In this article I'll tell you about some of the most common mistakes a beginner makes when acquiring the the techniques to play harmonica. Some of these are common among those also who are preparing to learn another musical instrument, or even different disciplines that have little to do with music. If you recognize yourself in one or more of the attitudes that I'm going to list, you could take the opportunity to review your way in accordance with the journey to the musical world you are about to begin. Let's see what are the most common errors that harmonica beginners make:
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1. Going to the shop and getting advices from the shop keeper. Sometimes it happens that a student looking quite happy would come to me, pulls out of his pocket a wonderful harmonica which resembles much like a Hohner Special 20 but actually it isn't genuine. We may notice that it is a little anonymous by taking a closer look on engravings present on the shell, but as we never take anything for granted so we try to blow in it. It is hard! very hard! You got the feeling that you have to put a lot of air, and then it seems to come out from everywhere except from where it should really come out. Result: though you only spent eight dollars on it, but now you must go to the store and buy what I recommend. You will spend thirty dollars on this one but you will be satisfied, and finally start to learn how to play it. I don't want to say that the stores don't have adequate staff to advise the client, but harmonica is not like guitar, it's a rather lesser known instrument and sometimes, the music stores don't have someone who actually knows what is he selling. I would suggest you to talk to a professional about the instrument or ask your teacher prior making a purchase.
2. Surfing the internet forums, interest groups, or social networks to ask which model of harmonica to buy, asking everyone you meet. This happens quite often. When you ask a question on a social network, you get dozens of different answers. Everyone suggests you what is good according to his own experience. No one really knows what's best for you and despite their good intention you'll be the one left confused in the end. It would be better that you explore a local market first before buying a harmonica or visit online stores and see what they offer, select two or three models that fit your budget and then take a survey to see which one is most appreciated.
3. Thinking that the 2 hole draw of your new harmonica is bad because it doesn't play how it should. Before throwing your harmonica away or bringing it back to the shop, you should know that the two hole draw note is always the hardest one, for a beginner, to play. Defacto, it's not the instrument you can hold responsible, it's you! By employing good techniques and correct embouchure which only a good teacher can show you, even the note you get from that draw hole will sound perfect in few minutes.
4. Changing harp frequently, assuming that the one you are using is more difficult to play. When you're new to harmonica playing, a lot of things are going to be hard for you. Sometimes you change your harmonica and achieve what you couldn't before. After a while you go back to your old instrument and find out that you can do the same thing even on that one also. What does it mean? Simply for the reason that you practiced more, you overcame the problem and not because you changed harmonica. Hence it's only because you devoted your time to it, and some tasks really need days or weeks to be accomplished.
5. Trying to learn to bend notes too soon. I know bending is fascinating, and those notes are so 'dirty' and 'crying' which everyone wants to get right away, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way. If you are wasting too much time trying to do something which is still too hard for you, you're actually stealing time from something else; all those things that you need to learn progressively by giving them heir due attention. What would be the point in knowing how to play a three draw first step bend note, if you still can't play four simply natural notes in a row?
6. Buying a book and being convinced on learning everything on your own and in no time. I mentioned only the book, but it applies to videos, tutorials, a limited course comprising a few lessons. There are many students who spend months trying to understand how to play what they find written in a book or what they see on the screen, without a feedback and not knowing if they are doing things the right way. These people often end up getting discouraged and dropped out of the school. When you can't get real results you're easily discouraged, that's why it's important to make sure you study well: the more you get good results, the more you are encouraged to continue studying. Certainly there are people with a great sense of self analysis and a good musical ear who can learn on their own, but these but are few exceptions. If you have never studied music before, self directed learning can become a tiresome process.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article, see you soon. Good harping!