HARMONICA SCHOOL DIARY, STUDENT JOURNEY AND SUBMISSIONS

School facts, statistics, student questions and more!

Harmonica School Diary

On this page, you’ll find some harmonica school facts, statistics, and student journey.

The school is an active environment where students strive to get the most they can from my courses and I follow them to help achieve their goals. Every student is unique – that’s why I ask everyone to send me their playing so we can check on their progress and suggest the next move. It’s about teamwork, and the goal is to learn harmonica with the right tools. The question and answer section further below will help you better understand how to study to really reap the benefits. 

INDEX

HARMONICA SCHOOL STATISTICS

  • Active students (24-hour log-in): 100-110

Last month’s most-followed courses:

  • Complete beginner course: 22%
  • Second position harmonica workout: 13%
  • Improvisation concepts: 12%
  • Chugging and train imitation: 11%
  • Third position harmonica workout: 10%
  • Style Explorer course: 10%
  • Other courses: 22%

Most played exercises (last month):

Beginner course month 4, exercise 34 - chords and licks together.

Second position course, exercise 21 - blues improvisation chorus 1.

Most played songs (last month):

Beginner course month 2 - third position minor blues.

Style Explorer course bluegrass songs.

Most read lessons (last month):

Beginner course month 1 - the blues structure and how to play it.

Third position course - blues routines for the turnaround.

STUDENT SUBMISSION FOR THE COURSE

Not sure if you’re ready to move on to the next course?

Here are the assignments for each school course. It’s not an exam, but if you feel like you want me to give you direct feedback on your studies, send me one or more mp3s or a video. I’ll get back to you with my suggestions and we’ll check when you’re ready to move on to another course. We’ll find out the right course for you. Keep up your practicing!

Suggested study material to record and submit:

Beginner harmonica course month 1: exercises 9 to 11 and second position blues song (full version).

Beginner harmonica course month 2: exercises 13 to 15 and third position blues song.

Beginner harmonica course month 3: exercises 25 to 27 and first position song.

Beginner harmonica course month 4: exercises 32 to 34 and second chugging song.

Beginner harmonica course month 5: exercises 39 to 41 and fourth position song.

Beginner harmonica course month 6: exercises 47 to 49 and solo harmonica song.

Chugging and Train imitation course: exercises 27 to 29, train song or solo harmonica song.

Improvisation concepts course: exercises 29 to 31 and improvisation study song.

Second position workout course: exercises 18 to 20 and second position song.

Third position course: exercises  18 to 20 and third position song.

Fifth position course:  exercises 18 to 20 and fifth position song.

Style Explorer course: one song of your choice, better if two.

The Bending Gym course: exercises 7, 17 and 27, bending study song.

7 Easy progressive songs course: song 6 and 7.

8 Easy progressive songs course: song 9 and 13.

STUDENT QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Here, you’ll find some questions from students about the school, the courses, the methodology, and how to practice. Feel free to contact me with any other questions you may have.

How do I know when I’m ready to move on to the next course? Should you be able to play perfectly everything in the actual course?
Well, students should of course try to play the best they can. However, I suggest that you strive to reach a good level for you rather than for perfection. Often, perfection and progress are in conflict. It’s better to aim for 80-85% of what could be called a ‘perfect performance’ and move on to more complex material. Once you’ve practiced the new material, you’ll find out that you can play the older stuff even better, as the learning process takes time. Be gentle with yourself – even professional players make mistakes. Take your time, and you’re sure to succeed.

How many hours a day should I practice? Anything from 15 minutes to 45 minutes is good, although with one hour per day, you’ll make faster progress. If you have more time, split the practice session into 20-minute blocks with a 5 to 10-minute break between each block. In this way, the brain will retain more information and you’ll learn better.

I only have 5 minutes today, what should I practice? 5 minutes of really focused practice can give you plenty. Work on one or two technical exercises or a scale, focusing especially on the correct execution and timing. A small and well-defined task is ideal for a small amount of time. Remember, focus is the key.

I will be unable to practice for several days, will this affect my learning too much? Absolutely not! If you’ve been practicing correctly and consistently the rest of the time, you’ll continue to learn during your breaks. Remember that we learn even while we sleep. If you feed your mind with enough quality study, you’ll be fine.

I find that I can play the exercises and the songs in the courses, but my tone seems to be weak. Is there anything I can do? If you’re in the beginning stages of learning, having a good tone is something you should work on. As you learn and practice more, you’ll develop a more rounded sound almost without noticing, as you’ll learn to breathe correctly and make use of your oral cavity to shape your tone. If you play with the tongue blocking technique, you’ll develop the required skills. It takes time, and I suggest practicing long notes with dynamics and seeing how your mouth shape affects the tone. However, most of the work is done in relation to breathing with the diaphragm.

I seem to play at tempo without the metronome, but then when I use it I get confused and really struggle to play. What should I do? This is perfectly normal. If you’ve never previously used the metronome consistently, you need to focus on the beat and try to play with it. My courses help with the visual and auditive metronome, and you’ll get used to playing with it very soon. Make him your best friend!

How long should I practice each course? The beginner course is set in monthly sections, although you can of course study at your own pace. You can move on to the next course when you feel you can play everything in the actual course almost as I do in the videos. Keep me as a reference and try to imitate me. Don’t worry if you don’t get to play everything well – strive for about an 85% performance. Concerning the other courses, the average study time is two months for each course, although again, it really depends on you. You’ll have full access to the courses forever, so there’s no need to rush. Very often, the more you focus on practicing the basic stuff, the faster you’ll proceed later.

How long would a complete learning path take if I start from zero? This depends greatly on how much you study as well as some other variables. A complete learning journey can last from two to four years, and at the end, you’ll be an advanced harmonica player who’s capable of playing many different musical styles with ease.

I’ve been playing harmonica on and off for a couple of years, what course should I get? Unfortunately, we don’t learn harmonica in relation to the time we own the instrument, but in relation to what we study, how we study, and gaining valuable feedback on our playing. Most ‘intermediate players’, when starting to work with my courses, discover that they should take the beginner course. This is normal, as self-teaching is not like going to school. However, don’t think that everything you did before was for nothing. The skills you learned previously will remain and the easier courses will help you fill in the gaps. In this way, you’ll start to become a better player.

What’s the difference between the complete beginner course and the 12 songs course? The former is what you need to build strong fundamentals, while the 12 songs course is more concentrated and the level of the songs spans from very easy to intermediate, with some more complex techniques involved like bending. I suggest taking the 12 songs harmonica course after having completed the beginner course, studying the songs as you proceed with the other courses and gaining new skills.

STUDENT OF THE WEEK
(Starting from November, 2020)

March 13, 2021 - Congratulations to William Newman from New York for having completed the beginner harmonica course month 3. Move on to the month 4 lessons!

March 06, 2021 - Great submission by Brian Shultz, from Germany: he completed the harmonica improvisation course with great results! Brian is Ready to move on to the harmonica position playing courses.

February 27, 2021 - Mirco Salinas from Canada completed the beginner harmonica course. All the study song submissions were great, you can move on to the harmonica chugging and train imitation course, or the improvisation course.

February 20, 2021 - Congratulations to John Walburn from the UK for having completed the beginner harmonica course month 4. John performed an almost perfect chugging harmonica song! You're ready to move on, I suggest the second position blues harmonica course.

February 13, 2021 - Marika Bell from Boston has just completed the 5th position harmonica course. Submission of the workout song was really great! You’re ready to take the style explorer course and work on some more advanced material!

February 06, 2021 - John Bullet from the UK has just completed the whole beginner harmonica 6 months course. Now he is moving to the fifth position harmonica course and the improvisation course. Great job John!

January 30, 2021 - Mirco Valdes from Canada has just completed the chugging and train imitation harmonica course. Submission of the train song and exercises 27 to 29 was really great! Mirco is moving to the next course: The second position blues harmonica workout.

January  23, 2021 - Congratulations to William Newman from New York for having completed the beginner harmonica course month 3. Submission of exercises 25 to 37 and first position song was impressing! You’re ready to move on to month 4.

January  16, 2021 - Mitch Rowell from Louisiana has just completed the 5th position harmonica course. Submission of the study song was very good! Mitch, you're ready to take another course, I suggest the style explorer course.

January  09, 2021 - Ben Williamson from New Orleans has just completed the third position harmonica course. Submission of the workout song was great! You’re ready to take the fifth position course and work on more minor songs.

January 02, 2021 - Congratulations to Willie Baker from the UK! He completed the Chugging and Train imitation course: exercises 27 to 29, and train song submitted well played. Keep up the great work and have fun with the harmonica improvisation course!

December 26, 2020 - Great job from Lucas Romero from Colorado! He completed the style explorer course and submitted the bluegrass and swing songs. I suggest Lucas the 20 technique development exercises course.

December 19, 2020 - John Edrington from Canada has just completed the chugging and train imitation harmonica course. Submission of the train song and exercises 27 to 29 was good! You’re ready to take another course, I suggest the third position or the second position course.

December 12, 2020 - Congratulations to William Newman from New York for having completed the beginner harmonica course month 2. Submission of exercises 13 to 15 and third position song was great – you’re ready to move on to month 3!

December 05, 2020 - Congratulations to Robert Donnelly from California for having completed the beginner harmonica course month 1! Submission of exercises 9 to 11 and the blues song (single-note and chugging version) was great – you’re ready to move on to month 2!

November 28, 2020 - Congratulations to Michael Tice from Norway for having completed the learn harmonica with 12 songs course. You’re now ready to move on to a more advanced workout – I suggest taking the third position or fifth position harmonica course.

November 21, 2020 - Great job from Marvin Enden from Missouri! He completed the style explorer course and is now working on the harmoica bending course. Keep up the great work!

November 14, 2020 - Maria Clarissa Giordano from the UK has just completed the second position harmonica course. Submission of the workout song was almost perfect! You’re ready to take the third position course and work on minor songs.

November 07, 2020 - Congratulations to Jim Medaw from Alaska for having completed the beginner harmonica course month 3. Submission of exercises 25 to 27 and first position song was great – you’re ready to move on to month 4!

October 31, 2020 - Congratulations to Bob Malek from Wisconsin for having completed the beginner harmonica course month 1! Submission of exercises 9 to 11 and the blues song (single-note and chugging version) was great – you’re ready to move on to month 2!

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