Does this ever happen to You.....

I’m outside or anywhere, working in my tool truck (mobile store), etc…wherever :-\

Got my harp in my hand, being or trying to be bold with it, and someone comes up
and says hey Harp Boy play me a tune or Hey Harp Dude show me what ya got. :-[

So I say OK :slight_smile: So I have a notebook of about 30 tunes that I’ve got memorized pretty well, (a few tough
tunes but mostly simple ones) but without pulling out the notebook I stand there and try and think of one.

My brain litterally freezes and goes into lock down, Just can’t think of one.

Then I’ll think of one and can’t remember how the melody goes :’(

But if I just look at first note of tab or just play it on my IPOD for a split second
the whole tune comes back and I can let er rip ;D

Am I just needing to practice my tunes that I know more often :frowning:

Any one else have that problem ??? ??? ???

Harp On!!

Ah good question, man!

That’s why you and everyone should know that little Mannish Boy Riff inside and out and back again!

It is recognizable to most as being “something!”

While you’re doing that, it gives your mind a moment to ‘think’ of where to go next!

By the time you roll around with that - take a pause, and some song or tune should be coming to the top! Oh Susannah; Camptown Races; Blowing in The Wind - Anything to get you over them brain freezes, yo!

And of course, playing with others helps out too!

Nothing to be embarrassed about there! Somebody is always going to be better than you; and you’re always going to be better than somebody else. That’s life, yo!

Just have to put/keep your heart and soul in it and who gives a flying frig!? Nobody!!


Keep on jammin’!

I blame that problem on being old.

Suggestion: have two tunes-a one;two punch-that you always go to. You aren’t going to play 30 tunes…not likely to run into the same guy again. Play YOUR favorites–and your soul will flow through your harmonica; into the air and fill all of the things surrounding you with music.

Now, just close your eyes and play those two tunes!

Gett’em Joe!


I blame that problem on being old.

Oh, yeah, McManus - well let me tell you a thing or…uh um er…dammit let me get back to you on that! >:(



Thank you Joe,SPD,McManus,
Yes Joe, Seems I have that problem every time I get in that same situation!
SPD, Thanks, I’m not upon my riffs yet but I’ve been listening to a lot of Blues lately and I hope I’m starting to put a few things together … hope I’m doin it rite!
McManus Thanks to you, what a cool prospective. I can work with that! After all they didn’t ask for a concert, just a tune! I’ll give’m my best two!

Well Paul:

I wouldn’t do this for everybody, but you’re one of the good ones! hehehe!

So here to help you out:

And I will admit it may have been a little pretentious of me to write that everybody should learn this riff. Albeit it is a very easy one to learn. And yet too, I already know JF knows it as well.

My suggestion was to start with something simple you can play without thinking in order to take time to think of something else to play.

By all means don’t pull out a candy bar and look up to the sky! <<<TV commercial reference! hehehe! anyways…>>>

I do like the knowing at least two songs by heart suggestion too. I already use that without thinking. So I’m sure JF can use all these great ideas at some point!


Keep on Harpin’!

[code]Suggestion: have two tunes-a one;two punch-that you always go to. You aren’t going to play 30 tunes…not likely to run into the same guy again. Play YOUR favorites–and your soul will flow through your harmonica; into the air and fill all of the things surrounding you with music.

Now, just close your eyes and play those two tunes!

Gett’em Joe![/code]

Thanks Don,

Good advice like I said 30 tunes for me gets tough. But at the drop of the hat anytime anywhere I can play blowing in the wind / Hey Mr Tambourine Man.

So the next time I get, “play something for me harp boy” and my brain freezes on these 2 tunes I’m gonna I’m Gonna I’m Gonna!!!

-----------------------------------------------------P R A C T I C E M O R E!!!---------------------------------------------------

Bet you thought I was gonna say quit

Harp On!!

Hmmm–this I’ll take my own advice.

So the next time I get, "play something for me harp boy" and my brain freezes on these 2 tunes I'm gonna I'm Gonna I'm Gonna!!!!

----------------------------------P R A C T I C E M O R E!!!-----------------------------

Huh? WTF? How does this conversation go?

“Hey, yo, harp boy dude, play something with that thing in your hand!”

Well um okay…{got these two tunes all planned out!}

Well, I’m waiting…

{oh shit! brain freeze!} Uh, um, let me get back to you on that, guy. I have to Practice More - And besides I’m just holding this for a friend anyways!

IDK! Been scratching the inside of my cranium trying to figure it out! (sigh!) ::slight_smile:

Was hoping you’d’ve said:

[i][b]Sure, Man! You got it! Just listen to this… 8)

Well maybe some day, eh? :wink:

I’m still pulling and praying for ya, yo! :slight_smile:

Keep on playin’!

Keep on jammin’!

It’s all confidence I think and being bold… :o :o
Will get there
or die trying.

harp on!!

I used to have this problem when I used tabs, it has never happened since I quit them. Sometimes I forget how a riff goes (like the mellow down easy riff by Paul Butterfield, I can never remember the timing when we’re jamming!), but I always make something new up on the spot, using what I remember of how the riff was.

I think it has to do with that when you play by tabs, you have to remember an exact pattern. When you play by ear it’s more like talking. Have you for an example ever wondered why you would always freeze up when doing presentations in school, but never having the same thing happen in real conversations? Because when you talk with friends you are expressing yourself, saying what comes naturally, but when you do a presentation you have to remember the exact words.

This is pretty funny to me, I’ve driving around NM (I-40) back and forth) going to these little places I go on my job. I’ve been trying to remember how Red Wing starts. For the life of me I couldn’t get started. Then this morning, down around Bootleg, Texas (it’s on the map) it came to me, been playing it all day! Still fighting that darn 3 draw bend!

I’m going to get it one day.

So yes, Joe. I think it happens to us all, maybe not SPD.


Excellant point, Whiscat!
Note: Bootleg is just an intersection now, but use to be a town.

It never ceases to amaze me, fellow harpsters and harpsterettes, how one section, one concern happens to intertwine and relate to another section, another concern somewhere else.

Case in point:

While we’re discussing the variables of this topic here - in another thread we’re discussing those variables there:

However, in my reading of and going back and forth between the two, for myself, I see the answers to both lay somewhere in the middle.

Meaning and let me explain:

Many moons ago, while surfing and skimming much harmonica related materials, I came across the JT-30 site. In actuality, it was one of the very first sites I ever stumbeld upon.

I saved it; and periodically go back to it now and again.

Yet just as recently as yesterday, with the topic of PRACTICE rearing it’s ugly head again…hehehehe!..I went back and pulled this up once more:

While I instinctively knew it fit the patter of what I was attempting to achieve in my post, and was able to continue on from there – Yet as well, I’m one who double checks, and double checks again just so everything reads smoothly for myself and everyone else doing so.

This means too, I’ll sit and read (and/or watch) the very links I post to make sure they work and the shared knowledge is accurate to the point(s) I’m making.

This being said, I sat and reread through the JT-30 page again; and the following ‘jumped’ out at me. It was there all along, yet for whatever reason I failed to notice it at the time. But when reading it this go round, I had a mini Aha-Eureka moment! Makes perfect sense to me!

And so with no further ado, it was thus, and I quote:

Hum before you play. Hum a few bars of the song that you are working on and then play it with the harp. See if you can exactly match what you hum. Your goal is to make playing harp as easy as humming. You want to train the part of your brain that easily hums a song to use the harp to do the humming.

So estatic was I, that I put away my tabs and stuff; and just started humming all the tunes I could think of. And discovered I can play them too!

This is a wonderful breakthrough for me, and I wanted to share it with you - Because it fits this topic and subject matter here as well!

Those who read it, understand what’s being said, and can put it into practice - I really hope this helps you along your journey through the harmonica universe also!

Please keep us posted!

Now onto the other news here: Well for my big buddy JF specifically -

When it comes to ‘confidence’ and all that; and to take a page out of the MP-like Shakespearean play book, I’d have to paraphrase and say: “I believe the gentleman doth protest too much, methinks!”

And while you’re trying to work on that paraphrase, I’m going to throw you another curveball; and this from the Edward-like play book of wisdom, and I say succinctly: “Dude, you have to let yourself go!”

Yet before you ask me ‘why’ and ‘how’ - I’m simply going to redirect your attentions back to somebody who can and does say it much better than I can –

And this person is Kenny Werner, author of “Effortless mastery: Liberating The Master Muscian Within!”

Maybe you’ve looked at him and the book; I don’t know. Perhaps too though, since Kenny also talks about using a form of meditation to overcome one’s difficulties in music, that for whatever reason this doesn’t jive with you on some level. Again, I don’t know.

Thing is though, whether you choose to believe it or not - Meditation in some form, as it is in say prayer, is good for the mind, body and soul! And you have all three! So even if you still don’t want to attempt those things - Still however, the book itself and just by reading through Kenny’s struggles and what he found to help others alone will do you wonders, my friend!

I believe in you, Joseph! I know you’ll get past this and all obstacles, surely! I just want to be around when you do!

So finally now:

Do you know the harmonica isn’t going to give you confidence to play it, rather the confidence comes from within you to play the harmonica?

Uh, no, but if you hum a few bars…


And so on that fine note then:

Keep on smiling!

Thanks for reading!

Keep on harpin’!

Peace & SPD Out!

Thanks, SPD! It’s so good to have people like you. One’s that are able to take the time to find information for us rookies. Between working 8 to 12 hours each day, trying to squeeze some practice time in and read all the info that is available, almost impossible.

Note: that’s why sometimes you don’t hear much from me, shhh! it’s a secret.
I kinda disagree somewhat on practice while driving, sure I can’t practice using hands, but I can sure practice single notes, bending, rhythms etc.
Just 2 cents…

Great Post,

Just got in from my monthly snappy meeting, Drive and hour after work to a hotel to a sit in a 2 hour meeting and
then home again. The good part was 1 hour of practice coming and going on my harp. ;D

Makes the ride go faster :smiley:

One of your best post’s ever. I’ll be reading and rereading it a lot :wink:

Darn if i didn’t have another locked up brain fart again today :-\

Had opportunity and for the life of me couldn’t figure out how to start Hey Mr Tambourine Man, It’s 7B :o

But that’s OK after trying to find the starting point, without any luck I just went right into Blowin In the Wind :stuck_out_tongue:

It played perfect ;D

I just have to keep playing out in front of as many people and as often as I get the opportunity 8)

I will succeed. Darn I can’t let you down now can I >:( [sub](that’s my determind face)[/sub]

Thanks for the encouragement ;D

Your not only a Teacher and writer and harp player but your best gift may just be a motivator.

Harp On!!

I think you’ve taken your first step towards becoming an ear-player, SPD! The humming thing is the same as I do, only I sing, the occasionall hum is of course inevitable, but it’s all the same :slight_smile: Congratulations!