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EJ and Robbert playing harmonica together.

Music 4 Morons Workshop

Article By Christiane Wolters

This was really good, and as usual, multidimensional. (For those of you still on a 28k modem, there are about 15 images on here, so it may take a while.)

EJ started by telling us about his exposure to music and musicians at a young age, how the first light shows were developed and how light as well as art enhances the music, about recording and reference tracks, and much more, never leaving out the jokes of course. He then said, "I wanted to explain to you the very basics for music, for musical morons. A musical moron believes some people can do music and some can't. Absolutely anyone can make music. And there is no such thing as a musical instrument."

He went on, and I could not possibly tell you all about this here, like about pitch and frequency and tone and amplitude and scales and octaves and waveforms and overtones and more.

If there is one thing I would want you to remember it's this: Learning how to breathe is the most important part of learning an instrument.

Matthias came to demonstrate the making of just one sound, the same sound. And it's different every time, no matter how many repetitions. Also, in staying with, that is, isolating one tone, you actually have a chance to discover it...IF you can ever make the same sound. We learned about reverberation. Here is where breathing first got introduced, and the importance of it. We could practice opening our ears and start hearing the overtones.

All this leads to some toning, where some folks got up to hear and feel the vibrating column inside when making the sound.

EJ showing how you can jam by just knowing a few chords on the guitar, here with Calen and his brand new harmonica.

In jamming, you need to listen to each other.

There are 3 basic ways of making music: bang, blow and pluck.

Demonstrating different instruments ... including the voice.

Here EJ clapping to the beat.

"Keeping the rhythm ... basic, fundamental and something you cannot do without".

With so much movement, it's difficult to get a sharp picture.

In case you are wondering, EJ is playing a talking drum.

Picking out a rhythm instrument for practice in the afternoon.

EJ going around the group. Everyone had to keep the beat using their chosen rhythm tool.

The whole group keeping the rhythm, EJ on saxophone and Robbert on harmonia.

I was surprised, but as easy as it sounds and as natural as one thinks it should come, it was a bit of a challenge.

However, if you can't stay on the beat, you can't jam. Staying on the beat and breathing are the 2 most importants things you need to learn. Feel the music.

We then went on to using our hand as the intrument. "All you are going to do is clap to the rhythm." We got it right several times, but even I could hear we were not all together most of the time.

"You have to make yourself want to get it right every single time. It takes discipline. But you CAN do it."

"We don't even care about what key; what we are looking for is time."

At some point, EJ demonstrated playing out of tune ... and we could see, or rather hear, that if you are in time, the tuning did not even matter.