Killer Harmonica sounds using the tongue and bending notes

Discover how to bend all the notes well and a crucial technique - tongue blocking. Great for blues and all other music.
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Instructed by Ben Hewlett Music / Instruments
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  • Lectures 16
  • Length 2 hours
  • Skill Level Intermediate Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 3/2014 English

Course Description

MY PERSONAL GUARANTEE - I AM SO CONFIDENT YOU WILL LOVE THIS COURSE THAT IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT THAT YOU DON'T, I WILL REFUND YOU ALL THE MONEY (within 30 days of purchasing) WITH NO QUESTIONS ASKED. THIS IRONCLAD GUARANTEE IS BACKED UP BY UDEMY.

If you ever wanted to learn the harmonica this course is for you!
I will hold your hand all the way through the videos with my 'infectious and humourous' (I'm told) style of teaching. I am right with you talking to you personally in a one to one lesson showing exactly you how to do it, and encouraging you to become confident and go it alone.
This course gives you a series of basics in 12 easy lectures. If you take one lecture per week that's three months, although you can fast track and do it all in a weekend if you like.
It's designed to be fun, friendly, easy for anyone to learn - even non-musical people! It is designed to help you succeed and lead you on to the next in the series.
There are pdfs and mp3 downloads with every lecture so you can read the tablature and play along with the audio music written especially for learning harmonica. Look in 'View resources' in the top right of your screen. The download tab is second in from the left - the one with the arrow.
Please be sure to visit the Questions area and Forum to interact with other students. It's a great way to learn more and helps you apply what the course gives you.
I check my messages daily where possible if you want to arrange a call or skype please message me.
'Ben Hewlett is the UK's most respected harmonica teacher and most prolific author. He will lead you through the ins and outs of harmonica playing through a series of short video lessons. His teaching style is confident, practiced, humorous, skillful, knowledgeable and packed with information in bite sized chunks.
Ben is used to teaching all over the world at prestigious harmonica festivals and is delighted to offer his services to you.'

PLEASE NOTE THE CONTENTS OF THIS SHORT COURSE ARE INCLUDED AS A SMALL PART OF MY ENORMOUS 'LEARN HARMONICA, AMAZE YOUR FRIENDS, AND HAVE FUN' COURSE - FORMERLY KNOWN AS 'THE ULTIMATE HARMONICA COURSE'. THINK OF THE BIG ONE AS A BOXED SET (DISCOUNTED FOR BULK PURCHASE) AND THIS COURSE AS THE SMALL INDIVIDUAL COMPONENTS.

What are the requirements?

  • All you need is a 10 hole diatonic harmonica in C. If you have more that would be helpful - in fact the more the merrieris best because you learn more with different harmonicas and it allows you to play more comfortably in different keys. Just get one or more from your local music store or we can mail one to you via SonnyboysMusicstore.co.uk. The Mojo is recomended for Blues and the Sonnyboys Special is a good allround harmonica. Hohner harmonicas are also recommended but any will also get the job done. A boxed set of 7 or 12 is a good idea fro some people - have a look on the site to see if you would like one.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • This course teaches you how to block notes with your tongue to add rhythms, intervals, octaves and VARIETY to your playing. We will also discover how to bend all the notes on the harmonica.

What is the target audience?

  • This course is for people who have played harmonica a bit before. The best preparation is to take all my Udemy courses from the start or the Beginners or Intermediates sections depending on your level.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Promotional Video
Preview
01:14
01:37

Here's the introduction to the course so have a squint at it to see what groovy things you will be learning.

Don't worry when I say 'welcome to lecture 3' and you are looking at lecture 7 - you might think something has gone wrong but fear not, it's all in sync and you are not seeing things! Those are the lecture numbers as I planned and filmed them.

But later, when I added the Indroductory videos they appeared as lectures and displaced the numbering system.

Here's how to use Udemy for this course
Preview
04:25
Section 1: Improvising in 7 keys without bending notes
08:53

Summary: In this lecture we are learning how to play in all the seven modal keys on the harmonica. Doing this will make your playing more fluid and flexible

ASSIGNMENT: PLAY ALONG WITH THE VIDEO MANY TIMES AND FIND OTHER MUSIC WHERE THIS MODAL PLAY WORKS WELL - TRY SOME FOLK MUSIC

07:50

Summary: This lecture extends the previous lecture by focusing on just 5 of the 7 notes in the modal scale.

To find these five notes, known as the pentatonic scale, use notes 12356 from the modal scales excluding the other two notes. This is for the MAJOR keys - C, F, and G.

For the minor keys - D, E, A and B select notes 13457 from their modal scales excluding the other two.

ASSIGNMENT: WORK ON LEARNING THESE AMAZING SCALES RIGHT ACROSS THE HARMONICA - THEY WILL SERVE YOU WELL - TRUST ME!

TRY BONES OF THE BLUES AS AN EXTENSION TO THIS STUDY

WATCH BOBBY MCFERRIN DEMONSTRATING PENTATONIC S IN THIS TED TALK

Section 2: Note Bending
09:10

Summary: This is how you bend notes on holes 1, 4 and 6

ASSIGNMENT: PRACTISE ALL THE BENDS AS DESCRIBED IN THE VIDEO

IF YOU NEED MORE HELP WITH NOTE BENDING GO TO WWW.HARMONICAWORLD.NET AND LOOK AT THE THREE BOOKS ON BENDING OR BOOK A SKYPE SESSION WITH ME AS IT'S VERY HARD TO TEACH WITHOUT HEARING YOU PERSONALLY. My skype ID is benhewlettbenhewlett and mention Udemy course in the add request.

09:50

Summary: This is how you bend notes on holes 2, 3 and 5

ASSIGNMENT: PRACTISE ALL THE BENDS AS DESCRIBED IN THE VIDEO

IF YOU NEED MORE HELP WITH NOTE BENDING GO TO WWW.HARMONICAWORLD.NET AND LOOK AT THE THREE BOOKS ON BENDING OR BOOK A SKYPE SESSION WITH ME AS IT'S VERY HARD TO TEACH WITHOUT HEARING YOU PERSONALLY

09:29

Summary: This is how you bend notes on holes 7, 8, 9 and 10

ASSIGNMENT; PRACTISE ALL THE BENDS AS DESCRIBED IN THE VIDEO

IF YOU NEED MORE HELP WITH NOTE BENDING GO TO WWW.HARMONICAWORLD.NET AND LOOK AT THE THREE BOOKS ON BENDING OR BOOK A SKYPE SESSION WITH ME AS IT'S VERY HARD TO TEACH WITHOUT HEARING YOU PERSONALLY

09:09

Summary: This is how you bend notes

ASSIGNMENT; PRACTISE ALL THE BENDS AS DESCRIBED IN THE VIDEO

IF YOU NEED MORE HELP WITH NOTE BENDING GO TO WWW.HARMONICAWORLD.NET AND LOOK AT THE THREE BOOKS ON BENDING OR BOOK A SKYPE SESSION WITH ME AS IT'S VERY HARD TO TEACH WITHOUT HEARING YOU PERSONALLY

Section 3: Tongue Blocking
09:22

Summary: Tongue blocking is pretty much an essential part of harmonica playing especially if you play blues and trad music in the first three positions. Here's how you do it...

ASSIGNMENT: FOLLOW THE VIDEO AND TRY TO ADD TB'ING TO ALL THE TUNE YOU ALREADY KNOW

09:43

Summary: Learning SBW2's style is a very interesting challenge - have a go!

ASSIGNMENT: USE THE VIDEO TO LEARN HIS STYLE AND LISTEN TO THE ORIGINAL - THERE'S A BUNCH OF HIS VIDEOS ON YT.

FOR DEVELOPING THE STYLE GO TO

http://harmonicaworld.net/shop/sonny-boy-williamson-ii-blues-riffs/

09:12

Split 3s, 4s and 5s are where you cover 3, 4 or 5 holes and split them with your tongue.

The split 3 is where you cover 3 holes and block the central hole leaving the first and last playing. It produces an interesting interval.

The split 4 is where you cover 4 holes and block the central two leaving the first and last playing. It produces an octave when you breath out and on holes 1+4, and various intervals elsewhere.

The split 5 is where you cover 5 holes and block the three central holes leaving the first and last playing. It produces an interesting interval on the outbreath but where it works really well is to get the octaves on holes 3+7, 4+8, 5+9 and 6+10.

08:18

Tongue switching and the rolling block are better described in the video than putting text here.

My friend Pat Missin (www.patmissin.com), who knows a lot, and I use him for reference all the time, says:

'Does tongue blocking give you a better tone than puckering?

Many experienced players maintain that the only way to get really good tone is to use a tongue blocking embouchure, rather than puckering to get single notes.

First of all, "better" is a very subjective thing. A tone that you might like, might not be to someone else's taste, nor is it going to be appropriate for every style of music. Secondly, there have been many fine players who rarely use (or used) tongue blocking - Paul Butterfield, Toots Thielemans, Sonny Terry, Lee Oskar, etc. None of these players have what you would call a weak tone.

When I was learning to play harp, there were no other harp players around where I lived. In many ways, this actually worked to my advantage and one of those ways was that there was nobody to tell me that my pucker tone was "supposed" to sound weaker than my tongue blocked tone. Each embouchure has its advantages - puckering frees up your tongue to allow certain punctuation effects and I find it easier to get good intonation on my overblows using a pucker; tongue blocking allows octaves and other double stops, as well as various textural effects such as tongue slaps and toungued trills which are very hard or impossible to reproduce with a pucker embouchure. Without ever making a conscious effort to work on it, I found that I was effortlessly switching back and forth between embouchures whilst maintaining a reasonably consistent tone. When I do workshops, something that I demonstrate very often is holding a single note whilst switching embouchures. Many people can hear the switch itself, but most agree that my tone remains constant on either side of the switch.

Here is a demonstration of switching embouchures on a single note. I have exaggerated where I change from one embouchure to the other, but listening to this myself, I am honestly not sure which embouchure I am using at any point in the clip.

A lot of players find that when they use a tongue block embouchure, their mouth naturally assumes a relaxed, more open position, whereas when they pucker they tend to pinch their cheeks, producing a weaker tone. The key to good tone with a pucker embouchure is the same as with a tongue block - the right balance of tension and relaxation, a nice big resonant cavity in the mouth, good breath control and careful attention to the sound you are producing. With practice, you should be able to produce pretty much the same tone with any embouchure. However, part of certain blues styles as as much about textural effects as the actual timbre of the notes and these effects are often lumped together under the heading of "tone". Although you can fake such things as tongue slaps to some extent whilst playing with a pucker embouchure, there are many tricks which are really only available to the tongue blocker. Tongue blocking also makes large intervallic leaps much faster and smother, as well as helping find where your are on the harp. For these reasons, I'd advise everyone to learn both puckering and tongue blocking. There is also a third basic embouchure called U-blocking. Also called the groove-tongue embouchure, this involves rolling your tongue almost into a tube and applying it to the harp as a 'U' shape to isolate a single note. It is used to great effect by Norton Buffalo, although I'm not sure that it offers any advantages that you can't get from either tongue blocking or puckering. I find that on the occasions when I demonstrate it, it gives me a very thin sound, but that is probably due to the fact that I so rarely play using this technique.'

Section 4: Using technology to help your playing
08:59

Using technology to enhance your playing and to get musical training is improving all the time with new apps and programs improving all the time - here are some of them.

Using a tuner is a brilliant way to help you when you are learning to bend notes and be very accurate, of course the best way to train your ears is with another sound like a piano or guitar.

Try using a tuner like ‘cleartune’ and see how accurate you can be when you play something like the scale of C from one blow going up, the F and the A need to be at the correct pitch for the music to sound great.

Further practice would be to play all of the notes of C using holes 1, 4, 7 and 10. Then try all of the C sharp, all of the Ds, all the D sharp/E flats etc.

The tuner should help you get accurate but do it with the piano as well.

A metronome is a fantastic training tool. You can just play simple tunes at different speeds, this will help greatly.

You can also play exercises and scales, and a nice thing to do is to jazz the scales up with interesting rhythms.

Also check by buddy and harptech Richard Sleigh (rsleigh.com) on metronomes

Section 5: Sonny Terry session
08:59

Sonny Terry is one of my favorite players. Learn some more licks with me now.

Try to copy these licks and play them over and over.

The difficult thing with playing in the style of Sonny Terry is the breathing. He usually plays in second position so when you do the same you are breathing in actively for most of the time and there is a danger that you might explode.

The best way to get rid of this problem is to get rid of the air in your lungs when ever possible, so I suggest you take in as little as you can, and expel as much air as possible.

You will see from the video that I spill air from my mouth underneath the harmonica, it is not something that an audience would know about - you are getting the secrets right here!

IF YOU WANT MORE OF THIS GO TO WWW.HARMONICAWORLD.NET AND LOOK FOR SONNY TERRY DOWNLOADABLE BOOKS

Conclusion and about the follow up course
02:09

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Instructor Biography

Ben Hewlett, Professional Harmonica Instructor since 1996 CTABRSM, NHL

  • Wow, over 10 thousand students - you could be next!!
  • I'LL PROVE HOW GOOD MY COURSES ARE - IF YOU DON'T LIKE THEM YOU CAN HAVE ALL YOUR MONEY BACK - NO QUIBBLE - 100%; GUARANTEED BY UDEMY! 

Here's how my courses are categorised in terms of subject, purpose and content. 'Instant' courses are simple tunes; 'Learn Harmonica' is the harmonica encyclopaedia for everyone; 'Bones of the Blues', 'Get Chugging', '101 Blues Riffs', and '60 Sonny Terry Riffs' are the video taught versions of books I've written (you can google them) and the others are all about different techniques. I also have Celtic music courses for you.

If you see a course you want but don't have the cash you can talk to me. If you are a student or not earning much I will support you with a lower price, but if you are doing ok you can support me - how's that?

About the Guru. Harmonica Guru? Guru Schmuru; I'm joking - someone said it once and it appealed to my ego!

*Ben is the Chairman of the NHL - National Harmonica League in the UK

*Professional Harmonica Instructor since 1996

*Lousy at spelling - getting worse actually so tell me if you see a typo pleese

*Ben qualified as CTABRSM in 2002 (Certificate of Teaching - Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music)

*Certificate of Music Workshop Skills (Goldsmiths University of London) in 1995

*Accredited Diatonic Harmonica Teacher 1993 - HTAB (Harmonica Teachers Accreditation Board, supported by Lee Oskar Harmonicas, the National Harmonica League of UK and the International Harmonica Organisation).

*Ben's teaching business HarpsCool is proud to be 

'IN PARTNERSHIP WITH HOHNER'

'Ben Hewlett is one of the UK's most respected harmonica teachers and the UK's most prolific author on harmonica tuition. He will lead you through the ins and outs of harmonica playing through a series of short video lessons. His teaching style is confident, practiced, humorous, skillful, knowledgeable and packed with information in bite sized chunks. Ben is used to teaching all over the world at prestigious harmonica festivals and is delighted to offer his services to you.'

'You'll know Ben better as a harmonica teacher but he also studied Irish Drum - Bodhran - and tin whistle in the 1990's with the now very famous Steafan Hannigan and Marc Moggy from Renegade Rhythms. He got so into Bodhran playing he bought an expensive tuneable drum from Marc and it works better than ever to this day. Ben has played Bodhran in bands and sessions for years and even has a Senheiser bass drum microphone embedded into his drum. Check out his Bodhran teaching on Udemy'

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I would recommend using 'Transcribe!' for slowing down and changing the key on my backing tracks - it's free as a trial and well worth a look in my opinion.

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Join/subscribe/follow/friend my FB page to get notifications of live Facebook workshops.

I have been teaching people to play harmonica since 1996 as a full time job. I have started tens of thousands on their way to play the harmonica and I can tell you - it sure beats working!

I believe I was the first person to be a full time harmonica teacher in the UK, there are still very few of us - so there's plenty of room if you want to come and join me.

Recently I have become the Chairman of the National Harmonica League (NHL) which supports the UK harmonica players community.

Much of my time is spent writing books with Paul Lennon on how to play the harmonica, there are 20 or so with loads more in the pipeline - we have so many ideas it never stops.

I teach children near home, and with my team at HarpsCool where the team and I give 300 children weekly harmonica lessons.

My YT videos, and their success and feedback, are the reason I am teaching on Udemy; there are millions of hits on the youtube sites and thousands of subscribers. People are kind enough to say how clear the teaching is, and how it's helped them to understand aspects of harmonica playing - at last!

I run workshops at major harmonica festivals including SPAH in the US, the Bristol International Harmonica Festival in the UK, the World Harmonica Festival in Trossingen, Germany - home of Hohner, and the Harmonica Masters Workshops also in Germany.

I even use the harmonica in team building events for many international companies.

Cruise Ships have been part of my teaching life since 2002 and the combination of teaching, performing and travelling is quite a blast. Who knew teaching the harmonica would take me to the Caribbean three times, Africa, Russia, Scandinavia, and Atlantic Europe.

You will often find me performing in various venues and going to jam sessions, and I love playing with interesting groups or sitting on a number when the opportunity arises - that's one of the wonderful things about the harmonica, you can have it in your back pocket and join in with people wherever you are.

So you are in extremely competent and safe hands, so do yourself a favour and try one of my courses - in fact have a free lecture or two to suck it and see - that's a harmonica joke by the way.


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