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Harmonica Lessons: Daily Practice Routine

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All right.
Well, after you've watched all of
these lessons, you might wonder,
do I have to play all of
this stuff every day?
Of course not.
The whole thing about the harmonica
is that after you start playing it,
it just becomes something you'll always
want to have a harmonica with you.
In some pocket somewhere, and
you'll probably set off all sorts of metal
detector alarms in airports and various
other buildings that you might go into.
And if you're working in an office
you'll probably pull it out.
Sometime during the day and entertain your
fellow workers and the harmonica is so
great because it's so spontaneous,
it's so much fun to play.
In terms of how much should
I practice every day,
people ask me stuff like this and
there's no real time limit on it.
It's not like you have to practice
your scales for a half hour,
you have to do this, you have to do that.
But in general I'd say
that its a good idea
to be playing the harmonica every day.
You know just put one in your pocket and
ideally you should put it in a case.
Some cases are not that
comfortable to put in your pocket.
But get something.
A little cloth bag, a little
leather case or something because.
All sorts of dust and
dirt can get in to the harmonica, so
it's good to keep it in
a case in your pocket.
And just go through the scales,
C major, just get comfortable.
That stuff.
Go through this exercise.
Practice amid a comfortable tempo where
you don't feel like your mind
is going to melt once it
gets up to the sixth and seventh holes.
This one,
And those vamps, you can practice those
just when you're walking by yourself.
That's the other beauty of the harmonica.
You can't carry very many
instruments around with you.
It's hard to go for
a walk with the guitar.
[LAUGH] You can just go for a walk if
you're walking your dog in the morning.
As long as the dog doesn't mind,
you could just be walking along and go
just the simple stuff so
that it becomes a part of you.
So that you could just pick your
harmonica up at any time and
be in rhythm and play this stuff.
And you have a buddy who likes to play
harmonica get together with him or
her as the case might be.
And one of you can play the vamp.
the other one can try to
play some simple licks.
Because you don't know how to binge yet,
but that'll change quickly.
And things like that.
And make sure to keep
the breathing smooth.
That' the big thing when you're
playing these scales and
playing any kind of melodies.
Try to keep the breath smooth and
not choppy.
And remember,
don't ever look at the harmonica.
I like to say don't look at the harmonica
because it won't tell you anything.
Just really avoid that looking down
your nose until it gets into your mouth.
And if you absolutely need to find
a specific hole that you can't find,
you can always do it by counting.
You say I need to play the fifth hole.
If you are really insecure you can go
Five, one, two, three, four, five.
[LAUGH] You can do it that way or
if you need to find the eighth
hole you can go down from ten.
There's eight.
Just a little piece of advice but usually
if you need to find a single hole you
just, after a while you get familiar
with the harmonica you'll know
the note that that hole is,
you'll know the sound of it.
So, if you miss, don't stop the air.
As long as you keep the breath going
you'll find the right
hole with your breath.
Your breath is like your eyesight.
So, just practice the things
I told you about, practicing.
Obviously, many of you don't
have a drone box like I do.
To practice the more exotic scales, too.
But you could get familiar with those,
if you want to play along with
any kind of recorded music.
This gets into something that I'm going
to cover in the intermediate section of,
what key harmonica do you have
to get to play with the music?
Because this gets a little tricky, if you
want to play along with a blues record,
I'll just give you one
little hint right now.
You need to buy a harmonica that will play
the blues tune in the key that it's in.
So if the blues is in G,
the harmonica has to be in C.
The rule is the harmonica that you buy
has to be a key a fifth below
the key the blues is in.
Because the second position is
a fifth above the key of the harp.
You'll get more comfortable
with this as time goes on,
but as you learn how to play
blues licks a little bit better.
You're going to want to play
along with maybe some record.
You have to find out
what key the song's in.
Either if you play guitar or piano,
or have a friend that plays.
And then you have to go and
buy the right key harmonica.
And that's one of the big
things about this instrument
is that it is really 12 instruments.
It's the harmonica, but
there's 12 of them.
So if you're going to be
playing blues in a certain key,
in the classic way of playing a cross
harp, you need the right key harmonica.
And that's something, like I said,
I'll go into much more in detail
In the intermediate section.
So, good luck, have a great time playing.