Instant Harmonica - play the groovy Valens La Bamba now!
4.8 (4 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 the groovy Valens La Bamba now!

Learn to play this Ritchie Valens piece and join or lead a session - get my easy step by step guide, I'll show how...
4.8 (4 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.
390 students enrolled
Created by Ben Hewlett
Last updated 2/2016
Current price: $10 Original price: $20 Discount: 50% off
2 days left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 44 mins on-demand video
  • 11 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • play La Bamba on your harmonica. You will also be able to learn all the songs in the INSTANT HARMONICA series so look out for the courses coming up
View Curriculum
  • all you need is a ten hole diatonic harmonica in the key of C. You can get one locally or from my mail order shop sonnyboysmusicstore (link is on the last page of the course, in my profile or google it) - I'd recommend the Sonnyboys Special in C as a good all-round harmonica with low cost and great quality.

INSTANT HARMONICA – play the wonderful La Bamba 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 course is for complete beginners; you don't need any musical experience, I'll walk you through the whole thing very slowly step by step. If you are an advanced player you will cover the whole thing very fast and you may find it is too slow for you. However if you add tongue blocking and playing an octave down or using a different key harmonica you will get a big challenge here!
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Curriculum For This Course
Introduction and sing through
2 Lectures 06:58

In this lecture we will learn how to sing all the way through the tune, work out some of the phrasing, and try to get the melody into our brains.

This is the best way to learn a song – by singing it.

Don’t forget to give us some honest written feedback and some stars, as many as you think we deserve, and I look forward to hearing about your success.

The chart is not in this lecture - it's in lecture 3.

Preview 05:10

In this lecture I demonstrate how the bass line is very simple and chords are also very simple.

Notice how many other tunes have the same chord sequence as this.

Tunes like Summer Loving, Tequila, Wild Thing, Summertime Blues, Louie Louie and quite a few more.

Piano chords
The chorus
2 Lectures 11:54

In this lecture we expand on playing the chorus.

Using the charts provided, you will be able to play the simple notes of the chorus in many different ways including chords and notes.

The most important thing is to get the rhythm correct, everything else will then fall into place.

In this lecture you will find:

  • the three backing tracks at 70% of the normal speed
  • the full chart
  • the A section, which we are working on at the moment
Expanding the chorus

In this lecture we are simply having fun playing what we know about the tune so far.

The attached audio files are at the normal speed.

So now you have two speeds to choose from and three versions of the tune

  • first is the cover version is with vocals
  • second is the instrumental version which has no vocals, like a karaoke track
  • third is a piano guide that you might find useful I think
We jammin'
Learning the component parts of the song
3 Lectures 13:18

Here comes the B section, as I have called it.

This is the first part of the music that you hear when you listen to the original.

The B section and the C section are the same.

Try to get the timing right and everything else will fall into place.

This type of tune defies being written down because it has that Latin feel to it which you can only get by listening to the original or any good version played live.

Try to feel it. I was told to 'be more Latin' when I was in Cuba trying to learn Cuban dance.

My Uncle and Grandfather were both Church of England Vicars so give me a break.

Anyway - be more Latin. That's my advice.

Dance and play at the same time, move with the groove.

B section

This is the D section.

It is somewhat tricky and please remember it follows the C section immediately without any gaps.

The words in Spanish run very quickly with the music and it will probably help if you can speak Spanish.

As you can tell I don’t and sometimes I stumble over the words as they seem to run into each other. Maybe I should be more Latin.

I am sure you will get it fairly quickly.

I should remind you that the system I useful slowing down music in order to learn how to play better is a software program called ‘Transcribe!’

It is one that I have become familiar with but I believe there are many others available.

Preview 05:53

Now we come to the H section.

This is the only part of verse that has an extra piece added and it changes rhythm and feel.

Please take a listen to the original and to my version to learn how it works.

The best way to learn this is to sing it very slowly and then to try to play it in three sections.

The phrase is repeated three times so you can learn it phrase by phrase.

Section H
The whole tune
3 Lectures 11:39

Now that you have learnt all of the component parts it’s time to play the whole tune.

This lecture uses the vocal version to give you some support.

It is certainly much easier to play with this version than the instrumental version.

So try to play the tune using the backing tracks at slow or fast speed and then you can try to improvise a little bit as well.

If you make a mistake just keep going and we will tell the audience you are improvising.

Preview 04:21

In this lecture we will do the same thing but with the instrumental version.

You can see me making some mistakes as the structure of the song - it's not 100% in my memory yet. I need to sing it more - as well as becoming more Latin.

This is something we all have to study and playing along with the original will certainly help.

If you can read music the best way is to follow the written music, that way you will not make any mistakes. Probably.

Whole Tune (Instrumental version)

I hope you have enjoyed learning this amazing yet simple tune with me; I think it is a very exciting party piece which never fails to entertain people.

It is the sort of tune that everybody knows and wants to sing along with so you will be the life and soul of the party once you have learnt how to play it comfortably. Don’t forget to give us some written feedback and some stars, as many as you think we deserve, and I look forward to hearing about your success and seeing you in the next instant Harmonica course. My spell checker wrote 'Chanukah course'. It's up to you.

About the Instructor
Ben Hewlett
4.7 Average rating
1,141 Reviews
13,785 Students
64 Courses
Professional Harmonica Instructor since 1996 CTABRSM, NHL

Wow, over 13 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.