“How hard is it to learn harmonica?” is one of the most-asked questions we receive every day from hundreds of beloved harmonica beginners all around the world, and it seems like the rookies in our mailbox tend to shy away from something that sounds like a hardship. Luckily for every newbie who’s nervously reading this article, we are more than happy to assure you that harmonica is recognized as part of the friendliest musical instruments for beginners! Therefore, we are now one step closer to answering your question than ever.
Genuinely speaking, we would say that it’s never too hard to play the harmonica but truth to be told, the answer lies in you. You need to look into several factors before diving into the game of harmonicas, and we are here to guide you through the steps. If you are able and willing to satisfy most of these factors, we believe that you would master the art of playing the harmonica in no time.
So, without further ado, read on!
Table of Contents
How Hard Is It To Learn Harmonica
Choosing The Right Harmonica
There’s a wide range of various harmonicas in the market and as a beginner, you might be bombarded with an overwhelming amount of information. This step is definitely complicated to many of us, but you can never ignore it. Imagine yourself as a swordsman; you can’t roam the battlefield with a broom! It’s quite a funny comparison but the same goes for the pocket-sized instrument. Is the harmonica hard to learn? It would be—if you’re playing with the wrong kind of harmonica.
The three most common types of harmonicas are diatonic, chromatic, and tremolo. First of all, the diatonic harmonica is our best pick for beginners, all thanks to the simplicity of its structure and functions. You would often find it in folk, blues and pop music. Secondly, we have chromatic harmonica, which appears to be more challenging than the previous one, but it’s great for complicated jazz melodies. Lastly, the tremolo harmonica is an excellent choice for rock, pop and folk music. It’s more versatile.
Depending on your preferences and mastery skills, it’s essential that you choose a harmonica that suits you the best so you feel comfortable learning the instrument.
Preparing Fundamental Musical Theories And Knowledge
As you are getting into the world of music, it’s essential that you come with prepared knowledge about the basics. For instance, general music genres such as pop or blues. And we suggest you take a grasp of the most common genres that apply the harmonica and, of course, the understanding of music notes. You want to come to your battlefield fully equipped with all the needed weapons and tactics, so you won’t be left behind along the way!
The one challenge that both beginners and professional harmonica players might encounter is when they accidentally mess up a note, leading to the following part of the performance being a complete mess. As harmonicas have limitations on the number of music notes you can play, it can be pretty tricky to combine notes and get the melody sound right if you don’t know what you are doing.
Now, if you have basic knowledge about music theory and notes, you would be able to make up for the part and make it sound better. Save the day, save yourself! Thus, you are doing yourself a favor if you have basic knowledge about music theory.
Strengthening Your Breathing Techniques
Anyone who’s able to breathe is completely capable of playing the harmonica. But to master it, one would need to have the ability to control his breath on cue.
The skills needed are to blow the harmonica without running out of breath and knowing how much force you need to blow on the holes in order to score the right note. This is to prevent unintended notes, which would ruin your process quite a lot. Therefore, understanding how to control and advance your breathing techniques are the key factors to getting yourself familiar with the harmonica faster.
So, how hard is it to learn the harmonica once you’ve steadily learned to control your breathing techniques? Not so hard, after all!
Here comes the toughest part—but just because we said it’s tough, doesn’t mean it’s unlearnable. However, the “yes” answer to is the harmonica hard to learn might be due to this factor right here.
Beginners often find it troublesome to do this, and after some practice sessions, they will find themselves drained of energy with a sore throat. The most challenging process is to take complete control over the shape of your mouth and tongue so that you can produce the right pitch and tune through blowing on the harmonica. Even when you’re watching tutorials and learning directly from your tutor, it would still be confusing to understand because you can’t see what’s going on inside their mouth. This is absolutely the one part that you need to spend extra time practicing for, but as we assured you before, learning the harmonica is never too hard, we will emphasize this: practice makes perfect.
Just keep on practicing, pushing past your limits and overcoming the challenge. Nobody learns something in just a day, and everyone’s approach is different so you could never compare yourself to others. It could take weeks, months, or even up to a year but we know one thing for sure: If you put your heart and soul into what you are doing, you will receive what you asked for, you will get what you expected and hoped for.
You will master the harmonica before you know it.
Repetition Builds Perfection
Once again, practice makes perfect, so make sure you spend time building up your breathing endurance and perfecting the harmonica skills.
It’s a matter of dedication and diligence. If you are committed to doing something every day, you are bound to get good at it. Here is our tip: plan a timetable for harmonica practice sessions and follow it closely. We suggest 30 minutes a day so you won’t feel fed up with too many harmonicas, and practicing continuously for 30 minutes is a great enough time for you to get used to a new set of techniques and strengthen what you’ve already got.
With a decent amount of practice, how hard is it to learn harmonica will no longer trouble your mind anymore.
What we love about the harmonica is the fact that it comes in a tiny, adorable pocket size so you can carry the instrument everywhere with you. This also gives you more time and chances to practice the harmonica. For instance, if you are waiting for your friend at a park or the train station, just 5 minutes a day with the instrument will still benefit you tremendously.
The Best Online Resources And Ways For You To Learn The Harmonica
Youtube is a fantastic website for you to learn the harmonica. There is, surprisingly, a great variety of harmonica tutorials for beginners on the platform, and professional players post these videos so they contain a lot of extremely useful and detailed tips. Hence, Youtube is a fantastic website for learning all the basics and fundamental information about the harmonica.
Furthermore, if you search “Is the harmonica hard to learn”, there will be several videos addressing that topic as well, and the answers are very promising. As we stated previously, you can definitely master the instrument and Youtube resources support our claim!
We would love to recommend forums such as Reddit or Quora if you ever have any questions about the harmonica. Most of the questions beginners tend to ask are usually covered on these websites, the forum members are knowledgeable, friendly and active, so you definitely would find a lot of useful information and tips. Furthermore, if you have a question and don’t know who to ask, you can always post the question online and in no time, people will send in answers.
If you want to save some time from attending face-to-face courses, online lessons would be the best solution. There are both free and paid courses, and while many people wonder if it’s worth paying money for online courses, we would be more than happy to say that the investment is definitely worth it. The courses provide you with all the helpful advice and detailed guides, which are just as effective as face-to-face learning. Furthermore, you can rewatch the videos and lessons online from time to time if you are in the mood for it. With all the benefits, online lessons make an amazing option.
Here is a helpful video to answer the “How hard is it to learn harmonica?” question for you:
How do I keep my harmonica clean?
Many beginners have hygiene concerns when it comes to playing the harmonica, considering the fact that you would have to blow on the instrument and there is the saliva part getting everywhere, and some are actually worried about having a bad breath day,…
Our first advice is to not lend your pocket-sized instrument to anybody for personal hygiene reasons that are relatively self-explanatory. On the other hand, in order to prevent getting germs and stuff that you absolutely don’t want to see stuck in the harmonica’s holes (such as food particles or vegetables), you should rinse your mouth and keep clean oral hygiene before playing the instrument.
Last but not least, you should clean the instrument regularly after every use. We don’t recommend you soak it in water, however, since many parts of it could be damaged when in contact with water pressure. Additionally, you could clean your harmonica with cleaning liquid explicitly made for musical instruments, especially wind instruments.
How long does it take to learn the harmonica?
If you missed what we mentioned before, it depends on each person when it comes to how long it takes to get used to the harmonica. Everyone’s journey and approach differ. It may take up to months or over a year to fully master the instrument, but it can be pretty simple to be able to play multiple full songs within the span of a month or more. The primary key to your success is practice. Practice, practice, and practice until you reach the peak.
The good news is, harmonicas are a beginner-friendly instrument—definitely one of the easiest musical instruments to play with, so you will have a pleasant experience learning the instrument compared to pianos or a guitar. The main thing to keep in mind is to have fun with the process, and remember that you are doing it to become one with the music!
Are harmonicas durable?
To maintain your harmonica’s new and reliable condition, we highly recommend that you treat it gently the first times you get accustomed to the instrument. There will be unavoidable moments of you using strong force and blowing hard on the holes throughout the year since it’s necessary for your learning development. This will ultimately lead to the reeds being damaged, and that’s bound to happen at some point. Every harmonica goes out of tune; it’s just a harmonica thing.
Therefore, to lengthen the harmonica’s lifespan, we suggest that you clean the instrument as frequently as possible, don’t try to blow as hard and loudly as possible on the instrument and treat it as if it was made of glass. In addition, harmonica sounds best when played at a medium volume so there’s a helpful, fun fact for you!
Moreover, harmonicas are often offered at an affordable price on the market so don’t worry too much about breaking your pocket-sized instruments. However, expensive ones guarantee a better and longer lifespan, so you might want to consider this option.
Harmonicas are one of the most interesting instruments waiting to be explored out there. The sound and energy they radiate give you peaceful and reminiscing vibes, which often puts us in a better and calmer mood. As a mouth instrument, the harmonica is equipped with pre-tuned and set-up chords so all the player needs to do is to place their mouth at the right place. Even though it’s relatively simple and effortless to learn the harmonica, learning to master it would cost you some time. A minute to learn, a lifetime to master, but you will reach the finish line eventually if you put your heart and soul into it every day.
Hopefully, by now, you already know the answer to how hard is it to learn harmonica. Good luck on your journey, fellow musical geniuses.