Tonight, I'm attending the second of six blues harmonica classes taught by local musician Allen Stratyner. Regular readers know that I've been trying to schedule this class for about a year, ever since I wrote about it for Indianapolis Monthly. I'm thrilled to finally make the schedule work.
Our first class, held last Tuesday, consisted mostly of housekeeping: introductions, care instructions for our new harmonicas, and a short history of blues harmonica. Finally, at the end of the class, we got to "break in" our harmonicas and learned how to hold them properly (which was actually the most difficult part). Then we learned to mimic the sounds of a train, which we were supposed to practice as homework.
The class is held at the JCC and offered in conjunction with the IUPUI Community Learning Network. Our class has about 10 students, which is perfect -- small enough for individual attention but large enough to feel comfortable in the group.
During the class, we're going to learn how to play scales and individual notes, how to perform simple songs, and how to develop our individual harmonica styles. Perhaps, if I feel confident enough by the end of the class series, I'll post an audio file of my harmonica skills!