The Basics of Playing The Harp

Foundation For Playing Harmonica

Want to learn harmonica? Then you have some work to do! Some individuals may think that the harmonica is a difficult instrument to learn how to play. Others may think that the instrument looks so easy that it will be no problem to master. The truth, however, tends to lie somewhere in the middle.

Understanding Airflow

Before you get serious about playing the harmonica, you have to become familiar with the instrument and how it works. Practice blowing air in and sucking air out (drawing) and listen to the sounds that are being produced. During this process, you will likely notice that some holes are easier to play than others and you may run out of air on some notes. Take note of what you notice, so you can begin improving your technique.

Mouth Positioning

To play the instrument, correctly you have to form a complete seal with your lips and the instrument. This seal can be done with the harmonica on the edge of the lips with the lips tight and the mouth closed, many players however, tend to prefer to keep the harp deeper in the mouth and to leave the lips relaxed to avoid producing thin and weak tones.

While playing, the goal is usually to keep the lips somewhat puckered while also keeping the mouth and jaw relaxed. The jaw can also be moved up and down while playing to change the pitch of the sound.


After getting familiar with the harmonica, you need to learn the correct way to position it. The harmonica is usually held in the left hand with the harmonica numbers facing up. Players are usually taught to tilt the harmonica slightly down and to keep their fingers along the rear part of the harmonica. Doing so will allow you to play without blocking the playing surface and affecting the sound quality.


When you start slowly and use simple and straightforward techniques and melodies then the process of controlling small streams of air becomes easier to learn. Take your time and consider using learn harmonica books, CDs and websites to correctly learn the instrument.

Harmonica Tabs For Those Who Don’t Read Music

Music Tabs to The Rescue

For those who cannot read sheet music, harmonic music tabs are a popular alternative that can help you learn to play the correct notes. These tabs shows the note for a song number that corresponds to each hole on the harmonica, for example the number 3 is usually used to let players know to blow into the third hole of the harmonica.

Harmonica music tabs are very poplar and entire websites are devoted to providing them and provide instructions for playing solos and riffs. Tabs can generally be found that are designed for basic songs and intermediate and advanced tunes.

For those new to playing the harmonica, beginner levels songs should be used, these are songs that are played in the 1st position, more advanced learners can play songs in the 2nd position.

To indicate when bends are used tabs usually use plus and minus signs, for instance, a -3 would mean that you inhale on hole 3 while a + 3 would mean you blow into hole 3. An unsigned number also usually means to blow Additional notations may also be used to let a player know other alterations. For instance, arrows may be used to let the player know which direction to blow.

Tabs can be useful and offer a quick indicator of knowing how to play numerous songs, however, they usually do not provide much assistance with music timing or rhythm and therefore, those who rely on these methods may find that the music they play does not sound as it should!

Once harmonica players began to be proficient with playing songs on the instrument, learning sheet music is usually recommended over tabs to offer a much greater variety of songs to play. Harmonica music tabs can also be provided with sheet music to help harp players better understand harmonica-specific techniques.

Diatonic Harmonicas – The Right Choice For Beginners

Why Diatonic Harmonicas  Are Best Starting Out

The harp or harmonica is available in a number of different types and one of the most popular harmonica types are diatonic harmonicas. In fact, the most popular type of harmonica is actually a diatonic harmonica known as the Blues harp or the 10-hole harmonica. Unlike chromatic harmonicas, diatonic harmonicas are designed to only play a single key. For instance, the key of C harmonica is tuned to the C major scale.

Diatonic harmonicas are so popular because they work well with blues, country, jazz, rock and folk music. By using advanced techniques such as bending which lowers the pitch of a note or changing the way the instrument is held, players can get more expression from the harp, brining in vocal sounds such as shaking and wailing desired in these types of music. Since the key of C is right in the middle of the scale, such harmonicas can also help beginners better understand music theory.

Most beginners start out with a single diatonic harp, and then as their music progresses to the point that they are playing along with singers, CDs or other musical instruments, they buy other harmonicas in the set to represent additional keys. The most common keys to get besides C are usually D, F and G; single key harmonicas also come in the rest of the 12 keys.

Despite their popularity, diatonic harmonicas do not have to be expensive, reasonably priced harmonicas can be found for just a few dollars and provide new harp players with consistent volume and tone. Look for brands with good solid construction that do not leak air. Most materials will provide the same quality, however, wooden diatonic harmonicas are generally not as desired since the wood can shrink and cause air flow problems. For health reasons, a new

Learning To Play The Harmonica Made Easy

Choosing A Good Course

The harmonica truly is a unique musical instrument to play. To some, it might appear to be little more than a novelty item which is an unfair assessment. Then, when they give it a try they learn a great deal of talent, skill, and artistry goes into being a solid harmonica player. You truly do gain a great deal of respect for those artists that are brilliant harmonica players. You may even be inspired to become a harmonica player yourself.

To do so you will need access to a solid, reputable learning program. Such programs do exist. You just need to be mindful of the components that clearly define a quality structured course for learning how to play the harmonica.

And quality is important here to be sure.

You definitely will want to look for a quality course as opposed to a “fly by night” one since the quality of the course itself will play a large role in whether or not you are able to develop any musical abilities from the program you have enrolled in. Try to avoid any courses which claim they can teach you how to play the harmonica without very much effort.

You do not want an “easy” program. What you really want is an excellent system that will help you reach your goal which is learning how to play the harmonica like a pro. For some, this might take a little extra time and others might very well get the hang of the process right away. Either way is fine as long as you do eventually develop the proper skill.

The right course will make that possible.

However, some may mention they do not know where they can enroll in such a course or if they do not have a schedule which can support their learning program. If you find yourself fitting such a description, here is some very positive news: there are at home learning programs you can take part in which can teach you the basics of learning how to play the harmonica and do so with relative ease.

A quality video lesson program definitely has the potential to provide the helpful information that can instill the skills required to play the harmonica. With the right lesson plan and practice, you might be stunned to discover how quickly you gain proficiency with this instrument.

A program of this nature will be a very well structured one. It primarily will stress the basics of harmonica play. By providing insights into the basics required, even a complete novice will be able to pick up on the fine points of how to start out being a talented harmonica player.

The course material should be logically laid out so that it is easy to follow. The basic material in the lesson plan should be built upon one another allowing the student to gain proficiency over time but learn the important points almost right away.

Interested in learning more about such a course? There is a website you can visit.


Happy Harpin: Learning Harmonica From A Pro

Why You Should Learn From JP Allen

Many opportunities to learn how to play the harmonica are offered by players who really aren’t teachers. Yes, some of these offers that are found online are presented by incredibly talented harmonica players, but they lack one fundamental aspect about learning anything. It must be taught. And not just anybody has the ability to teach. JP Allen happens to be one of the best teachers in the nation. He also happens to be one of the best harmonica players around.

Not That Hard to Learn

Sure, the harmonica may not be a hard instrument to learn, but if you’re interested in playing the harmonica to the best of your own abilities, finding a teacher/mentor to encourage you and find ways for you to discover your abilities will make the learning journey more enjoyable and productive. That’s why you really should consider taking harmonica lessons from Allen. His background teaching at the University of Texas for more than seven years and at Austin Community College for three years easily qualifies him as far as it goes having experience dealing with students eager to learn. Plus, Allen isn’t a history teacher who happens to play harmonica. He is a harmonica player who happens to teach harmonica rather well. No, you don’t have to travel to Texas and enroll in one his college campus courses. You’re in luck because Allen offers harmonica lessons online.

Why Choose Allen?

The question always surfaces when it comes to purchasing how-to lessons online about anything since there is usually competition between offers. Well, most of the harmonica teaching sites you will find on the Internet offer a pay-as-you-go plan that can really get expensive after a while. Allen offers a one-time fee that can even be paid in a few installments making the entire course affordable to anyone. Plus, he has the “street cred” to back up his statements that anyone can learn how to play at professional levels. While performing in the Austin area for 10 years from 1994 until 2004, Allen developed a reputation as a top notch harmonica player. He was chosen to record and perform with Grammy-nominated artist Abra Moore. In fact, one of the reasons that led him into developing how-to-play harmonica educational online series was basically an answer to, ”Gosh, I wish I could take lessons from you, but we’re just visiting Austin.”

Make Your Friends Say ‘Wow’

If you really want to make your friends stand up and notice saying, “Wow, I didn’t know you could play harmonica that well,” then you need to get a hold of Allen’s lessons. He’s discovered a fundamental truth to success that is applied toward teaching people how to play the harmonica, and that is there is no practice involved. Allen instructs students to employ a method that is being used by children since the dawn of time to learn anything, just do it, just play.

Putting in just seven minutes per week playing along to the lesson videos will have students playing songs in no time. It doesn’t matter if you are new to music or been trying to play harmonica for a while, Allen’s lessons will soon have you stage worthy playing with competence that will astound everyone you know. If you can’t devote seven minutes, don’t buy the lessons.

Bono of U2, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, and Shakira – these are just a few of world-famous musicians who can play the harmonica like virtuosos and who have incorporated its sound into their music. With the Happy Harpin’ – the harmonica is also called the harp – lessons conducted by JP Allen, you have plenty of opportunities to play like a pro. You can then entertain your family and friends during parties, jam with musicians in private sessions, and even play in a blues or rock band!

Two Main Benefits

According to JP Allen, his harmonica lessons are the best among online classes for two main reasons. We are inclined to believe his claims considering that he is a well-respected harmonica teacher at the University of Texas and the Austin Community College, aside from his experience with a touring band. His clients have also testified as to the effective results of his online teaching methods, a few of which will be discussed in the following section.

The three main benefits that attract clients to the Happy Harpin’ lessons are:

  • Seven Minutes of Daily Practice Only – This is different from other online harmonica lessons where the teacher provides for a week of instruction, usually an hour each day, and then leaves the student to practice on her own. Unfortunately, it often leads to boredom, backsliding and picking up on bad habits sans the teacher’s guidance. In JP Allen’s lessons, you only need to set aside 7 minutes of your time each day for the lessons, which cover a wide range of topics from essential breathing and hand techniques to rhythm, melody and harmony. You are assured of expert guidance every step of the way, not to mention that 7 minutes takes little out of your daily schedule.
  • Step-by-Step Instructions – Learning to play the harmonica is made easier, faster and more fun than ever before. This is because the Happy Harpin’ lessons are designed for virtually everybody who wants to play the harmonica like a virtuoso. Each lesson builds on the gains of the last lessons, all while making it fun to learn for the entire 15 cumulative hours of the program.

Well, of course, you have to subscribe to the full Happy Harpin’ course to judge for yourself. Judging from the customer reviews, nonetheless, you can look forward to a great time with JP Allen while learning to make music on your harmonica.

Things You Will Learn

The lessons included in the cumulative 15 hours of video instructions include but are not limited to:

  • Blues rhythm patterns and rhythm jam
  • Techniques in breathing, blowing and drawing as well as coughing including the so-called tongue twister
  • Taps, triangle patterns and hand quacking
  • Bending, improvisation, and slip sliding away

JP Allen emphasizes learning to play the harmonica starting with rhythm instead of melody and technique. This is his secret to teaching the harmonica, just as he did with the award-winning Abra Moore.

A quick look at the student testimonials on the Happy Harpin’ official website reveals several positive reviews. Many thanked JP Allen for the easy, fast and fun lessons that made them learn difficult pieces like the Bohemian Rhapsody, Bad Moon Rising and bar blues progression while others were grateful for the opportunity to jam with bands, thanks to their newfound musical skills.

JP Allen has found a great way to leave a good legacy to the harmonica world via the Happy Harpin’ video instruction series. Now, if only you can tune it to these lessons.

Five Reasons You Should Learn The Harmonica

Why You Should Join The Ranks of Harmonica Players

As the most popular instrument in the world, there is a range of reasons for why you should learn to play the harmonica.

To find out why it is the most popular instrument in the world, we look at the key reasons people want to play.

The five reasons below generally come up as the most popular.  In our mind they are very sound, and show exactly why you should learn to play the harmonica.

You can play so many different styles of music

The greatest thing about the harmonica is its diversity.  You can play the blues, jazz, rock, country and even classical.  What’s more you can learn to play all of these styles relatively easily.

The good part about this, is no matter what situation or scenario you are in, you will be able to play along.  Your trusty harmonica will help you mingle with any musicians and any crowd.

It improves health

Another benefit is the breathing techniques and control that come with playing the harmonica.  Being able to breathe deeply and in a controlled way will help to improve your long capacity and overall health.  There are also health benefits in terms of reducing anxiety and alleviating depression.

The breathing skills you learn by playing the harmonica will also equip you to play other instruments in the future as well, so its win-win.

It is seriously portable!

You can’t take a grand piano everywhere you go.  Also a double-base is almost as hard to carry.

The same isn’t true for your trusty harmonica.  All you need is a pocket, and you can take it with you.

This enables you to have jam sessions and fun no matter where you are in the world.  It’s these moments that will turn into amazing memories in your life.   On these merits alone it is a fantastic instrument to play.

You can’t play the blues without it!

The harmonica is one of the most fundamentals instruments for blues.  The rustic sounds add a soulful and unique aspect of any song that is being played.

In fact the harmonica is often considered to be the element that brings all of the other parts of blues together.  Back in the 1930s to 1950s, there were even bands that were dedicated to just harmonica players.  This is how important the harmonica is to the blues.

It’s not just a toy!

While many people believe that the harmonica is just a toy, this definitely isn’t the case.   A good harmonica player can create soulful and beautiful music.  Often better music than many of the more expensive instruments.  When down well, it is absolutely beautiful.

Don’t see the harmonica as just been a toy just because it is well priced.  The fact is, it’s an amazing instrument that has contributed to the music industry and has been played by some of the most famous musicians on the planet.

If you are considering a new instrument, the harmonica should be up there as a key consideration.

Seven Ways You Can Improve Your Harmonica Playing

Steps to Make You Great

If you have a harmonica player and are looking to improve your skills, there are a lot of things you can do.

The difference between a good harmonica player and a great harmonica player, is huge.  When you hear someone on the street or at a jazz club that is a great player, the audience stops and listens.

The good news is this –  by following simple steps you can dramatically improve your harmonica skills.

The seven tips below will head you in the right direction.

Learn to sing and play the harmonica in the one song

It’s hard to create a full harmonica experience without singing.  It is an instrument that works best when you play some fantastic tunes, and then break them up with signing.

So practice your singing and get out there – even if you don’t sing well.

Learn to vary your volume

Mixing your harmonica playing, and going between loud and soft is a great way to add another dimension to your playing.  It’s called changing between a whisper and a wail.  It can take some getting used to, but it is fantastic once you have mastered it.

Play directly into an amp

This is a great way to hone your skills.  There is no reverb or delay so it forces you to be a better player and makes you focus on the quality of your sound over additional features.

Force yourself to stay relaxed

When you tighten up your body, you will decrease your long capacity and will have trouble hitting all of your notes and staying on pitch and in control.

Practice relaxing and deep breathing before you play.

Always stand when you play

Sitting when you play doesn’t help with your breathing or you’re playing,  Always stand up and allow your body to breathe well and your lungs to inflate to full capacity.

It also looks a lot better on stage as well!

Don’t be afraid to try other styles of music

Five Little Known Tips to Make You a Great Harmonica Player

 Becoming Great at Playing the Harmonica

Becoming a harmonica player is a great way to improve your health, reduce your stress levels and improve your overall happiness.

If you are a harmonica player and you want to improve your skills, then the tips below will head you in the right direction.

You may not become a Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen over night, but you will become a great player that will put other people in awe!  That in itself is one of the key benefits of learning an instrument.

You need to put the time in!

Before moving on to other tips, it’s important to note that to be a good harmonica player you really need to put time and effort in.

Practicing for 1000 hours – that’s right 1000 hours – will have you playing better than you ever thought possible.

It’s a musical instrument and a skill that must be learnt, so it isn’t going to happen overnight.  There are no overnight successes in the music game!

Start with harmonicas that can bend

Cheaper harmonicas like the Hohner Special 20 and the Lee Oskar can bend.  This bend will help you to learn how to play and harness your skills.  While the stiffer harmonicas provide better sound they take some mastering.

It is much better to be able to play easily and hit the notes than to be fighting the harmonica in the early stages of practice and learning.

Don’t go with the cheapest harmonicas

Yes you can buy a harmonica for under 10 dollars.  Unfortunately, these harmonicas are not made well and you will be fighting to get good music out of the harmonica.

On this note, it is also worth buying more than one harmonica.  Having different styles will also help to improve your skills.  You can play blues, or different types of music to expand your overall skills.

This will help you to improve a lot quicker than just playing one type of music.

Blues Harmonica

This is the classic harmonica sound and a good way to improve your skills.  Buy a good beginners guide and practice and practice.

To start, you just need to focus on playing a single note that is clear.  You can then practice some riffs.  What you are looking to do is build up your basic skills until they are solid.  Once you know these basic skills you will have a good base to play other music.

If you can play blues on the harmonica, you can easily adapt to other genres later.

Listen to the best

Another great way to learn is to listen to good harmonica playing.

Buy some good CD’s and listen to how the pros play it.  This will have you improving your skills in no time.

In short, the harmonica is a fantastic instrument that is great for entertainment and can bring loads of fun and joy to the player.

Follow the tips above and you will become a harmonica super star in no time.

Can You Teach Yourself to Play the Harmonica?

Teach yourself the Harmonica

The harmonica isn’t one of the most popular instruments in the world for no reason.  As well as being well priced, it is also relatively easy to play.  We use the word relatively here because there is a lot of patience involved, and a mastering of skills which can take time.

But, once you can control your breathing and can sound different notes, you will be well on your way to becoming a competent harmonica player.

The tips below will help start your journey to becoming a harmonica player.

Find a good quality course

A good quality harmonica course will start you on the road to success.  It is much better to learn from experts than to try and teach yourself.

Look for a course that explains the basic about tabs, and also shows basic instruction on how to hold a harmonica and how to start blowing and playing.

Finally, choose a course that relates specifically to a genre of music that you are choosing.  If you want to play blues or jazz, make sure the course teaches you how to do this.

It goes without saying, but you also need to ensure that the course is made for the harmonica that you have.  A simple fact we know, but well worth double checking.

Jam with better musicians than yourself

See these jam sessions in the same way as you would time with a mentor.  If you hang out and play with better harmonica players than yourself, you will improve quickly, and will also learn some great tips and tricks from them.

This is information that you simply can’t buy.

Seek inspiration

Listen to some of the best harmonica music around.  Listen to the classics.  See what you like about the music you are listening to and inspire yourself to play as well as you can.

Practice, practice and more practice

No harmonica player or musician gets good by not practicing.  Period!

If you want to become a good player then you need to put in the time, it’s as simple as that.

To start, put aside five hours a week to play and practice.  This should be at an absolute minimum.  In fact 10 hours a week would be better.  The more you practice the faster you will learn and the quicker it will take to master your instrument.

Just remember that the best harmonica players didn’t get there by accident.  They practiced their mouths off day and night to become the best players that they can be.

Use your emotions to help you play

The harmonica is one of the most emotional instruments you can play.  How you are feeling on the inside can turn into beautiful music.

Use this to your advantage and let your emotions out through your music.  When you do this it can be a beautiful thing.  It also keeps you practicing and enables you to deal with any emotions that you may have at that time.

Work on music that is unfamiliar

When we practice we often get into a slump and play music that we are comfortable with.  You need to break out of this from time to time.

Every few weeks play different music or a different genre.  It will improve your skills and will also keep you feeling fresh.

It does take time and effort to become a good harmonica player.  However, the sacrifices are worth it.  Once you become a good player you can create beautiful music and enjoy this music with friends and family.  Find a good harmonica course and get started!