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How To Play the Harmonica For Beginners

This is a type of instrument that produces musical sounds from the vibration of reed which is usually in a frame as air passes through it. It is mainly played by the mouth and tongue, where the air is blown through some holes which have reeds in them. The canes are made in such a way that they produce different sounds and tunes too. This is made possible by adjusting the lengths of the reeds and either tightening or loosening them. This determines whether the music will be loud, low, sharp, faint or loud. A harmonica is a widely known musical instrument that is used by musicians in almost all genres including jazz, pop, Afro music among others. It is an exciting instrument, and many people dread to know how to play it. Most cultures in the world have embraced it and made adjustments, but its principle of air and sound is still maintained. It was first created in Europe and Asia before it was introduced to other places of the world.
Below are a few steps that a beginner can use to learn how to play the harmonica:

  1. Choose the type of harmonica you want to learn



There is entirely no way anyone can be able to learn how to play all the types of harmonica at a go especially if you are just starting. The kinds of harmonica have different ways of using them that varies and purchasing them differs too. One is required to choose the type that best fits their ability and financial capability. They come in different designs and decision has to be thought through carefully as there is no room for regrets. Learning how to play the harmonica can take a lot of time and effort, and this should be a choice made from a person’s own heart. The common types are:-

  • Diatonic harmonica: It is the most commonly used and cheaper. It plays on a specific key which is unchangeable and is mostly used in pop and blues type of music.

  • Chromatic harmonica: This one has a mechanical tool which controls the holes that produce the sounds. They are a little bit costly to purchase. They can either play on a single note or a variety of records depending on the number of holes that the harmonica has. The amount varies from 10 -16 the highest having even more tunes. Jazz musicians prefer it for this reason since they can use a single harmonica to play any desired key.

  • Tremelo-tuned harmonica: This type has its own distinguishing feature that makes it unique which is two reeds per every tone. The two reds are different as one is sharp than the other. The two reeds help create a very unique beat that most pop musicians opt for.

  • Orchestral harmonicas: They are designed to be used in ensemble playing. They are eight kinds with the common of them all being horn harmonicas. This kind has a single comb that has a blowing part on the top and bottom just like a horn has two opens.

  1. Learn and understand how the harmonica works

The harmonica uses brass reeds which separates the air to create the different tones. These reeds need to be replaced as often as they wear out. The user is advised to be gentle with them, so they don’t spoil as fast. The holes in the harmonica are indicated with a number low to high.

  1. Start with the basic techniques


Try blowing through any hole of your choice. Do this continuously and try blowing into three tunnels. This should harmonise and produce a better sound. The technique of using the tongue to block other holes while blowing is slowly learnt. The other technique is called pucker method. This one needs the lips to be relaxed when starting then pushed inwards until there is a bright note heard. Breathe in and out to change records in between the playing. Breathing in and out allows you to access all the signs that the specific harmonica is tuned for.

  1. Practice


Practice makes perfect. The more you keep playing and trying new things the more comfortable you become too. Pick some straightforward short songs and try playing along with them. This will make you have absolute full control over the harmonica. All these tunes are found online plus their tutorials. You can access them and use to do more practice on your own and in your free time. Bending is another thing that needs practising in the harmonica. It is hard but gets comfortable with time. This is done at a much professional level after all the basics have been learnt and perfected. Bending helps the player to change the pitch and it all about the positioning and shaping of the mouth when inhaling. This can be found online with detailed prescription and tutorial videos that explain further. Since it is quite hard, experienced people are the ones who are recommended to try bending harmonicas.

  1. Pay for lessons

Sometimes after following the above steps, you might still not feel contended. A trained person will help sharpen any skills that you might have learnt earlier. Positive result s will be seen faster. A combination of a teacher and personal guides makes perfect end results. Try as much as possible to meet all the requirements by the teacher and motivate yourself all through. Put in the extra efforts needed and be flexible and open to new ideas. Sticking to whatever is in the books and not allowing change reduces the chances of growth. Compare notes on the acquired skills with your colleagues and always help each over out. The lessons will help you learn how to skip holes while playing. Some songs require you to jump a gap or two to reach the intended note, and this needs to be taught by a professional. The right guidance from a harmonic expert will help you ace it fast.
As a harmonica beginner, you are advised to equip yourself with songs and performances by harmonica best players. As an alternative, you can also start using some music making apps like Garageband and practice playing the harmonica. This will help you a great deal in knowing what to expect and setting a bar for you to aim at. This will be a model of motivation and will keep you pushing no matter how rough it might get.