Instant Harmonica - play Happy Birthday; serenade your mates
5.0 (5 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
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Instant Harmonica - play Happy Birthday; serenade your mates

Amaze your friends and family by whipping out a harmonica and wishing them a Happy Birthday - personal and unforgettable
5.0 (5 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
840 students enrolled
Created by Ben Hewlett
Last updated 7/2015
Current price: $10 Original price: $20 Discount: 50% off
1 day left at this price!
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  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 1 Article
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • play Happy Birthday to your mates - imagine how knocked out they will be with this instant, unforgettable, and highly personal gift
View Curriculum
  • If you know someone with a birthday this is for you. No musical experience needed. You will need to get a 10hole diatonic harmonica in the key of C.

INSTANT HARMONICA – play Happy Birthday right now!

If you have a tune that you would like me to teach please message me.

Take this course and play the tune instantly. No musical experience needed.

You will pick it up straight away without needing any music skills. This is easy to play and really fun to learn. You will be proud of your achievements and happy with the results.

'INSTANT HARMONICA' is a new series of courses where you learn one tune per course. You will find it is taught in a friendly and encouraging manner and most importantly is it taught v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.

Ben Hewlett is a very experienced music teacher who is able to be very patient and methodical. Each lecture will introduce you to the next group of notes – usually just 4 new notes and that's it.

This method is very easy for you to pick up the tunes as they are repeated over and over again until you have got it. You can even re-run the video if you find it useful.

Take one course and learn your favourite tune. The try another. Remember you can always get your money back if you wish but otherwise you have lifetime access to the course.

Imagine how amazing it will feel when you whip out your harmonica and play this tune – your friends and family will carry you shoulder high in triumph. Hopefully they don't carry you out of town and dump you in the river, but hey, swimming's good as well.

The health benefits of playing the harmonica are well documented – google it. Your lungs get exercised, your lung capacity increases, aerobic movement is good for you, playing music makes you smarter they say.

You will have fun on your own and with your friends, and more oxygen to the brain will make you think you are having a good time so it's all good.

Who is the target audience?
  • This is for people who don't play the harmonica although players can take it as well if they are not familiar with playing the most famous tune in the world
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 12 Lectures Collapse All 12 Lectures 49:06
1 Lecture 02:54

Grab a ten hole diatonic harmonica in the key of C and let's go

This tune only uses 4 holes - 6, 7, 8 and 9

Preview 02:54
Here's how to get single notes on the harmonica
1 Lecture 02:07

Any course in my INSTANT HARMONICA series needs only two things:

a harmonica (key of C, 10 holes, diatonic)

and the ability to play single notes - but I'll show you how to do that now in this lecture

Make your mouth into the shape you might use if you whistle - it's known as the pucker, pursed lip or kiss shape. Allow your lower lip to drop and push the harmonica in a little; the further it goes in the better it will sound! Relax your lips to let the harmonica in and gradually try to get the shape that gives you a single note.

Some people use a pencil or straw to model the shape you need so try that as well.

I have a bigger course with five lectures on this subject if you want to go deeper - it's called 'INSTANT HARMONICA - how to get single notes in 5 easy steps' so dive in and take that one if you like

The more complicated way is called 'tongue blocking' but I will not go into it here except to say you use your tongue to block the holes to the left (or sometimes the right) side of the hole you want to play. Here's another of my courses that explores the use of the tongue in harmonica playing - 'Killer Harmonica sounds using the tongue and bending notes'

Preview 02:07
First line of the tune
2 Lectures 10:25


First line of the tune - how many notes are there? Six.

Are any of them the same?

Can you find the first hole no please

Arrow upwards means breathe OUT

Repeat the first note as clearly as possible

Tougue the not by saying 'T' or play it smoothly by saying 'AAH'

Watch my face to see which hole and which breath direction I'm using

The first four notes are all on hole 6

Preview 05:42

Happy Birthday notes
1 question

Learning check - how are you doing?

Are you getting clear notes yet? Keep working at it please

Play it with the piano

What is the transition from the fourth to the fifth note?

6 BLOW - 7 BLOW. Easy transition; play 6 BLOW and keep breathing but slide up to hole 7

Now breathe IN for the last note

Awesome. Sorry, I went a bit American on you there.


First 6 notes - 'Happy Birthday to you'
Second line of the tune
2 Lectures 08:26

Starting the second line

Only two notes are different compared to the first line

The only tricky bit is 6 BLOW to 8 DRAW so work on that transition to get it smooth

Pause here

Now run it together in context

Second line 'Happy Birthday to yo-u'

Half of the tune is done so let's play it through from the top

With the chords on piano

Now the biggest jump othe whole tune - 66 9 all blowing

Finishing the second line
Third line of the tune
1 Lecture 05:35

Back to the one inch jump BLOW 66 9

Consecutive notes falling down the hill come next BLOW 987

Very easy

Now DRAW 7 6

Pause on the last note to build tension........

Third line
Last line and finishing of the tune
5 Lectures 19:40

That's three quarters done - well done!

Play it from the top

Repeat on your own

Now with piano

Next two notes are 9 DRAW

Try to hook up the last two notes of the third line to the first two notes on the last line

Last line first 2 notes

Last four notes


Play all the last line so far

Finish it off now and play the whole of the last line

Add vibrato

Many types of vibrato - see demo on video

Last 4 notes

Now you know the tune and can play it to your pals - go for it!

Keep your harmonica handy and serenade them.

You are on your own now!

Come and join the other INSTANT HARMONICA courses and let me know if there are any specific tunes you would like to have taught - I'm sure you won't be the only one so I'll look into teaching it for you all.


Bonus - Victor Borge playing Happy Birthday in the style of his fave composers

This lecture explains what all the notes are.

If you aldeady know this stuff you can skim or skip it

Like I said earlier, I have a bigger course with five lectures on this subject if you want to go deeper - it's called 'INSTANT HARMONICA - how to get single notes in 5 easy steps' so dive in and take that one if you like
Bonus - how to play the scale of C
About the Instructor
Ben Hewlett
4.6 Average rating
1,000 Reviews
12,912 Students
61 Courses
Professional Harmonica Instructor since 1996 CTABRSM, NHL

Wow, over 12 thousand students - you could be next!!


Please note I am your HARMONICA SPECIALIST - that is my focus.

I always give current students a 75% discount on everything so if you take one course you are 'in my exclusive club' which means I will tell you every month what's new and where the discounts are.

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 now have a few 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?

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

*Professional Harmonica Instructor since 1996

*Lousy at speelling - 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'


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.


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.