Closing nose

Hi everyone! :sun_with_face:

I am having trouble with air leakage. I am getting better by the day but I was wondering if there is an exercise I can do throughout the day to practice blocking the nose air stream while drawing air in the harp? I read about the “ballon exercise” but I don’t quite understand it… can someone explain this to me? Or any other tip?

Another thing I wanted to ask is if anyone has trouble playing the higher notes? Holes 8-9-10 with blowing and mostly drawing sound awful and like there’s no air that can go through… what am I doing wrong? :melting_face:

Hopefully someone can shed some light on this!



Hello there Magic Rain :+1:

I’m not familiar with the Ballon Exercise, but I have an idea which might help you.

Do you know how to close off your nose when you put your head underwater, so the water doesn’t come in, without plugging it with your fingers? :thinking:

Seems to me that this is a similar technique I use when drawing on the harmonica. Close the nose from the inside like you are keeping water out and the air flows through your mouth instead :wink:

It also took me awhile to get the upper notes (8-9-10) to sound full and rich rather than mousey and squeaky. Strangely enough what helped me to play the upper notes better was when my first harmonica blew out the 4 blow, so I was without the root note of most tunes I knew how to play.

Through Master @Luke 's expert advice, I started trying to play all the songs I had learned in the upper register, starting on the 7 blow. After scaring the heck out of several people at the beginning with the sounds I was making, the notes finally started to sound right.

Now that I think about it, I should do the same thing with the lower register starting on the 1 blow. It’s amazing how many songs can be played in all three positions once we are able to bend properly.

Hope this helps :notes:


Hi @Lluvia_Magica, regarding those higher notes,
I’m not the best person to instruct you, but I think I’m safe in saying that every beginner has trouble with them, especially with the higher key harmonicas. I think the normal reaction when you get no sound is to increase the air flow when you should probably decrease the air flow.


Hola @Lluvia_Magica :wave:t3:

Yes just practice breathing in through your mouth paying attention that no air is coming through your nose, and if you find you can’t do it, just pinch your nose and breathe in through your mouth again so your body can feel it, and then try again. Rinse and Repeat. Easy Peezy Lemon Breezy.

Everybody struggles with high notes, ESPECIALLY at the beginning.:ok_hand:t3: -7, -8 are the most frequent ones that REALLY trip people up, but anything above 6 can prove problematic!

Remember to be patient with yourself. This may take some time…

These are the tips for a getting good clean high notes.

1.) Let gravity lower your jaw so that it’s totally relaxed and in a nice “aw” vowel shape, your teeth should be far apart from each other

2.) Keep the back of your tongue down, like it is when you yawn. Make sure it’s not in the “Kk” zone (how your tongue is when you say a “Kk” consonant.)

3.) Nice steady, GENTLE, airflow. Most beginners (and many intermediate and advanced players) use WAY to much pressure.

Hope that helps! :sunglasses:

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