It's time to celebrate a member of our Community who has inspired us with their progress - a Harmonica Studio Legend!
Congratulation to Tomasz from Poland who used to study with me at the New York Harmonica School. After only playing the chromatic harmonica for a year Tomasz had already begun working on jazz tunes and improvisation. Watch his awesome rendition of "Autumn Leaves" accompanied by a stellar rhythm section.
Interview with Tomasz:
What harmonica model(s) do you play?
On a chromatic I stared with a Suzuki 16-hole Chromatix, but switched to Seydel and now my go to chro is 12-hole Saxony, which I love. It’s very compact, almost like an oversized diatonic, has a very solid feel, bright tone and absolutely unproblematic. I also have the 16-hole Symphony, which has great rich tone, and cool design that makes maintenance much easier than with other models, but it’s huge and heavy and the windsaver on the 2nd hole has a tendency to stick if it’s not properly warmed up. So I use it when I need that lower octave and more when working on slow tempo pieces.
When did you start learning harmonica?
I’ve toyed with diatonics since I was a teenager, but with little consistency and I never really got anywhere. About five years ago I decided to get serious about it and sought out Yvonnick and started taking diatonic classes with him, but about four years ago I switched to the chromatic and that opened the whole new world for me and the rest is history…
What are your top 3 favorite songs to play?
The song that made me want to learn chromatic was John Coltrane’s version of “Stardust.” I still haven’t quite mastered it, but I’d like to keep working on it. Lou Donaldson’s “Blues Walk” is another one. It’s a fairly straightforward F blues, but it got that soulful groove I like. Then probably “Body and Soul.” There’s an awful lot going on harmonically there and it will take probably years until I’ll be able to really play over those chord changes, but even just playing the melody and using some simple devices to improvise can create some magic. But generally, the favorite ones are those I haven’t learned how to play yet.
What are some of your musical goals?
Just get to a point where I could jam with some amateur musicians and not make a complete mess of it.
How long have you been a Harmonica Studio member?
I don’t remember exactly, but it must have been soon after I stared taking classes with Yvonnick so well over four years ago.
What do you like about it? How has it helped you?
It is a treasure trove of resources and it’s been a go to place for me when I look for material to work on during my practice. It can be overwhelming and it takes some discipline to use it in a productive way, but the more you learn, the more you can get out of it.
What’s your favorite courses/lessons on Harmonica Studio?
The Jazz courses and the in-depth lessons on standards that take you step-by-step through the process of actually really learning a tune.