No Pain, No Gain

I have been working on my harmonica skills so hard that I have a blood blister on the inside of my top lip, and a slight bruise on the palm of my hand! No pain, no gain!

I have still been learning from my favourite teacher, JP Allen, who filmed a collection of harmonica tutorials back in the 80’s (my best guess), and then uploaded them to YouTube around 2007. I took a screenshot of this video that taught me some hand techniques this week. They are super out of date, but he is so charismatic and easy to learn from that I don’t even mind the mullet. He demonstrates and explains, and then he counts you in and you play with him. Such great learning videos! I have my own progress captured in a video below of the technique that he was teaching in this particular video. It all depends on how you hold your mouth, and when you open your hands. I haven’t yet been able to concentrate on this while trying to play songs, but I’m sure with time it will come.

So far I’ve shared some techniques I have learned over the past few weeks, and a bit of single notes, so this week I decided to find some songs that I was interested in learning. I found Love Me Do by The Beatles, and Piano Man by Billy Joel that have some harmonica in them, but I especially like the intros. I found some harmonica tabs here and here on Harp Tabs that I especially liked, because they laid out their tabs exactly as the musician played it in the original song, with spacing coinciding with the timing; great for beginners! I found another version on this website that I did not like at all, and when I tried to play the songs, they sounded off.

For Piano Man, I thought it would sound better if I could find the piano music to play along with, so I searched YouTube and came up with a tutorial for the piano music.  This tutorial was just the piano music playing and the video was showing how to play as it went along. It was exactly what I needed! I only used the first part of it since I was only working on the intro.

After about 20 takes of the two intros, I have successfully recorded my progress! Watch the videos below, and make sure to leave a comment on my blog and let me know what you think!

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2 thoughts on “No Pain, No Gain

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