Friday, May 1, 2009

Me? A Harmonica Player?

If someone would have told me a year ago that I would be playing the harmonica on a rock band, I would have said they had been eating way too many rice krispie treats.

As it is, I would have been eating my words last night.

One of the songs on our band's playlist is What I Like About You, which has a harmonica (harp) solo in the middle. When I first started with the band in mid-March, I decided I wanted to learn this instrument, but had gotten one in the wrong key (I got one in the key of C and the song needs an A - I didn't know there was more than one type!)

Well, last Monday, I was in the big city and decided to check out a music store. I almost didn't get the $30 harp but now I am so glad I did.

Last night was phenomenal experience.

When I whipped out my harp for the song, the band said, sounding a little skeptical, sure go ahead. When I played it during our song, it turned out so cool! It sounded right. The band seemed pleasantly surprised; I was too! Before I left, the drummer gave me a song which has a harp solo to check out.

I said, "But I'm not going to buy any more harmonicas! The songs have to be in A or C."

B said, "When's your birthday? We'll get you more then."

I struggled last night after singing I love rock n roll three times. Two screaming parts ("Owww!") and the chorus were tough on my voice. After that, I could not anthem-sing Elvis Costello's What's so funny. I am no beefy hunky singer to begin with, and my strained vocal chords did not have enough oomph. Some songs, too, I was afraid I was going to peter out. Fortunately I got through practice okay. I think next time, I will ask to have I love rock n roll be one of our last songs.

Despite my tired voice, my signature song House of the Rising Sun came out good. I added more emotion, and the band was very complimentary. D said "It's a song made for you." R said he really liked Stand by Me and Sunshine of Your Love. I like to hear their feedback not so much to stoke my ego, but to feel like maybe I am on the right page with them. Some days I wonder if they are genuinely glad to have me as their singer.

Found out two possible gigs are no longer in the radar. Kind of disappointed, but like my hubby says, I need to be patient. We're better off getting really good instead of performing half-cocked. It just seems like so much practice time without much of a tangible goal like a performance. Thankfully, we record as we go, so there is that tangible evidence.


Melanie Avila said...

How exactly did you just learn to play the harmonica? It seems like something you could play around with forever, but unless you know what you're doing it'll be a complete mess.

Go you!!

Pink Ink said...

I just kind of played it to the sound I thought it should be, I guess :-).

Melanie Avila said...

Well there you go. :)

Jannie Funster said...

I find it a constant dedication to take care of my singing voice.

These days I never ever sing without warming up for 10 minutes.

A few years ago I discovered Shelley Kristin's SingingVoice for a great program of vocal warm-ups, work-outs and such.

These days I only do the warm-ups but I highly recommend the program, and I've been exposed to quite a few different vocal exercise tapes and tricks.

Looking forward to hearing the MP3, as per my e-mail my computer was too clogged up to accept it, so am requesting you please re-send. Thanks!

Take care!

Pink Ink said...

What a great idea, Jannie! I usually warm up just by singing in the car on my way, but I need to have the patience to do more specific exercises.