Making Music

A Few Short Notes

I play music for fun and relaxation. My fun and relaxation; not necessarily that of anyone else in the room. Currently, my primary instruments are harmonica, mandolin, piano, and recorder. I also have been known to play guitar, flute, pennywhistle, saxophone, percussion, and other instruments. I had voice training in the distant past.

I aspire to learn to play the bagpipe someday. This is a difficult endeavor, however, as it involves relocating to the countryside or renting a heavily padded room.

My musical tastes, both listening and playing, are quite varied. Generally, I play whatever I find easiest to do on a given instrument. I'm afraid that my objective of relaxation often conflicts with my desire to advance my skills as a musician.


I play some classical piano. I can improvise in a sort of "new age" style, more modal than jazz. I'm working on blues improv. I've taken lessons from Gary Mandell (of Boulevard Music) and Rose Brandt (at McCabe's Guitar Shop).

harmonica (diatonic, chromatic, and bass)

My primary harmonica teacher is Dave Gage. I've also studied with the late Dave McKelvy. I've studied jazz improv on harmonica with Michael Polesky. I've also studied bass lines with Denny Croy (adapting electric bass to bass harmonica).

On diatonic harmonica I often play "traditional" tunes (tunes of the 1800s, commonly taught as kids' tunes nowadays), using a straight-harp octave tongue-blocking technique. This technique gives a chordal accompaniment to the melody. I also play some English country dance and Morris dance tunes in this style; these are remnants of performing at the Southern California Rennaisance Pleasure Faire (although the harmonica was not a stage instrument there, of course!).

I like to play blues (kinda goes with playing diatonic harmonica...). I play harmonica and provide mandolin accompaniment in the Dave Gave Ongoing Harmonica Class at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, CA. We meet Tuesdays from 1830-2000 most weeks. Come join us! It's not free, though... We focus on technique, standard blues, Bob Dylan, and dozens of obscure Elvis Presley tunes. If you're interested in learning to play the harmonica, or looking to improve your skill, but can't make it to Santa Monica on a regular basis, I recommend that you visit Dave Gage's Web site,

I can teach beginning and intermediate technique on the diatonic harmonica.

mandolin (and mandola, octave mandolin, bouzouki, tenor banjo)

My primary mandolin-family teacher was the late John Zehnder at McCabe's Guitar Shop. I've also taken classes from Evan Marshall ( and Bob Applebaum (see I'm fairly strong on rhythm mandolin, especially standard blues progressions, but I'm still working on melody and improv lines. I'm also working on traditional tunes, some Hank Williams Sr., and the Renfaire dances.

I'm a member of the Bernie Pearl Blues Jam Workshop at Boulevard Music in Culver City, CA. We meet Wednesdays from 2000-2130 (or so), 4 courses per year, 8 weeks per course. Come join us! It's not free, though... I'm supposed to be studying mandolin solo improv and accompaniment in this class (based on Bernie's instructions to the guitar players), but I often slack off and play harmonica, instead.

I took an excellent jazz improv class taught by Antoine Salem at McCabe's Guitar Shop. Again, the trick was to take his instructions to the guitar players and apply them to the mandolin.

recorder, flute, penneywhistle

Generally, I'm limited on these instruments to traditional folk or children's tunes, and the English country dances and Morris dances used in the Southern California Rennaisance Pleasure Faire. I can sometimes improvise solos, counter melodies, and obligatos in "classical" or "new age" styles.

saxophone, xaphoon

I can produce sounds on these instruments. Someday, they might be the right sounds.

ukelele, bowed psaltry

Yes, I own a ukelele. I own a bowed psaltry, too. Buying them seemed like good ideas at the time. That's what happens if you hang out too much with folk musicians, I guess.


My vocal coach was Janet Ritschel, of Lakewood, CA. My speciality is American musical comedy. I am (or was) a tenor.


If you don't know what a kazoo is... I can teach you!

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If you're on the Westside of Los Angeles, and you have or know of an English country or Morris dance group that could use an extra dancer or player on an irregular basis, or if you're interested in blues jamming, please email me at <>.

Copyright © 1996-2006 Craig Milo Rogers