to be played in 2nd position with a C harmonica.  Grab your instrument and get ready to show off your skills! The video will clearly indicate when it’s your turn to play.

Upgrade your improvisation programme, listen carefully to what I play and respond to me with your improvised licks. My suggestion to you would be: aim to create a nice conversation wherein you engage yourself in a ‘talk’ with other musicians and speak through your harp.

Here are some suggestions to help you assimilate your solos: these are none other than some of the techniques that every good harmonica player knows and implements appropriately.

REPEAT SOME NOTES: With this technique a musical idea is presented and repeated identically or with a very small rhythmic or melodic variation. The sentence is underlined and generates in the listener the feeling that you are saying something important. Do not think that this technique can make execution monotonous, we must always keep in mind that the overal lsound perceived by the listener is given by what we play combined with the harmony below the solo. To put it another way, playing a C note has different meanings depending on where we are in the progression of chords played by the other instruments.

USING RHYTHM: The rhythm, when expressed with the alternation of notes and pauses, becomes himself an element of the musical expression. In improvisation we can change the rhythm for short periods, creating space and variation to the music. We canp lay on the beat, through the beat “flying” on it, or upbeat; they are all ways that give different sensations when you listen to them. Make of rhythm your great ally and you will become able to play in a way that is distinct from all the other musicians.

CALL AND ANSWER: With this technique you play a sentence and then another sentence that seems to be an answer to the previous one. In blues music, this kind of succession is widely used, if we analyze the chord progression of this musical genre, there’s a statement, an answer, another affirmation, another answer, then an external sentence followed by a closing sentence.

Going along to a musical jam session is an intimidating idea for many musicians, expecially beginenrs, yet it can be one of the most liberating and rewarding musical experiences we can live. So how can you break past your inhibitions and learn to enjoy the spontaneous musical collaboration of a jam session ? Well, try this virtual stage and play with confidence, starting with few elements and adding something every now and then.

What are you waiting for ? Step on the stage, the audience is eager to listen to you!

In today's lesson you practised improvisation with your harmonica: Have a look at our online harmonica school courses here, and I'll see you at a new harmonica jam session on these pages soon!

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