Instant Harmonica - play the great Irish tune Molly Malone!

Have fun playing this tune instantly, no musical experience needed.You will easily pick it up straight away; GUARANTEED
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Instructed by Ben Hewlett Music / Instruments
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  • Lectures 13
  • Length 1 hour
  • Skill Level Beginner 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 7/2015 English

Course Description

INSTANT HARMONICA – play Molly Malone 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.

What are the requirements?

  • you need nothing for this course - just a harmonica (10 hole diatonic in the key of C)

What am I going to get from this course?

  • play Molly Malone like a pro and amaze your friends and family

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

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.



Today we start Molly Molone - Cockles and Mussels


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'

Section 1: First line of music


Let's listen to the tune first - you can sing along if you like, the words are in the download tab.

Fire up the backing track in the download section and take a listen.

Sing along

Please note the form - it's verse chorus verse chorus etc.

The chorus is

Alive alive o!
Alive alive o!
Crying cockles and mussels,
Alive alive o!

This is important when you play along to the backing track and knowing this will stop you getting lost.

Sinead O'Connor sings it beautifully here –play along or sing

Do tell me if the link breaks - they often do


Recap last lecture

Sing the next bit

'...City, where the'

Can you work out the next required note?

Must be 4 BLOW

Watch my face to see when I'm breathing IN or OUT

Also you can see if I'm moving a little or a lot

I play first then you play

Play it with the piano chords

1 question

Which holes do we need for this song?


Recap last lecture with piano

Can you work out the next notes? Are they IN or OUT?

Add the new notes and make them swing!

What does the RED ink mean on the whiteboard?
1 question

Recap and play the whole of the top line except 'pretty'

Are they breathing IN or OUT?

Do you see the pattern - all OUT notes and then all IN notes

Note the end of each phrase - it looks like this '

Section 2: Second line of music

Recap the whole of the top line

'First set my' same notes as Three Blind Mice - what are the notes?

IN or OUT? Watch my face. Same hole or was I moving?

If you have learn the scale of C this will all be very familiar

I played a wrong note - how did I know it was wrong?

Play it round and round speeding up if you can


'Eyes on sweet' - 3 notes only

Can you sing them?

Do they rise or fall?

Is the first note higher or lower than the last note of the previous phrase?

Play the first two bars of the second line.

Transitions from one note to another can be tricky

Especially if you have 4 and then 6 but not 5.

Take your time to zoom in and learn this

Find a Grandma and play tunes to her as she sings along - go to an Old Folks home....

Play the phrase and speed it up for practice


Next, the notes for the words 'Molly Malone'

IN or OUT?

Long notes run on at the end of the phrase

Play the whole of the 2nd line with the pick-up note at the end of bar 4

Sing it first

This phrase starts and ends on 4 DRAW

Section 3: Third and fourth lines of music

Wait a moment, this is the same as the top line with the pick-up line

So now you can play the first three lines

Try it with the backing track

Or play along with me on piano and bodhran


Let's start the last line now - 'Cockles and mussels a...'

Can you work it out?

The next bar is the same so take the phrase round and around

Can you speed it up a little?

Play from the top up to here


Last few notes

'Live a live-o'

IN notes feel like a question, so you can't end a piece of music on an IN note (when playing in the key written on the harmonica)

Add vibrato on long notes anytime you like

Play the whole of the last line to give good context

Now play the whole tune with me accompanying on harmonica chords and piano

Remember to use the backing track as well and play along with Sinead with the link I gave you before

Now we'll try with Bodhran a little faster to finish it off


Now you can whip your harmonica out and play Molly Malone at a moments notice!

Try typing 'groovy' into some of my other Instant Harmonica courses to get a bargain!

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Instructor Biography

Ben Hewlett, Professional Harmonica Instructor since 1996 CTABRSM, NHL

  • Wow, over 11 thousand students - you could be next!!

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 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 


'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.

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