Monthly Archive for May, 2010

Live Webcast This Saturday

WebcastFrom six to eight pm Eastern Time this Saturday, you can log on and watch me play live at home. I mean, I’ll be in my home, and you’ll be in your home. It’s kind of ridiculous and also kind of awesome. I’ll take live requests and comments from audience members using a chat box on my Ustream page, and there’s a good chance that if you comment, I MIGHT NAMECHECK YOU ON CAMERA. Beware the virtual bouncers if you start spilling virtual drinks on my pixel guitar.

The link to watch is

Coffee Shop Jam

Coffee Shop Jam

Last weekend, a group of eight of my music students and I took over the Open Eye Cafe in Carrboro for a couple of hours. Everybody played one or two songs on their own, and then we all got onstage at the end to play Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” Most of the students hadn’t performed in public before. Here’s a video of the big group playing together. Congrats to everybody, and thanks to the Open Eye for hosting us!

Harmonica Lesson with Howard Levy

Howard Levy

Right after the coffee shop jam, I headed out to Aberdeen, North Carolina, to catch Howard Levy performing in the Rooster’s Wife music series. I got there just in time, and enjoyed two hours of solo harmonica and piano tunes and improvisation. He played jazz, blues, Latin music, spirituals, and, if I remember right, even some rock’n’roll. Several of his tunes referenced both Middle Eastern and Eastern European music.

I got up my nerve after the show and asked if he’d be free to meet with me the next day for a lesson, and he graciously agreed. I drove home on cloud 9 and in the morning headed back to Aberdeen, where I met Howard at his B&B. We sat out on the porch and he had me play a little bit and asked me a few questions about my interests. Then we went over a bunch of stuff to walk me to where I wanted to go.

Subjects included: simple jazz tunes, how to play two notes and only bend one of them, different kinds of vibrato, keeping a drone going while playing a melody on top, tongue rhythms, sound effects, tongue blocking, trills, bending overblows, and basic reed adjustments.

Basically, I’d made a list of things I thought I heard him do in the concert, and just asked him how to do them. He broke things down into components and was patient while I tried them out, even though we were moving fast and covering a lot of material.

Pretty awesome, overall, and pretty much a lifetime of work, although to my surprise, some of the “impossible” things I tried at his suggestion actually worked right off the bat. Thanks for everything, Howard!