Lesson 1

My Simple Harmonica Notation System

The numbering system is really quite simple. Over each word or syllable in the lyrics to a song is a number. If that number is a 4 then you blow into hole number 4. However, if it is a -4 then you draw into hole number 4. If the number is preceeded by the < symbol, (which only occurs on the chromatic scale songs) then this means that you push the lever in on the right side of the instrument to produce a sharp note. This is what enables the chromatic scale harmonica to be able to play any song, regardless of the number of sharps and flats in the song.

So What If You Don't Know The Songs?

Only attempt to play familiar tunes. If you can hum it or whistle it, then you can learn to play it fairly soon. In fact, think of yourself as singing the song through your instrument and the reeds of your instrument as a substitute for your vocal chords.


Enough of the introduction. Each lesson will include helpful tips on improving your playing. Each lesson will also include a couple practice songs. (the downloaded version of these lessons includes four practice songs) Learn each song before moving on to the next lesson.

Play each line at least five times. Start slowly and increase speed with each repetition. Blow into the hole indicated unless there is a minus sign (-) in front of the number, in which case you draw through that hole.

It is not absolutely necessary that you play clear single notes. When trying to get a blow #4, it is OK if you include holes #3 and #5. Eventually you will want to learn to play single notes. Work at it and it will come to you naturally.

Make sure you practice every day. Your practice does not need to be for long periods of time. It is quite acceptable to practice for just five to ten minutes. In fact, it is possible to practice for too long. It may be counter productive. It is more important to practice every day, then it is to practice for a complete hour once a week.

 4   5  6    6   6   -6  -6  6
Kum ba yah, My Lord, Kum ba yah,

Play this on your C harmonica

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