Friday, January 23, 2009

A MySpace for harmonica players has gone up! See the video below for details.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

February Play-Along: Shenandoah

Here is pur play along for February. The song is Shenandoah. This tab comes from and was posted there by someone who goes by the mysterious user name, "20". 
I've included a video you can watch so you can hear what the song sounds like in case you're not familiar with it. It's a harmonica recording by Kyong Lee. You can see more more of his harmonica videos by going to his YouTube page here.
Here it is.

3   4   4   4  -4   5  -5  -6   6

Oh Shen-an-doah, I long to hear you,


7-7 -6    6  -6    6   5  6

A-a-way, you rol-ling riv-er,


 6  -6  -6  -6   5   6   5  -4   4

Oh Shen-an-doah, I long to hear you,


-4  5    4     5  -6  6

A-way, we're bound a-way,


   4   -4    5   4   -4  4

'Cross the wide Mis-sour-i.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Harping On: Jon Gindick

Jon Gindick has written several books on the subject of harmonica and is the founder of Harmonica Jam Camp. He is one of the country’s most recognized harmonica instructors. Jon has a lifetime of harp playing and is always looking to share what he knows with others. 
1. I've come across two of your books. One was called, Country & Blues Harmonica for the Musically Hopeless, the other was Rock N' Blues Harmonica: A World of Harp Knowledge, Songs, Stories, Lessons ... Both of these were extreme in their simplicity and very, very thorough. What inspired you to write in this format?
    My first book was a little white book called The Natural Blues & Country Western Harmonica. I self-published it in 1977. It used simple explanations, fiction vignettes, and cartoons to get you
playing a few riffs. I was a fiction writer, and a psychologymajor. I was writing short stories, studying writing in school and supporting myself with harmonica lessons and soon writing ad copy. So I naturally wrote a harmonica book and submitted it to Music Sales Corporation. I recall waiting everyday for that letter of acceptance. After about 14 months I contacted them. They had lost the manuscript! That’s when I decided to self publish, like a harp playing Ben Franklin. Great decision. 
    I learned about type, and book making, and also mixed it with the advertising copywriting skills I was honing at free lance ad agencies. I used books like “Repair of VW’s for Complete Idiots” as a model. My idea is that good writing, like good music, like good teaching, is built on a foundation of simplicity, short sentences, don’t try to say too much at one time, complete one thought before going to the next. I also loved books. The holding of a cool one in your hand, a great physical thing filled with your energy, like a beautifully carved piece of wood.
    I also felt that it was the job of each page spread to reach the subconscious, so I used story-telling and cartoons to make the book engage the imagination. It worked. This self-published book was distributed all over the world, advertised with a cassette in Rolling Stone, and was and has been the model of everything that followed. The flow of information, like the flow of music, has to be artful, has to be warm.
2. Did you struggle much when you first started to play?
    Yes, and I still struggle sometimes. Struggle with performance, with certain songs, with techniques, with singing, with guitar playing, with my ornery disposition. with all of it. Jam Camp has made me struggle to be a leader as well as a harp player, as well as a writer, as well as a teacher. Each struggle has resulted in wonderful growth.
3. Your famous Harmonica Jam did that get started?
    My dead Dad gave me the idea when I was desperate for a new gig. I had had some rough knocks, including him dying at age 86. He has a way of showing up in my thoughts and ideas when I need a little courage or imagination. I have a lot to thank him for. Getting that going had a lot to do with confidence. My partner Mark Wilson was very helpful to me as I dealt with my demons it getting it going.
    After 25 camps Mark retired and I decided to form a team with Jimi Lee and Cheryl Arena and Brian Purdy. I have a really good thing with each of these people, and they all add something
very unique to the camp. In addition to my team, when we have the attendance, I bring guest  coaches like Grant Dermody, Kim Field, Ray Beltran, Joe Filisko, Dale Spalding, Billy Gibson, Adam Gussow, Paul Harrington, Richard Sleigh, Dennis Gruenling, Allen Holmes, MadCat, Gary Allegetto, Johnnie Maestro. You know, Paul Delay was going to coach as Jam Camp, but passed on a couple of months before that camp started. I would have loved to have worked with Paul.
4. What playing habits would you tell a beginner to avoid?
    Practicing mistakes. Playing from lips instead of your throat. Playing with too much air. Not articulating and shaping your notes. Not listening. Not playing from the gizzard, if you know what I mean. Closing their mouths around the harmonica. Not fully breathing. Not playing dramatically. Playing complicated. Not playing like a drum. Not playing with vibrato. Not getting feedback from guys and gals who can do it, rather going alone. Not being willing to spend a little money on their passion. Not joining a harmonica community like HOOT and making it about people as well as music. 
    And that’s the short list!
5. You offer lessons over the phone and e-mail . How effective are these compared to face-to-face lessons?
    First, I do not offer e-mail lessons. I do send out a free newsletter with tab and ideas and sales pitches for my books and camps. Sign up at my website at I do offer
phone lessons, and they are VERY effective for teaching fundamentals such as embouchure, bending, vibrato, riffs and I-IV-V understanding and playing, and developing a strategy of learning. 
    The land-line phone is like a microphone plugged right into my ear, and by listening, I can tell if you are playing from your throat or from your lips, and through semi-hypnotic suggestion get you playing from your throat, clicking, and bending in about 30 minutes.
    I have given hundreds of these consultations. It’s fun, and productive. I augment them with video lessons from my video harp club. 
    I am kidding about the hypnotic suggestion, but I do try to create an experience that results in success. The way information is presented totally determines the way it is received, understood and used. An interesting side note is that it can be easier to get raw beginners bending than it is to get experienced players who have cultivated poor habits. The whole thing is to play from your throat, not your lips. Once you play from your throat, bends, tone, vibrato are at your command.
    Call me!
6. Are you ever approached by harp players or fans when you're out and about? 
    Yes, for years I have had that pleasure. Once I was hiking up a trail in Topanga State Park, here in L.A. A guy coming down stopped said, “Hey, you’re Gindick!.” Stopping on the trail, he pulled the book I was talking about out of his pack, and played me a riff called The Blues Scale Down, with the book open to the page. He had color-coated the page, I recall. 
    Another time, 25 years ago or more, I was in my house in Ocean Beach San Diego, and I could hear what sounded like me playing in the far distance. I was certain I had finally smoked too much dope as the riffs would not go away. Finally I went outside and followed the sound down the street where some guy was practicing with one of my tapes with the windows open. I thought it was freaky as hell, but he seemed completely nonplussed, like the author of the book you are reading comes walking into your living room everyday.
7. What are some of your favorite microphones/amps? 
    To the dismay of many, I am not a hardware person. Liking to keep it simple, I stick to stock. (I am not even a fan of the customized harmonica.) For recording in these modern times, I usually use a great vocal mic with a great preamp. For live blues band performance, I play with a Green Bullet into a Fender Deluxe or else my Champ style Harp Gear amp. To me, this Green Bullet with the volume control is like a little amp. 
    Here’s a tip. Take a Green Bullet to jams, and plug it into the PA. Turn the reverb OFF and accent the lows and mids, highs way down. That Bullet will give you the power you need to carry the day. I have a-b’d it with a lot of mics, and for live performance in a blues band, it always boosts and thickens up the sound in a favorable way. I am very comfortable with The Green Bullet. When I play harp and guitar I use a Strnad microphone in a HH01 rack. Works for me.
8. What is your greatest goal when it comes to music...or have you already achieved it? 
    I live a life of goals. Without a goal I am miserable and aimless. So having no choice in the matter, I have accomplished many of my goals, and many more spurring me on. One of my first goals was to get a damned single note. Other goals revolved around the books. One arrogant goal I had in the 1970s was to “make harp the national instrument.” It already was the national instrument, I just didn’t know it! 
    Another goal was to start Jam Camp. Each Jam Camp is a goal. Recent goals have been to up my musicianship so I didn’t get my ass handed to me at every Jam Camp. I think I have accomplished that. Not so long ago I realized I would never, nor would I want to play like the modern pyrotechnical harp players on the scene today, but I could learn from them, and most important, sing better than some of them, so I upped my game on singing. I like singing now. My voice is another instrument. 
    I also came to realize that I do not hear music the way others do. I decided to play the way I hear, not try to guess what other people would think was good. I nailed that baby. Not so long ago I was a reluctant performer. When I played harp on stage, I felt as though I were in a fishbowl. My goal became to transfer the charisma to performance. I sought this Holy Grail by jamming out as often as possible, and also in the clues other performers left for me. It is funny how, when you are openly seeking an attitude, a way through fear, almost everybody can be your teacher. And I am now really having fun on stage. Mission accomplished! (And the biggest clue of all? Music is about communicating sex. Once you realize that, having fun performing is easy.) 
    My greatest goal, right NOW, has to do with the fulfillment of me putting it all together-- as a singer/songwriter/ harp player/guitar player (rack), and (gulp) leading an ensemble. I am making a cd of my original songs with producer/genius Ralph Carter. The completion and release of this GREAT CD will be the accomplishment of a lifetime goal, and a merging of writing, harping, guitar playing, singing, and arranging etc. 
    I am also working with a VERY talented singer band leader called Bobby Hart. This guy is a charismatic vocalist. Truly. Musically, in my opinion, he does everything just right. The proof is in the pudding. People dance at every gig we play. We create a great mood. Bobby and I believe one of the keys to great blues is high intensity, but LOW volume. I am trying to use my marketing skills to get us better gigs and make more money. The name of our band is L.A. Blues Party. Check us out at
9. Anything new and exciting coming up?
    Yes, many Jam Camps, many personal projects. Many friends to make, notes to play, dollars to spend, places to travel, many guitar players to get to turn their volume down Making music is a passport to adventure.
10. Last words to the members of HOOT?
    Let’s jam, baby! Austin Jam Camp, 2009!     

Thursday, January 15, 2009

12-Bar Blues Explained

The 12-bar blues progrossion is the foundation of most blues music. It is also used in many other types of music. In other words, this is something you need to learn. 
In these three videos, Adam Gussow explains the progression in a very understandable way. It may take a while to watch all three, but if this is something you don't already know, then it's definitely worth your time. 

HARPING ON: Jason Ricci

Jason Ricci is one of the greatest young harmonica players in the world today. He tours internationally and is known for his great playing, as well as his  eclectic style...both in music and in wardrobe. He took the time to answer some questions for us. Be sure to check out his website so you can hear his playing for yourself.

1. I've heard that you became very good, very fast when you were very young. How did you get started on the harmonica?

Well the old story goes the same every time I answer this: I was in a punk band, wasn’t a good enough singer, other band members were singing and writing too, I was getting benched at rehearsals and shows for multiple tunes so they (The Band) just decided I would play harmonica instead of another guitar probably so I couldn’t ruin the song as bad, like a tambourine or something. I didn’t actually become that good that fast because I was 14 at that time and wasn’t really paying a lot of attention to other harmonica players.

Later when I was in college in Idaho supposedly studying Wild Life management, really I was actually studying Little Walter with a minor in Paul Butterfield. I guess I got pretty good pretty fast then because I was doing about eight hours a day of practice and I took a night job on the graveyard shift at a Gofer Mart there and I would stay there all night “working” and practicing when customers were not in the store. I also spent some time at the heels of all the greats who would come through Boise on tour like Madison Slim, Hummel, and others.


2. Your tone is very unique. Very different. Where does it come from, and what does it incorporate?

Thank you I wasn’t aware it was so unique. I have heard some people say they hate it...that was weird to me not because I was offended or thought my tone was all that great or anything but more cause I thought it was pretty straight forward? My internal tone is from diaphragm vibrato and some throat and jaw vibrato too...I am a lip purser mostly but I can and do play single note and other combinational tongue blocking techniques....I’ll bend Tongue blocking and all that...I don’t ever blow bend tongue blocking (Which Rules!) or overblow Tongue blocking...I’m really a pretty mixed up player...Maybe that’s a good thing.

I try to be quick to see where other players are right instead of what I might not like or what my preconceived notions may be...Where do they sound good? What’s working, what swings...what rocks? What can’t I do that they are doing and why...Which embouchures work and sound best for whatever licks and styles...So that leads to me trying a lot of new things and venturing out of familiar territory. That may effect my tone...I love Deford Bailey’s sound AND Little Walter’s AND Howard Levy’s and Chris Michalek' when you have all those influences so varied it’s going to mess you up a little...As far as how it incorporates I just try and not blow too hard so I can play and sound a little smoother, but like most people I get excited and carried away too and often end up playing a little too hard and ultimately a little flat. I’ll always be working on that.


3. I don't want to ask the typical questions. I heard you comment once that everyone asks you, "Jason, how do you play so fast?" Well, I'm not going to do that. My question is...when people ask you that, what's your answer? (in other words, how do you play so fast?)

Well Satriani said the best way to play fast is to start playing slow....That's true! Just take some scales preferably (so later you can improvise) or less preferably some licks and then just speed them up. I don’t use any easy breathing patterns for example blow blow draw draw that much unless they happen to actually adhere to a scale or the chord structure they're played over...Most of my playing may sound like that but those notes are actually in pretty awkward places as far lay out goes and are not easy to play fast pattern type things. Just to play the pentatonic scale alone or with a few variations in two octaves involves a lot of accurate bending hitting over blows cold and/or form other holes on the harp jumping etc...I just start those scales slow even now then gradually speed them up that’s mostly all I practice to this day at least for the first twenty minutes or so.


4. I heard a song The next song that came on was very different than the first one. How do you keep your style unique without everything sounding similar?

Thanks for listening...That tune is called Dodecahedron and is off our new CD for the Eclecto Groove Label: “Rocket Number Nine”...I’m not sure our music even has a feel or a style. We are very eclectic and will switch gears at any time, multiple times in a night. I love ALL music. Also you’ll note I used the term “WE”...I keep all my band writing and encourage as much participation with ideas, arrangements etc, as possible, so of course that helps vary tunes a lot. The song you mentioned “Dodecahedron” was written by Shawn Starski our guitar player and the horn player was Michael Peloquin who some of you may know is also a great great harmonica player as well. So ultimately I just listen to lots of different music styles, instruments, and players and people around me and otherwise, then grab on to whatever I have time to learn or study and tryto incorporate it all into something that will be fun and hopefully people will like.”


5. Jason Ricci and New Blood are on YouTube...if I was going to go and listen to your band for the first time...which songs would recommend­?

Damn there are so many...Besides the obvious thirty some ought instructional vids that are obviously not about the band...I like that big harp solo from “Harpin’ Help” from the end of driftin’ blues('s another one called Playboy from an out door show in Boise and in part two at the end I do this great third position solo I probably haven’t done as good since ( )...Also I love the one with me playing with Josh Miller from the Beach Shack in Florida because I playing WAY traditional and I think there may be a mess of people who don’t really know that I can or do ever play that way ( and my bass player Buck Weed all have great moments there as well...There’s a million good tunes moments up there ...the Mexacali version of “The way I Hurt Myself” where I’m wearing the Andy Warhol-skateboard shirt rocks pretty good ( . I don’t know there’s even some videos of me in Drag up there your readers may want to avoid.


6. As far as harmonica players go...who do you look up to­?

LIVING: Pat Ramsey, Adam Gussow, Joe Filisko, Wade Schumann, Chris Michalek, Howard Levy, Dennis Gruenling, Michael Peloquin, Taj Mahal (For his Timing) Wally Peterman (Chord Harp, I play Chord for fun check this duo with Aki! v=QaxXFGRLI8), William Gallison, Paul Linden and more...Also I love Ronnie Earl even though he’s not a harp player. DEAD: Little Walter, Paul Butterfield, George Smith, Deford, Jazz, Paul Delay, Al Wilson and others.


7. Do you do very much harp maintenance, or is it easier just to replace them? 

I’m WAY WAY into harp maintenance, customizing, repair and cleaning! I have harps that are seven years old and will be much much older some day. I do a ton of my own work and have most my career. I buy custom harmonicas from Joe Spiers, Brad Harrison and some from Richard Sleigh. I usually replace reeds on my own when I’m on the road then after a few times of that, the harp starts to feel untempered (unbalanced): where different notes have different amounts of give, volume and tone then I’ll send it back to them and they redo it all over...I make my own custom Marine bands and they're actually better than many so called customizers that have come and gone, but not as good as Harrison, Spiers, or the filisko guild...I’m getting close though. I usually give all those harps I make away as gifts to cool people. 

Brad Harrison is coming out with an American harmonica company called Harrison Harmonicas this year and I can testify that those harmonicas will blow away the competition, pun intended. They are unbelievable and will be unrivaled by far by any company out of the box...This is the first time ever a real customizer with real working knowledge of brass and other metals will be starting, supervising and working at harmonica company. Brad is very serious and stops at nothing to be the best, He has spared no expense in research both scientific and other wise. These harmonicas will go down in history as a milestone for the instrument and will ultimately produce some great young players who will have more time and money to practice instead of screwing with reeds all day...Having said that I think it’s also very important for any player to get inside they're instrument quite literally and figure things out. I believe working on your own harps makes you a better player. Look at Filisko, Harrison, Spiers, and Sleigh! Stay tuned for Harrison Harmonicas!


8. Besides music, what hobbies do you have

I love/hate skateboarding. Skating is a huge part of my life, who I am, my culture, my youth, my attitude, my reading material, humor, everything. When I’m on the road I try to hit as many parks as possible...these days they’re building concrete parks that look like what my friends and I use to dream of and draw pictures of when we were kids. I might of ended up a pro skater or at least gave it a serious try if it hadn’t of been for a few injuries mainly this torn muscle in my upper thigh that never healed right...I was really good and may have had a shot...a few of the friends I grew up around and skate with all the time are pro now, I watch all they're video parts and magazine photos every month with a degree of envy. I’m pretty much always recovering from some skate related injury, so far though (Knock on wood) it’s never pulled me from a gig or off tour...I would quit for obvious reasons but I can’t ...really....I’m down for life and that’s just the way it is. I did my last tour with two broken ribs which sucks for singing and playing.

Other than Skating, my boyfriend Brady Mills is obviously much more than a hobby and we have been together coming up on five years and have owned our home in Nashville for two years., We love spending time with our animals Heifetz (Cat), Bongo ( Great Dane/Sheppard mix) and Bjalla (Pomeranian/ Pom-insane-ian). We love Scary movies, Classical music, shopping, and going out to eat. He is a great award winning classical pianist and vocalist although he makes his living now as one of the best and most sought after up and coming young graphic designers specializing in: web design, Internet marketing, email marketing and web positioning. He owns his own company and has several employees and beautiful office in downtown Ashville. He is very supportive of me as I am of him and it’s exciting that both of us have our own businesses.


9. What was the hardest part of learning to play harmonica

By far the low octave intonation issues involving accurate and stable bending. Playing in tune down there with finesse, grace, power, consistency, and stability is always a challenge to me when all the above is combined with intonation. Playing over blows in tune has been much easier for me as there really is little room to a half can bend them up further than that but you have to’s not like your gonna hit two whole steps above an overblow by accident!

Keeping oxygen is hard too...Also there’s a million other things I can’t do all that well.

10. Last words to members of HOOT­

 Thanks to all the Hoot folks! Thanks for digging my music and our great instrument. Everyone try and keep an open mind to different players, instruments, styles, styles of music...everything. It’s a cliché’ but There’s room for all of us and something to be learned from everyone. Soul is subjective! There’s beauty in everything and everyone. Would you say the desert is more beautiful than the rain forest because it has less...or the rainforest more beautiful than the Grand Tetons because it has more...Is a Snake more soulful than a cat because he is simpler or cat cooler than a mouse because he is bigger?

Spend less time on the internet and harp l and philosophical debates and get out and play and practice most all the answers will come. Dig on harmonica bands all you diatonic and blues guys take up one of those orchestral instruments for fun, those old guys have a lot to teach us! God Bless.

Thank you Alberto!!!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

HOOT in the news...

A few months ago, Ian Hamilton of the Dallas Morning News came to a HOOT meeting to write a short piece about us. Here is a link to that news story. It includes a short video as well.


If you just want to see the video in a bigger format, click here.


Thanks, Ian! Come back and visit again sometime!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Chops Workshop: Tone

A very important part of harmonica playing that is often overlooked by beginners is tone. Here are a couple of videos to get you going in the right direction. 
Adam Gussow's website is You can see my interview with him here.
Jon Gindick's site can be found at . My interview with him is here.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Harping On: Ronnie Shellist

Harping On: Ronnie Shellist

Ronnie Shellist is responsible for some of the best instructional cd’s I’ve been fortunate enough to get my hands on. He is also responsible for getting me out of the learning rut I was in. His lessons also appear on YouTube regularly. Ronnie wanted me to pass along that all HOOT members will receive 25% off of any instructional downloads purchased from through February 2009.




1. You have a number of great tutorials on YouTube, as well as on your website. What made you want to start teaching people how to play?

Well, I was a tutor and school teacher before I ever learned how to play harmonica so the "teaching" frame of mind has always been a part of me.  I love helping others get that "Aha!" moment.  For me the art of teaching is about getting in the mind of others and figuring out how they think and learn.  It's fascinating to me.  


2. How about did you learn to play?


I took some informal classes with Michael Rubin at the Univ. of Texas when I first started learning. Those helped me understand the fundamentals of blues harmonica.  I also took some private lessons from Michael and JP Allen after that.   I truly believe that most of the hard core learning came from listening to tons of blues harmonica on cd and trying to emulate and copy the sounds/techniques.  I was truly obsessed from early on.  I wanted to get it so badly. I played out at jams and with friends as much as possible and this really sped up my learning process.   Rubin, thanks for believing in me and give me some great pointers on techniques and blues harp!  JP thanks for helping me understand the importance of breathing properly through rhythm training and more.


3. What do you think makes the harmonica a great instrument?

What attracted me to the harmonica and what I believe makes it such a unique instrument is the tone and wide range of expressiveness that it can create in the right hands.  I remember listening to blues in Austin, Texas during college before ever trying to learn harmonica and seeing Guy Forsythe play at a bar called Maggie Mae’s.  It was at one of his shows that I had an out of body experience while listening to him solo on the harmonica.  I remember thinking "how is he getting those sounds with that tiny little instrument."  I was floored and shortly after I really wanted to figure it out.  For me I was attracted to blues music before the harmonica and I think that gave me an even greater appreciation of it.  Of course, let's not forget that it fits in your pocket too.


4. What is a common problem for beginners, and what should they do to correct it?

The two biggest problems for beginners is airflow and embouchure.  If you learn how to breathe correctly early on, it makes every single technique you learn that much easier.  In addition, your tone will improve dramatically.  Beginners forget to consistently breathe from their diaphragm with steady airflow.   Secondly, with good embouchure your single notes area easier and your tone is also improved as you seal off the holes properly.  So, remember to push the harmonica into your pucker and put your lips over the top and bottom cover plates.  Breathe easy but steady to get good tone and flow to your playing.


5. Do you only play blues harmonica, or do you play other music as well?

I mainly focus on blues as it is my passion but I can play most styles of music and I enjoy some country, rock and folk.

I have played with bands who perform country, southern rock, folk, psychedelic, rock, funk, and some jazz/blues fusion.


6. Which harp is your favorite, and why do you prefer it over others?


If were talking about out of the box harps, then I prefer Hohner Special 20's as I find them more consistent than other brands. I also like the plastic combs for comfort and playability.  I should mention that I have played a couple of Marine Band Deluxe harps   that I found quite nice.  If you're talking about custom harmonicas, that's an entirely different thing.   Brad Harrison of Harrison Harmonicas makes an incredible custom harp that everyone should check out.


7. Your blues licks cd's are great. What can you tell us about those, and how can readers get a hold of them?

I designed the blues licks audio instructional series for several reasons.   People are always asking me for new licks and how do you play that it seemed like an obvious choice to break down some blues licks note for note, play the lick slowly, and then full speed to hear what it should sound like in the end.  I also include jam tracks at the end of the cd’s with me playing the licks over a blues progression.  Don't worry, I also included blank tracks with rhythm guitar for folks to practice and jam over as well. You can find the blues licks download and other material at  which was just recently redesigned to make the purchasing process easier.  Anyone can always email me directly to inquire about instructional material and/or order downloads and cd’s.


8. Any new lessons we can look forward to?

I am constantly working on new instructional lessons which will be posted at my website.  My newest product is the Intermediate Blues Harmonica Instructional Video Download and Jam Tracks Vol. 2.

The download covers bends in detail with exercises to help you practice them, vibratos, tongue techniques, position work and more.  The Jam Tracks Vol.2 has new blues progressions in E good for an A harmonica in cross harp.


9. What do you think is the most effective way to practice?

That's a great question.  We all learn differently and if there is one thing that I have learned from my years of teaching it is this:  Approach your challenges from as many different angles as possible.  Looking at things from different perspectives gives you an advantage to understanding it and inspiration.  I think that practice has to be fun or else you will not be consistent. Consistency is the biggest factor for improving.   Be inspired by listening to cd’s that move you to the point of taking action.  It's fun to learn new licks and listening over and over is important.  I would spend 75% of your time practicing by playing and having fun and 25% of your time working on technique and fluidity of movement on the harp.  Mastering airflow and bends can take you a long way.  Playing live with other musicians is worth a dozen lessons.  The experience you gain playing with other people cannot be acquired any other place.  So, play often.


10. Last words to members of HOOT? 

I now offer harmonica lessons via SKYPE (video/audio).  SKYPE is free to download and free to use on your computer.  All you need is a webcam.  My lessons are affordable and you can even email me to find out about trial introductory prices for lessons.  

Lastly, music is an energy, a spirit that we all have the ability to tap into.   The key to making good music is trusting and believing that what you play is great!  It's important to hear what you want to play in your head first, shape it and fine tune the nuances before you actually put the harmonica to your lips.  This way, when you play, the music you hear and feel will actually come out of you and through the instrument.   Visualize your playing to help make it more tangible and easy to remember.  If you can see it in your head, you can play it!  Most of all, have fun and remember to step out of your comfort zone and take chances.  You will be amazed at where they take you. I am happy to correspond via email with anyone.  My email is  Thanks Alberto, and thanks to Hoot for finding me.  I really enjoyed this!



Elephant Plays Harmonica

Elephants are known for many things, but I never realized that playing the harmonica was one of them!