How to get the most from this course
Please note: In the "How to get the most out of this course" video above I mention a PDF that you can download (at 4:25 in the video). I decided to put that information in the notes that follow. You will not find a PDF to download for that information. There is a PDF with sheet music later on in the course that you can download...
Thanks for signing up for the Ultimate Beginner Harmonica Course. My goal is to share my insane, obsessive love for this instrument and give you the kind of guidance I wish I had when I first started playing…
Here are a few notes:
First of all, please use the comment box below to introduce yourself and to others taking this course… let's get to know each other! Tell us how you got interested in the harmonica, where you are at in your musical journey and anything else you would like to share.
Use the FORUM in the course to add your comments, ask your questions or communicate with me and with each other. Please be aware that I won't be able to provide personal advice in that Forum section, it's only there if there's something not very clear about the subjects in the lessons. I would really appreciate if you report any errors, typos or any other feedback regarding videos, audios, pdfs, or emails you get from me.
The video lectures are short but there is a lot of info in there. Don't forget that you can pause the videos when you need and check out the written notes under each video. You can also return to watch the videos as many times as you like.
You can also speed up the videos without changing the pitch. There is a gear icon on the lower right-hand side of the screen. When you click on this icon you get a menu that includes playback speed. Click on that and you have options for different speeds. It gives you a way to quickly review if you like…
You can also use the videos that have sheet music for practice sessions - the music included was recorded using a metronome and the timing is pretty solid. By using the gear icon to speed up the video you can challenge yourself to play the examples faster, just as you would if you used a metronome and increased the speed settings on it.
Now – let’s make 100% sure you have the right harmonica for this course…
This course is focused on a 10-hole harmonica in the key of C that goes by all sorts of names, including the diatonic harmonica, short harp, blues harp, French harp, the Mississippi Sax, and other colorful names. It has 10 holes and 20 reeds.
If you need to buy a harmonica, I suggest buying something around the $25 and up range. As long as you choose something in the middle range of pricing and you should be good to go. The least expensive harmonicas that are on the market can be very frustrating to play. Full disclosure – I am a Hohner affiliated customizer and build custom harmonicas based on Hohner reed plates. I’ve also been playing Hohner harmonicas forever - so I can’t pretend to give you unbiased information on what harmonica to play.
I also highly recommend getting a metronome.
I have two that I like for different reasons:
- The Seiko SQ50-V Quartz Metronome - a simple battery metronome that gives you a basic click and a light that flashes.
- The Wittner Super Mini Taktell Metronome – A mechanical metronome that has the swinging weighted arm that is a great visual reminder of the pulse you are working with.
I have tried all sorts of metronome apps and I have not found any that I like. Most of them come with pre-set accent beats that require you to disable them, which can be a frustrating process of trial and error.
Plus-it can be really nice to get away from your phone or other devices when you practice, and a simple physical metronome allows you to do that. No notifications!
I will be including some basic exercises that will include tracks that are recorded with a metronome. You can play along with these tracks and also use the playback speed menu to challenge yourself to play the tracks at higher speeds without dropping the beat.
You will also find it very useful to record yourself from time to time as a way to check out what you are doing and hear your progress. You should have some sort of recording device on your phone or other device. If not, find something easy to use and play around with it until you feel comfortable pulling it up for a quick recording session.
Thanks again and please dive into the videos and enjoy the process!