FINDING A HARMONICA BUDDY

STAYING FOCUSED ON PRACTICING :slight_smile:

Click Here: http://www.harmonica.com/go/my-practice-secrets.html for my audio blog on the subject.

The idea of a harmonica buddy is to help you stay focused on practicing. If you think this would be a fun way to help you achieve your goals, give it a whirl.

Here are the 3 steps:

Step 1: Make a post here on the forum of what you want to accomplish this week. Small and achievable goals are fantastic. Be specific as possible.

For example: For 5 of the next 7 days, I’m going to practice Amazing Grace for 7 minutes.

Step 2: At the end of the week make another post and tell us how you did.

Step 3: In that same post, tell us your new goal for this week.

I’ve played this game with friends for the last 10 years and it’s been one of my favorite ways to stay focused… and connect and experience the support of friends.

Important: I’m careful to not place any guilt or shame around not achieving my weekly goal. I simply “hold myself accountable” and allow my friends to support me.

For example:

This was a challenging week with some unexpected events so I wasn’t able to accomplish my intentions for the week. All good!!! I’m going to set the same goal for myself this week and practice right when I get up in the morning to make sure I achieve my goal for the week.

or…

Well… I played only 4 of the last 7 days but I made up for it on the last day by playing for 15 minutes.

Wanna play? Make a post below by sharing your goal for this week… or simply chime in and let another harmonica brother know that you’re supporting them…

You’re harmonica brother from another mother,

jp

P.S. You can hear me say more about the topic by clicking here:
http://www.harmonica.com/go/my-practice-secrets.html

Ok. I’m going to play my own game…

This is related to making my pitch more accurate… which will help my harmonica playing… but this particular week I want to focus more on my singing voice…

This week my intention is to train my voice… to develop the ability to sing in perfect pitch.

STEP 1: I’m going to practice 5 of the next 7 days for a minimum of 5 minutes, starting today!!!

I’m going to use the “two guitar tuner” trick that I talk about in my Harmonica bending DVD that enables you to develop perfect bending accuracy (where one tuner acts a tone generator and the other acts as to give instant feedback as to the accuracy of the bend).

Ahhh… I’m so stoked… I’ve been procrastinating on this one for so long and I love it once I get started…

Can I get at least one witness that I can celebrate with at the end of the week after I achieve my goal? STEP 2: I’ll chime in Tuesday of next week to let you know how I did.

Thanks for your support and our long-distance harmonica friendship… it’s great to feel connected with you through the internet even though I would prefer to connect in person… maybe some day…

jp

I’ll Cheer you on JP! I’ve been working hard on my lessons the past couple of weeks and have covered some good ground. I hope to post something soon after I figure out how to use my new laptop. Let us know how your plan works out for you.

Thanks Paul… Ok… I guess you’re my “harmonica buddy” this week… I sang today as planned… 5 minutes turned into 20… loved every minute of it… so far this game is workin’ for me… Anyone else going to chime in with their practicing goal for the week?

I bought a Fender FT100 Chromatic tuner yesterday. I am going to spend 5 minutes a day practicing hitting the bent notes accurately.

Well JP, I’ll chime in!

Me, I’m still keeping to several things here:

http://www.harmonica.com/forums/harmonica-talk/new-year-harpin-resolutions-desires!/

Some are coming along; others am still working on. And we’ll see what’s what by the time the next one rolls around.

Now truth be told, your topic here reminded me of another one I attempted earlier.

I had to go deep into the bowels of our cellar to find it.

<<<Sure, it was kind of a scary place, and sort of fun too. What with digging through all those posts of memories past and what have you…No worries though, as I did take a flashlight and wore protection…And am no worse off for the wear as I survived and came back alive! So it’s all good! Hehehe!! Anywho…>>>

I found the thread!

Therefore in linking the two together {Yours, Mine, Ours – See below!} I believe this is a wonderful opportunity for our fine members, you, and lil ole me all together to really stay motivated and inspired here!

So on that fine note, I’ll see you on the other side of it!

http://www.harmonica.com/forums/how-to-play/what-and-whose-vids-are-you-working-on-now/

Okay, I really did work on this Hakan Ehn tune. It took me a while to get the riffs. I actually wrote everything down (from his text) and carried it around with me until I did.

But also, there is some sort of odd error between his clip versus the text. I don’t know if it was ever corrected, but actually whatever you can get out of it is quite fun. Anywhat…

Point is: Whether you’re an absolute beginner, or you have moved up into the levels of Intermediate (or beyond) –

Working/concentrating/focusing on just one goal {whether basic or more advanced; whether it’s even harmonica related or not} for the week - 7 days/nights - will definitely keep you motivated and interested in wanting to always do more once you’ve accomplished it!

Non-harmonica related, I have some writing on a legal matter I have to do; as well as find a vet I can work with for my two kittens before they get into their soon-to-be natural cat reproductive stages. Wish me luck! Hehehe!! Anywhere…

Harmonica-related though: I am going back into my New Year Harpin’ Resolutions & Desires to see which one I am closest to accomplishing - and work on that this week!

Stay tuned!

So Bottom Line: I’m with you JP!

Whether you, me, anyone wants to consider this the Forum Members’ Diary of Goals & Accomplishments –

Or the Forum Members’ Calendar of Motivational Musical Progression –

Or the Forum Members’ Whatever…

I’ll be your Harmonica Buddy this week; and the next; and the…You get the idea!!

Smiles!

Let’s have some fun!

Keep On Harpin’!

I got my practice in today, which was more than 5 minutes. Most bends were close. All this time I thought I was having trouble getting the third hole, third bend. Come to find out I am getting the third bend, it’s the second bend that eludes me.
Part of my concern is that when drawing the notes with no bend the tuner registered one light off tune. I’m not sure if I am off tune or my cheap $7 tuner. I’ll have to wait till my wife gets home and try it with my other C harp that is in her car.
Now at least I can stop trying to bend hole 3 any lower and concentrate on the 2nd bend!

SHOUT OUT PB!

“I bought a Fender FT100 Chromatic tuner yesterday. I am going to spend 5 minutes a day practicing hitting the bent notes accurately.”

I actually did this the JP Allen way. He uses two tuners. One to sound the note and hear it - the other to play the note and see if it matches what it should be.

It really works!

Now though, what does one do if they only have the one chromatic tuner?

Simple. Go here and get the second one free –

http://www.seventhstring.com/

A Word of Caution: The tuner is super-sensitive, but it is highly recommended too!

So working with yours and theirs, you should be able to learn/hear the bends the JP Allen way in no time!

Speaking of Bends Though:

For you, me and everyone – Bends only come with continued ongoing work until you get them!

Meaning, just reading forums posts like those here and/or watching clips and vids on Youtube such as in JP Allen’s lessons and many others demonstrating how to do it –

There is no magic wand, magic bullet, magic harp to get you there!

The only thing that will get you there is: TIME!!

How long it will take you is anybody’s guess! But stay with it and you will get there!

Oh and by all means as you’re going along, just as important if not more so –

Have fun too!

Smiles!

Keep On Harpin’!

Cool beans, PB!

Here’s a few more things I learned in those wondrous “A-ha Eureka Moments” of mine.

Therefore to wit:

  1. Simply by changing the Calibration from 440 to 442 (or 443) hertz will actually make a difference and easier to make and see the bend notes.

Thing is, even if your harp is one that is stamped “A440” – Well without going into all the intricate musical details about this…Still, just know that by your using the harp, the reeds themselves actually do change and adjust to the way you play them.

So try the above and see how it works for you.

  1. Gapping (even embossing) the reeds does help to achieve the goal of bending.

Yeah, sure, there are those who never work on their harps; but they also have others who do it first or for them. And again without going into all the intricate details, for and against, etc., well regardless –

Maintenance of some sort is needed to keep the instrument in good running/operating shape. As there are plenty of posts, lessons, et al on the subject here, just take it slow 'n easy, and see how it works for you.

There are a few other things you can do on the harp, but I’ll leave it here for now as they do require some more details about tunings which includes changing pitches and working with a tuner, etc.

However, the two suggestions above should help you get to those all-illusive 2/3 hole bends. With a C harp, on the 2 hole draw: The F note below F# is what you’re looking for. On the 3 hole draw: The A note between the Bb and G# is what you’re looking for.

Oh, which reminds me of one more tip/suggestion I learned and can share, which is:

JUST PLAY THE DAMN THING!

Yes and meaning, whenever I actually try to get these bends consciously and with effort – It is and can be frustratingly difficult.

However, whenever I just play the damn thing, just play some riffs, tunes, etc. on the lower register – Well, my mouth and embouchure seem to know what to do (without me in the way) to get those bends! And it becomes much easier at that!

So bottom line: Do one of the above; do all of the above! Just remember to have fun while you’re doing it - Always!

Smiles!

Keep On Harpin’!

Awesome idea JP.
I am working on the song “Crying” by the big “O” I am practicing 10 mins 5 days a week. I have trouble getting nice notes on the higher holes so I thought the only way to get better is to practice on a song I like that has half the notes on those holes. Anymore than Half and I’d give up. I got the song off harp tabs so I’ll get to it.

I have noticed one thing in my 5 weeks of harmonica journey…I hear how the harp is played on the you tube vids completely different now compared to before I started playing. What sounded like a mix of notes and just noise to me before, sounds completely different to me now and I hear different parts of the riffs I never heard before. Wow…this is amazing. I have listened to this clip so many times before I started playing the harmonica and hadn’t listened to it again until the other day, but I hear it so differently now. Anyway just thought I’d share…a bit off topic …but that shocked me???


Tom Walbank, Harmonica Guru

I downloaded a really cool FREE chromatic tuner app for my smart(?)phone that works great. I can use it with one of my guitar tuners for the two tuner idea.
Great idea about the buddy system, JP.
BB

My daily practice didn’t work out like I had hoped. I haven’t gotten to practice with the tuner like I had hoped. I did practice (in the car, waiting in lines, etc.) while running around taking care of all life has been throwing at me. I will to pick up again Monday and complete my task.
I just tried posting a video of myself playing but it said it was too large and booted it out. I’ll try recording a shorter version and do it again later.

After going through the instructional videos up to “blow the roof off the house” I figured I could try out the video on “finally learning to bend”, and MY WORD is it fun! After spending the good weekend on playing about on bending I tried recording myself.

And after the 5th replay I’m still finding myself funny to watch! So what I have decided to do is to attempt to record everyday my bending progress for the week and see how that goes. Perhaps watching myself improve would be a good way to motivate myself :).

I guess I have the holes 1 and 2 draw bends well under way ;D. Now to work on 3 and 4!

Nicely done Jacob and your absololutely right about recording yourself it will
definitely improve your playing overall.

Really looked like your getting the hang of it.

How long have you been playing.

It took me over a year to be able to just start to get the hang of bending.

Good luck and keep video posting your progress .

Harp On!!

Looks like your bends are really starting to come along. I was watching you hit them
bends using this software here.

http://www.harmonicagame.com/

Wow, those websites will come in handy Joe, thanks for sharing them :D.

As for how long I was harping, I would say that I had my Lee Oskar sitting around for 3 years and stopped after about 3 months. Only picking up the harmonica about once every 2 months and eventually forgetting about it.

I had the harmonica for Dummies book since November 2010, but books dont quite work for me and I had yet another long spell of the harmonica block.

Only started taking it up for real this April when I came across the wonderful learning bundle by JP and the world of harmonica playing just opened.

I wouldn’t say I am a fast progresser when it comes to learning things. I would be happy enough to achieve a bend on holes 3 or 4 by the end of this 7 day project ;). Holes 5-10 : I’m sure with more practise I’ll get somewhere.

In regards to your playing, I remember when I was where you are now, not too long ago actually!Keep it up it will come to you. In regards to your sibling, keep a copy of this and when you are both in your 30’s/40’s open a bottle of sake’ and pull the video up and have a good laugh.
Good luck on your journey. Best advice I ever got was to “PRACTICE PERFECT”

I’m looking for someone who’ll be my buddy and keep me accountable to…

Bending!! ;D ;D
For at least 10 minutes for at least 5 out of the next 7 days, I will practice getting quick but accurate bends. (Such as going from an unbent blow note to a bent draw, or from one bend to another etc.)
Someone send me a message and check up on me every once in a while, to make sure I’m giving the effort.

Well I did my 5 out of 7 days and have a reasonable amount of sound coming out of the higher notes now. I stuck with the practice and made some improvement. :wink:
Well done Jacob…keep at it!

thanks for the replies Paul and Aussie Mum.

Saturday and Sunday was revolved around fathers day and a faulty webcam: found myself unable to record myself.
I’ve made some very good progress on the bending. Though I still find the hole 3 draw a bit tricky.

For now I will continue with the instructional videos :). I’ll go into the blow bending techniques later.