What I’m about to show you, believe it or not, turned out to be a really great way to learn how to play the harmonica. The ‘listen and repeat’ method is the most effective way to compensate for the lack of feedback a student has when studying alone.
The metronome is the key. Most students aren’t naturally able to play in time, so in each of my classes, you’ll be guided by a visual and auditory metronome every time you practice an exercise or a lick. As for studying the songs themselves, instead of the metronome, you’ll be guided by a backing track, and on the screen, you can follow the sequence of chords (harmony progression) to always know where you are inside the song.
Let’s see how you can learn a lick or any other exercise guided by my learning system videos. On the screen, you’ll see the tabs with the harmonica holes and the corresponding notes. It’s really important to get to know where each note is on the harmonica. The video will show the metronome beat count and you will hear the clicks while I’m playing the sequence for you.
This is the moment where, even if you don’t notice it, you will look at the meter counting, the note, and the hole number. In this way, you will gradually imprint in your brain what you have to do. Look at the following picture to better understand this concept.
After listening to me playing the exercise, the video tells you it’s your turn to play, and you will play the sequence while trying to imitate me. This process is repeated several times to give you the time to really memorize and learn: I play, then you play, then I replay, then you play again, and so on.
The following picture shows what happens when you play: you’ll start to listen and look at the metronome count and play in time with it, reading the harmonica hole numbers. In this moment, you will also look at the note name and memorize it, making an association between the note and the harmonica hole. This is something that happens naturally – you’re not really focusing on everything, it just happens, and it really works!
Does everything up until this point sound almost too easy? Good! Because it should be easy, and the easy methods are actually those that work better. This method emulates what happens in my one-to-one lessons: I show the exercise or the song phrase to the student and we analyze it together. Then I play it and the student imitates me, and we keep alternating, creating a ‘listen and repeat’ routine.
Let’s take a look at what happens when you study a song with my courses. The video will show you the chord progression and indicate where you are in the song. You’ll have the tabs with the harmonica holes and notes, and my special tab notation contains information to help you play with the correct timing, note duration, and pauses shown.
Look at measure three: there are four slots, each one a quarter, so in the first beat you have two notes (B and D), holes 3 and 4. In the third beat of measure three, you find a triplet – in fact, the three notes share the same slot (beat). After a couple of days, you’ll be so used to working with this notation that it becomes natural and extremely useful.
When you study songs, you’ll have also backing track videos similar to the play-along, but without me playing on them. Slow versions are also provided for you to study more easily in the beginning.
BELOW YOU CAN WATCH OUR TABS TRAINER VIDEO, IT SHOWS HOW TO READ THEM.
All the harmonica lessons in my school courses are in written form. In this way, I’m able to translate them to help students who speak Spanish and other languages. You can also easily copy and paste the lesson text into an online translator and get it in your language if you don’t speak English.
The following are some frequently asked questions about my harmonica school and its courses. Every course has a page on the website and in the school, where you can read all the details about it. Feel free to reach out for any further information.
What kind of harmonica do I need to study with your school?
Most of the courses require a diatonic C harmonica, and this is stated on every course description page. When a different harmonica key is needed, this is clearly indicated.
What happens if I pick a course and find it too easy or too difficult?
You can simply reach out to me and we can change the course – there are absolutely no issues with this. I’m here to help you learn the harmonica, and we will always find the best solution for your level and taste.
Can I bother you if I need help to understand something covered in the lessons?
If you’re one of my students, you’re never a bother! Feel free to reach to me out on Facebook or by direct email and I’ll be happy to help you. This is my job – I teach the harmonica full-time, every day.
Can I study something else, like other songs, while following your courses?
You can utilize your time however you like, although I suggest that you focus well on the courses, keeping this in mind: my material was created to teach you the technique, not only songs. The more time you spend on my courses, the more time you’ll save later when you want to learn songs. Once you have the tools (skills) to do so, everything becomes much easier further down the track.
I feel stuck always playing the same stuff, how can your school help me to overcome this?
If you feel like that, you’re probably not studying in the right way. Go back to the main picture on the top of this article and observe the harmonica school course structure; you’ll find the areas in which you can work. Maybe you’ve been too focused on blues songs or licks? Perhaps you’ve spent a lot of time on bending but don’t know how to play bent notes in the phrasing? Can you play the harmonica at tempo? Do you feel like you’re missing speed or note precision? The solution is in that picture. Talk to me if you need assistance.
Can I have a discount if I enroll in more than one harmonica course?
If you feel like you want to really get the most from my school and need help, just ask. A happy student means a lot to me – more than anything else, in fact.
I want to learn a particular song I like but I don’t have the tabs, can you provide them to me and build a lesson to explain how to play the song?
This is something I do often. Just submit to me a link to the song on YouTube and I’ll get back to you with a solution.
I want to learn bending but can’t get how to do it, what do you suggest?
As I stated in the school description section, bending requires time and work. Talk to me and we can work out how to overcome the issue.
What tools do I need to learn with your school?
A computer, tablet, or smartphone. You can study using your preferred device. A computer screen is bigger and more comfortable, but a tablet can also work really well. To get the maximum with a smartphone, you can also print the lessons and tabs and work with them offline.
Can I download the material and work if my internet connection is bad?
You can download the lesson transcriptions and the tabs, the videos are accessible via streaming.
I hope to see you among my students, happily playing your preferred song on the harmonica!