Fairly new to harmonica...when should I start attempting to truly play songs?

I just started on harmonica a couple of weeks ago. I’m trying to power through the Happy Harpin’ lessons and am eager to be able to play songs, not just rhythms. I’m resisting the urge so I don’t learn bad habits, but as someone who plays several other instruments and is accustomed to playing songs, I’m getting antsy. At what point do you think it’s safe to start tinkering? Is there a particular lesson I should have gotten to? All of them? A particular skill I must learn first (besides playing single notes)? Thanks!

JP may disagree but if you got single notes down start picking out some songs! Especially if your interested in melodies more than Blues Cross Harp.

I’d agree with PB!


I have to agree with the above advice if only because I did it myself :wink: I think that if you a) get a decenT
book with “blow draw 1,2,3 4 etc” then what you will learn from a real song will help you with the lessons Iam coming from a similar point of view as yourself. I don’t want to waste time on learning “Jingle Bells” I would rather spend additional time and effort on something or a song I want to learn. Therefore my opinion is stick with JP’s lessons but if you feel the need then supplement them with songs you want to play. Either way have fun, get into it and let fly.


JP Allen says that is wrong starting with melodies but I think that 90 % of the persons who start playing harmonica start by doing just that- playing melodies because to know to play a melody at the beginning is like a mean against premature frustration- don’t forget that and a good luck; it takes time to be able to play well…

Everybody should know some melodies. There are a lot of harmonica players out there, good harmonica players that if you sat them down and said “play a song,” they couldn’t do it. I think that is a problem in the harmonica community today. Melodies can also give you a chance to work and polish something to perfection. I worked on “I Will Wait For You” for a year maybe before I was really happy with it.
Players need to have the satisfaction that knowing a melody brings, because the harmonica community needs to grow.