INSTANT HARMONICA – play Somewhere Over the Rainbow 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.
Today we are going to learn to play Somewhere Over The Rainbow on the C harmonica - that's the 'diatonic' harmonica.
I show you how it will be easy for you to learn and what teaching methods I use.
I use a program called 'Transcribe!' to slow down the music and you can search for this and get a free evaluation copy to check out. I have no affiliate links with the author although he is a friend of Paul Lennon, my writing collaborator.
The main mission in this lecture is to get you to sing the tune until you really know it.
Next move to the lecture called 'First few notes' next or - if you are having trouble playing single notes go to the 'Single Notes' lecture.
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'
Take a look at all the resources in this lecture please. They are in the top right of your screen - view resources > second tab in > downloadable files.
Here you will find a slow and a medium speed backing track to play along with.
Also there is a pdf of the whole tune and another called 'Top Line' which you will need for this particular lecture.
Start the video and pause anytime you need to.
The first few notes are what we will cover in this lecture and that takes you up to the the word 'Rainbow'.
Please follow the video now.
This lecture finishes off the first line;
Way up high
4blow, 6 draw, 6blow.
Please repeat those three notes with me as on the video - over and over.
Now play the whole of the top line looped over and over.
The video invites you to do this so just follow what I say and keep repeating.
Now we are ready for the second line.
Don't forget you can pause the video at any time or run it at different speeds to suit you.
The second line has lyrics like this:
There's a land that I heard of....
And the tab is:
5 draw, 5draw, 5 blow, 4 blow, 4 draw, 5 blow, 5 draw
Stop there please.
Let's play it with the band in a loop so you can practice it.
This lecture is all about finishing the second line.
Once in a lullaby
4 draw, 3 draw, 4 blow, 4 draw, 5 blow, 4 blow.
Play it slowly and repeat lots of times.
Now play the whole tune up to this point with me on the video.
You can do it on your own using the backing tracks as well of course.
The next part is the same notes but with words - so for you it's the same, for singers it's different.
Here comes the B section.
This is the classic 'bridge' part of the song and is often also known as 'the middle eight' even if it has more than eight bars.
Some [actually this should really be in the previous bar] day I'll wish upon a star and
wake up where the clouds are far be-
(6 blow) 5 blow, 6 blow, 5 blow, 6 blow, 5 blow, 6 blow, 5 blow, 6 blow,
5 draw, 6 blow, 5 draw, 6 blow, 5 draw, 6 blow, 5 draw, 6 blow,
6 draw, 6 draw
Here comes the tricky bit.
Well actually the first bit is the same as we just did and not tricky at all:
(Where) trouble melts like lemon drops a-
(6 blow) 5 blow, 6 blow, 5 blow, 6 blow, 5 blow, 6 blow, 5 blow, 6 blow
way a-bove the chimney pots
(gap) 6draw, (gap) 6draw, (gap) 6draw, (gap) 6draw
- or you could play it with 6 draw throughout this line
that's where you'll find me
7 draw, 7 draw, 8 draw, 6 draw
(this part is written slightly differently on the attachment so you can use either version - I prefer this one myself)
This lecture is about playing the whole the piece with me guiding you.
You should find this quite easy now but if you get lost please don't panic - just sing.
Then find a bit where you can come in again and join in again.
I also teach you the ending that used in the film.
Start the tune again now and play with the different speed audio tracks on your own.
This is a recap of the tune at normal speed so play along with me.
Can you close your eyes and do it from memory?
I'll show you a couple of different ways to play the tune in this lecture such as ways to embellish the tune somewhat by playing it differently.
I don't want to muck around too much with such a beautiful tune but this lecture has a few ideas for you.
You should also google other versions such as the one by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwoʻole here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1bFr2SWP1I
There are many others as well but I think his is outstanding.
So keep playing it on your own and with other people when you can.
Have a go at the scale of C. It's a brilliant little Doh Re Me tune and will be very helpful.
Extend it by missing out notes F and B (5draw and 7draw) and you will have a different scale remaining - this is called the C major Pentatonic Scale and is your favourite friend when you are improvising. CDEGA are the notes.
Start those exact same notes on A and go up to A and you have there the 'A minor Pentatonic Scale' - ACDEGA. This is even more useful than the previous scale for improvising.
If you can already play this scale give yourself a challenge and start it from hole 1 blow.
You will find the bending requirements are rather intriguing!
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?
*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.
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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.