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Beginner: How to ensure that i play the correct note

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pushpendre r
Sep 22, 2009 11:26 AM GMT

Hi, I am a harmonica noob. My problem is that when i am playing simple songs with single notes i am not able to consistently find out where the hole is that i have to blow. I mean that if i have to go

4, 5, 6, 7, 4

I am not able to consistently move the harmonica precisely so that when i blow only the correct single note comes out. sometimes i am able to do it cleanly other times I screw up and play 5 instead of 4 or 5, 6 simultaneously. I even tried to tie rubber bands around my left index finger so that i could see where to hold the harmonica in my mouth for playing hich note but didn't really work. Is there come easy method for learning this ? any help is deeeply appreciated

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Comments (8)

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Sep 23, 2009 12:05 AM GMT
blogward Replied:

Practise over and over is the answer. But if you learn a really familiar tune, like a childhood lullaby or something, it will help to fix in your mind the hand/mouth co-ordination you need. Once you get it, it sticks - like riding a bike.

Sep 24, 2009 3:00 PM GMT
Duane C. Replied:

In the begining train yourself to hold the harmonica exactly the same each time. The position of your index finger will help as a reference point for were you are on the harp. In my case for example, the crease on the palm side of my index finger at the middle joint is always in line with the 4 hole.Of course a larger or smaller hand will vary. Just get a good proper grip that is the same each time and practise,practise, practise. Have patience and fun, you'll get it.

Sep 29, 2009 3:31 PM GMT
Elizabeth S Replied:

Hi: I think you're saying you play purely from the notes, and not at all from 'ear playing'? Have you tried hearing the 'sound' of the note? It should tell you immediately when you've hit the wrong one. Try going very 4, pause...5, pause, 6, pause, 7, pause...then when you lift the harp away from your mouth (deliberately....see if you can (purely by remembering the sound of note 4)...hit it again.

Or...practice playing one note over and over by lifting the harp up to and away from your mouth, perhaps?...hitting it cleanly again purely due to its sound. To my mind you might have to train your ear to recognize the SOUND of the note. Once you know you've flubbed it, you're home free...then it's far easier to know you've made a mistake. Do this with every note until your ear recognizes what they sound like.

I hope this helps...I automaticallly play by ear...have no idea how it works for me and the others to whom it comes naturally, and think it could be learned, by doggedly sticking to repeating the same note over and over until your ear recognizes it.


Sep 29, 2009 4:11 PM GMT
Chris C Replied:

Just a small thing. Try moving your mouth and keeping the harmonica still.

Oct 07, 2009 6:40 PM GMT
pushpendre r Replied:

hey i am finally getting my tones right consistently. Thanks everyone and sorry for replying so late i just thought i would hold off saying anything if i cant say some good things.

thanks a lot for all your suggestions :)

Oct 07, 2009 9:35 PM GMT
Christopher G Replied:


I am pretty much a newbie having being playing for 10 months. It still happens to me but much less and I have learnt to "ignore and get over it" and keep on truckin'. The other thing to do is play by ear, keep movingand blend/slur the notes together but basically....enjoy the experience and remember why you wanted to play it.

Oct 08, 2009 1:18 AM GMT
John P Replied:

Practice playing scales which helps you learn where the notes are AND what they sound like.

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