Just to let you know…
Right now we are working on a new book, or strictly speaking, a series of new books; these books are all about learning how to play music on your harmonica, not just the blues as many people think when you mention ‘harmonica’.
We had the idea of looking into how you would learn to play a traditional musical instrument such as the flute, violin, recorder, trumpet etc, and wondered how we could apply this to the diatonic harmonica. We have both been through the traditional music system at school and didn’t always find it exhilarating.
Our initial approach was just to dive straight into the blues as we did in Blues Jam Factory (available on the Harmonica World site) Here the blues is mostly taught and learnt by ear.
This book has proved to be very popular and successful, however, there are other approaches to learning the harmonica.
So the new approach, which has the working title ‘How to play music on your Harmonica’, starts from the very beginning of playing the instrument.
We start with the very basic types of note lengths (4 beats, 3 beats etc) and use blow chords to play a series of exercises, play alongs, and call/response pieces. This develops into using the draw chord as well, whilst rhythms become more complicated and interesting as we go along. From here on the single notes are introduced with exercises and tunes and there is also a return to our ever-popular chugging (rhythm harmonica). The aim is to produce three volumes which will equip the complete beginner with enough material to be able to play quite sophisticated tunes. All this with appropriate exercises and playalong material.
The concern with this type of rather academic approach to learning music is that it is the opposite of the blues, and to be honest we were worried that people might find it a bit dull.
However we have tried it out with adults and children and they tell us that it is very satisfying and enjoyable.This may be because the exercises are quite challenging and the tunes have a lot of melodic and harmonic interest, so basically you are playing music which sounds good and is fun to play at the same time as you learn how to do it and how to read the notes.
Ben Hewlett & Paul Lennon – www.HarmonicaWorld.net