I Tried Walking & Practicing Harmonica for 14 Days

Practice While Walking

I’m a huge advocate for developing a great sense of time.

NOTHING can take your harmonica playing to the next level

like working on RHYTHM, and specifically working on increasing:

:point_right: Your ability to play more “in the pocket,”

:point_right: Your ability to phrase things in creative and compelling ways

I’ve always thought (and taught) there are 3 ways to develop these skills:

:one: Jamming with people who have a great sense of time

:two: Playing along with backing tracks

:three: Playing along with a metronome

But recently, I read recommendations both from Joe Filisko and Corky Siegel of a 4th way, which I had never considered:

:four: WALKING and PLAYING at the same time.

Hmmmm… I thought to myself, I wonder if that really works? It kinda makes sense because, if you walk at a steady pace and play in time with your stride, you’d be naturally developing the ability to play to a steady pulse.

So I decided to give it a try. I figured, worst case scenario, at least I’d get some exercise. :wink:

So for the last 2 weeks I’ve been walking and playing 1-3 times a day for 5-10 minutes. (I’ve also been using these to break up long stretches of working at the computer!)

Result: I have been totally blown away by the way walking while playing harmonica is improving my playing!

My first “harmonica walk” I played Hoochie Coochie Man, and my relationship with the riff was totally different by the time I got home from the 6 minute walk. I felt closer to the riff. Like it was more a part of me.

While walking, I occasionally notice I’ll get out of sync, and have to decide, “should I adjust my stride, or adjust my harmonica playing?”

In these moments I realize, it’s working - I’m paying attention to rhythm and time!

The harmonica is one of the few instruments for which practicing while walking is even a possibility. (Imagine a pianist trying to walk and practice.) :joy:

Fast forward 2 weeks, and my enthusiasm has only grown.

“Harmonica Walks” are transforming my playing.

(and also giving me…and my dog…more exercise.)

So if you wanna improve your time, there are actually FOUR ways:

:white_check_mark: Jamming with people who have a great sense of time

:white_check_mark: Playing along with backing tracks

:white_check_mark: Playing along with a metronome

:white_check_mark: TAKING A HARMONICA WALK!

TRY IT, and let make know what YOU think!!! :notes:

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I agree 100%, Luke @Luke ! Playing while walking gives you the opportunity to engage so many parts of your body and their neural feedback that the music & rhythms really can become an integral part of you.

Unfortunately, at the moment this is too difficult for me: I am “on tour” hiking in the Austrian Alps :austria: and it is mostly much to uneven terrain :woman_climbing: to maintain a steady beat! :sweat_smile: – not to mention the huffing & puffing that I must do just to stay on my feet! :triumph::dash:

But at least during breaks I can pull out harp and play some “mountain blues”. :notes:

Regards,
– Slim :sunglasses: :part_alternation_mark:

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Brilliant idea, and a great justification to finally get a dog, right?

I think I need to get over my self consciousness of playing in front of people, especially other Brits who sometimes think you’re nuts if you so much as say “hello” when out and about, let alone playing a harmonica…
(aside from when hiking - seems in urban environments human contact is banned but in thr countryside people happily chat)

@Luke do you think alternatively humming or singing etc whilst walking could help have the same effect with building that sense of rhythm?

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Hello @Slim,
then say hello to the mountains from me and really yodel when you can breathe again.:grin:
In any case, I wish you a good time.

Would be interesting to know how it feels to play the harmonica while walking. You have to tell about it sometime please. I never have one hand free to hold the harp :wink:.

Stay healthy in stable weather!

See you soon! Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:

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Hello @MikeyJay,
i just have to laugh Even here in urban Germany, strangers always look at me like a ghost just because I greet them.

In the meantime, I’m making fun of it because since Corona, thank you and please seem to have been lost.

Yes, it takes effort to play in front of others. I dared to do it in summer in front of an old industrial monument. I played a well-known :hammer_and_pick: song with the harp. First cautiously and then normally. The visitors from foreign cities were very happy and I got applause. It helped me a lot internally.

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I think the council would get complaints because of my bad playing and because my dog would absolutely insist on singing along. BUT if I improve I will try it one day.

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Hi Astrid @AstridHandbikebee63,

I have been thinking about this and perhaps something like the magnetic harp rack from Seydel would permit you to play while hand-biking? What do you think?

Regards,
– Slim :sunglasses:

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Hi @Slim, basically the idea is good! But not feasible directly when cranking. I’m too close to the crank system and could damage my teeth.
Also, I have to be far too concentrated when handbiking or just in a wheelchair. There is too much damage on the road and even on the bike lanes I have to be very careful, because unfortunately you often have to reckon with everything with the e-bikers.
What you may not know, the cranks run parallel opposite each other. It’s easier on your back and you have more strength. This would eliminate the effect of running as far as motor skills are concerned. :woman_shrugging::smiley:

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Nice I think I’ll try it

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THAT was incredibly useful. :laughing:
Thanks,
Robert
London, Canada

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Just a guess Luke but I’ll bet your furry friend loves ‘muddy waters’ :innocent
Robert
London, Canada

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You should wear a decent hat and the next time you go to that place, place your hat on the ground in front of you and watch it fill up with change and the occasional bill or two. In the U.S.A. it’s called busking…

I went to Ireland a few years back and worked and lived over there for a year while working for Intel on a new facility outside of Dublin. Dublin is a GREAT town and the market area has buskers playing all around it.

Ohh, and the Irish can’t be beat on thier whisky either. I used to be a big fan of Jack Daniels, then I went to Dublin and found Jameson… Nectar of the gods…

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Hello @GrumpyGrizzly,
I enjoy your answer :smiley:!
Collecting the money wouldn’t be bad. But in Germany there is an “association” called GEMA. They are very vigilant about charging for such appearances. Similar to a tax office with taxes. :wink:

It helped me a good step against my stage fright. It makes me happy l when other people enjoy it. All without fees. Times are hard enough right now.

Greetings from Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:

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Hi Astrid @AstridHandbikebee63

Does GEMA give you problems even when playing your own compositions? :astonished: That would be terrible! :angry: I thought they only went after you when you played music composed by others …

Regards,
– Slim :sunglasses:

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Hi @Slim,
I don’t think they can say anything about their own songs. But I don’t know (yet). But would it be a public appearance outside?
I don’t need to worry about that yet. Apart from my Whistle Blow Train :steam_locomotive: I don’t have my own yet.

Here in my previous answer it was about the “climber song” of the miners. This is a German folk song from the 16th century. But when I think of the disputes about origin between Saxony and the Ruhr area? :smiley:

In April 2020, the Steigerlied was included in the list of intangible cultural heritage of North Rhine-Westphalia.

You see, no, no. You know the German official mold. Man or woman never knows. :joy:

Beautiful evening! Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:

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@MikeyJay thought of your comment when I read a newsletter I got from Stanford University where my daughter just started attending. Not sure who wrote it, so I apologize for lack of credit but I hope it makes you smile, and you’ll see why it made me think of you:

Despite the advice you may have been given as a child, talking to people you don’t know is the way many of life’s essential connections—jobs, friendships, romance—start. Sarah Stein Greenberg, MBA ’06, executive director of Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school) and author of Creative Acts for Curious People: How to Think, Create, and Lead in Unconventional Ways , includes a chapter in her book to get you started chatting in the checkout line (or at a networking event, or a party). She’s got tips for bursting the shyness bubble. First up: Take a walk and say hello to everyone you pass . Will you seem weird? Maybe, but not for talking.

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Thanks for sharing that @Luke

Really enjoyed reading through the article in the link, and turns out I already engage with a few of the tips - on the rare occasion I’m out to dinner I’ll always try and chat with whoever is serving our table, and find out what they’d recommend.
(Though when on holiday in the USA once I got told off by my wife for allegedly using my English accent to flirt with the waitresss…)

We collectively would benefit from reconnecting with the art of conversation though in any case.
I guess the harmonica makes for a convenient ice breaker too

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:rofl: You caught me off guard and made me laugh out loud with that story. I must say we Americans are easily wooed by a British accent so I can’t blame your wife entirely for her jealousy. :wink:

Keep on sharing kindness :raised_hands:t3:

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