The Biggest harmonica learning Play-Along system.
900+ Videos, 100+ Pdf lessons, 13 curriculums, an innovative and effective methodology to teach you harmonica. Professional learning material to download and study at your own pace.
Full support and feedback from the teacher included.
Welcome to my online harmonica school! In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the structure of the school, its courses, and above all, the methodology that’s proving to be highly effective among students of all levels. Before we start, I want to thank all the students who’ve accepted the challenge of learning with my school, with a new approach and method; they have helped to improve it with their feedback, and I really appreciate it. The fact that new students are continuing to join us every week is a great sign!
Why start with an image? Well, in order to really study profitably, we need to have a clear picture of what we can get from our studies and how to gain it. Please take a moment to closely observe the picture, then continue reading!
There’s nothing worse than enrolling in a course of any discipline without knowing where we start and above all where we can go. The ideal is also to have an idea of the road we need to take in order to achieve our goals. My online harmonica school was designed and built with this principle in mind: to give the student a clear vision.
As you can see, the courses are organized in a top-down model, where on the top, you find the easiest learning material, while the more advanced courses sit on the bottom of the schema. There’s also an organization of topics, which is why you find, for example, the column with the position courses all together.
One very important aspect that differentiates my online harmonica school from others is that, excluding the beginner course, which lasts 5 months and covers all the basic areas to learn how to play, each course is well-defined. The human mind loves to understand and outline what it observes, so you’ll find specific courses for every specific topic that concerns the study of harmonica. By working with a course that has a well-defined goal and a fixed duration, we succeed in getting the best out of our practice.
I’ll give you an example: if you enroll in the course for the third position playing on harmonica, you already know that it has a difficulty level of 3 (an almost intermediate level) and lasts two months. Of course, once you’ve enrolled in the course, it will be yours forever and you can study at your own pace, but each course is designed to add something to your skills in a given timeframe. For this reason, the study material will be offered to you weekly to avoid overloading your practice. Remember that the teacher who designed the course (me) has already done all the hard work of choosing what to have you study, in what sequence, and in what way. All you have to do is follow along with the lessons and have fun!
How should I approach the school if I want to learn from scratch and gain the most benefits from my learning path?
Assuming you’re new to the harmonica, you should start with the beginner course. You’ll get to understand and practice the fundamentals, and by the end of the 5 months, you’ll be able to play clear single notes with tongue blocking or puckering, double notes, chords and melodies together (chugging), songs in different positions, and both major and minor keys, as well as blues. Shakes, tongue flutters, dynamics, tremolo – everything is covered in these lessons. This course is called “beginner” but it can take you really far. That’s why, if you haven’t studied harmonica with a teacher ever or for a while, I suggest starting from this course to be sure you’re not missing anything. Consider that if you’re self-taught, you’re probably missing one or two ‘basic’ skills.
The natural successors to the beginner course are the 12-song course and the first-position improvisation course. The course with the 12 songs contains songs composed specifically to convey the most important techniques to play the harmonica. The songs have progressive difficulty, and by the end of the course, you will basically be an intermediate-level student.
As far as improvisation is concerned, this is a discipline that requires time and technique, so you can start studying it after the beginner course. The course can be followed in parallel with the course on chugging.
With the four courses we just talked about, you’ll have a pretty complete harmonica competence, and will be ready to take on the most advanced courses.
Now let’s talk about the courses to play harmonica in the various positions: second, third, and fifth. Each of these courses lasts 2 months and teaches you to play in a particular position. The course on the second position focuses on the blues harmonica but doesn’t deal with only blues – in fact, the second position is very suitable to play on all major tracks. The courses on the third and fifth position will take you into the world of minor songs and blues in minor, giving you everything you need to play with confidence on any type of song.
As for the development of harmonica techniques, the bending course will allow you to practice bent notes in various musical contexts, developing agility and precision in the intonation of these. Please note that this course will not teach you how to bend, so I recommend a couple of real lessons with a teacher to start with. Bending takes a lot of practice, and once you can play the individual notes, my course will help you to make a leap forward in quality.
The course with the 20 technical exercises is a real game-changer. If you learn to play everything in the course, you will become an advanced harmonica player. This course contains hybrid exercises in the form of small songs, which will develop your skills of speed, agility, and precision with the harmonica.
Another course that can make you make a qualitative leap with the harmonica is the 'style explorer', which will allow you to acquire many new techniques to play with confidence in all major musical genres. Blues, Rock, Bluegrass, Country, Folk, Modern music. Just want to play the blues? I guarantee that if you learn to play other styles too, when you play the blues, your friends will notice because you’ll be light years ahead of other players!
The 55 multi-style licks course is intended to expand your musical vocabulary. You will learn to play different musical genre licks with different phrasing techniques. This course can be followed in parallel to the ‘style explorer'.
If you love the blues and want to try playing like the masters of harmonica, the Slim Harpo and Little Walter solo study courses will immerse you in the world of classical blues.
As you can see, in my harmonica school, nothing is left to chance – everything is organized to make your life as a harmonica student easier.
Now that you know how my harmonica school is structured, it’s time to have an in-depth view of the method I adopted for the courses. 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. If you want to know more about my personal harmonica tabs, you can find a complete article on that here.
When you study songs, you’ll have 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.
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, the tabs and all audio clips. With these, you should be able to study well.
I hope to see you among my students, happily playing your preferred song on the harmonica!
– Luciano Guida, teacher and owner of the online harmonica school at harmonicalearning.com