Hey there, friends and loyal readers. I must apologize for my extended absence over the past month. Sometimes life has a way of pulling your attention away from the things you love. And sometimes, you just have to take a break.
As with life, so with harmonica. Along with my leave of absence from Harmonica Love Affair, I’ve been on a bit of a break from the harmonica, too. These times have come and gone over the years that I’ve been playing. Sure, I pick up a harp and go on a walk to relieve some stress every now and then, but it’s not the same kind of practice. I’ve probably played just enough to keep from degrading. But I think it’s good for my playing, overall, to have breaks like this. There are few people who can keep up a passion full steam indefinitely.
There is an Indian poet named Taj who I met while studying architecture in Ottawa. He does not write his poetry down except as gifts in calligraphic form. He writes his poems in his head and that’s where they stay until he speaks them to life when there are other heads ready to lend an ear. He told me once that anything we conceive in our minds that is worthwhile will stick to be later recalled. The lesser ideas will fall away but the greater ones have presence that cannot be ignored. I find this particularly relevant to playing the harmonica.
It’s natural and good to step back and give your chops and your mind a rest for awhile. Let the old techniques and riffs and habits and songs settle down like so much sediment in water. Once they land at the bottom, the really good things will be left sitting at the top and much of the other detritus will remain beneath, buried and forgotten. Once you pick your harp back up (this part is key to the success of taking a break… pick it back up!) you will find yourself refreshed and ready to begin learning anew.
So I think I’ve had enough of a break. Time to get back to it…
No harmonica music this morning, but here is a much longer video of Taj speaking. Enjoy!