Life is busy... Why do you keep in practice?

When I had a long commute, I practiced harmonica a lot on the road.
(Always with one hand on the wheel?? :wink: One knee at least…) :o

I’ve gone through periods when I left it alone for months or years.

Sites like this fire me up! It’s cool to work on some skills and get better!

I’m interested in how others do it… With everything else going on,
How do you make time for harmonica playing?
Why is it a priority for you?

I’m in the same boat as you! Over the years life got in the way at times and sometimes just pure frustration made me put it down, but I never lost the (want to). At 50 I wish I was farther along than just first position but life is what it is and you do what you can and keep trying to improve.
It is like anything else in life, the hardest part is getting off your butt and getting started.

How do you make time for harmonica playing?
Howdy Backup!

Well we chatted some on this here:

But to add to it, I heard from Jon Gindick recently that in order to master this instrument, you should be willing to live it and breath it until you accomplish it!

And so with this in mind, it’s not even a second thought for me now.

Along with JP and now Jon G, in order to progress, even playing 5-15 minutes a day, or even a week, is better than none at all! No truer words, eh?

Why is it a priority for you?
Well along with all of the above --

For me personally, I wish to be a pro and harmonica teacher one day.

Glad you enjoy this forum. There’s plenty around to go through. Many views and assistance from around the world to help everybody become a better and more informed player too!

Welcome Again!


Keep On Harpin’!

Practice? Thats crazy talk!

Yeah, MP!

You know how it is! :wink:

But until our newest members find out otherwise, we have to let them go! :slight_smile:


Keep on jammin’!

For me the reason is pretty basic I love it and I’m motivated to learn it.

I am self employed which gives me the opportunity mayb e someone else doesn’t have.
I can make the time for practice. But Bottom line from the first time I remember being able to
play a tune. It was wow I can do this.
So I just love playing and want to get better everyday.


For SPD:
Did we figure out a fix for the bouncing screen…

Did we figure out a fix for the bouncing screen.....

Don’t really want to know my full thoughts on this matter, my being honest or not! >:( :-X

And so - Sadly enough, alas, no! :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for asking! :wink:

Will keep trying! :slight_smile:

SPD On The Job!

For those of us who aren’t accomplished harpsters, like SPD and MP, we have to practice, and drill, and practice, and drill, then maybe record something for review and critique by our fellow harpsters, then practice somemore, drill somemore, and then maybe, someday, we will be able to sit on the mountaintop and have the novices come to us for wisdom and guidance.

So, what do I do as a relative beginner. I make it a priority to get in regular practice. My piano is my passion. It comes first. I took up harp a year ago for a lung condition. So for me, playing the harp is more than just fun, it is helping me keep what lung capacity I have left from diminishing. So, it is physical therapy.

My daily routine is typically 1 1/2 to 2 hours on the piano and then at least a 1/2 hour or so on the harp everyday. Somedays I am able to a play a little more time on the harp. It depends what I am working on. I am motivated by my passion for the piano and my passion for breathing. My love of making music really helps too. Having gigs helps as well to keep you motivated. One thing I do fairly often go to the local Veterans Home and just sit down at the piano and play. I am getting braver with the harp and pull it out and play a couple of tunes as well. So, if you aren’t playing for people, start.

Where do I find time. Since I still work every day, I have to give up stuff that isn’t important, like TV. That frees up a couple of hours a day all by itself. At my age (60) you realize that time is your most valuable asset. I try to spend it wisely doing the things I enjoy.

I don’t practice. If I did practice I might get good. If I got good I might become prideful. Pride goes before the fall. If I fell with a harp in my mouth I might be impaled and chocked. This I would not enjoy.

:o Getting Biblical here MP…“Pride goes before the fall”. Burying one’s talent leads to being cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of one’s teeth. That you likely wouldn’t enjoy either. :wink:

I think I stick with practicing and risk the pride issue. I am a long, long, way from pride being an issue. ;D

Yes to the reference and your reply is well spoken.

Howdy Edward, Joe and others!

Lovely responses! Truly they are!

Now although I have an idea of where he’s coming from, yet since I can’t speak for MP just myself here:

If I told you I wake up and put a harp in mouth before the first cigarette –

Read and play my harp while taking care of morning ‘bizness’ –

Pick up and play my harp while reading the morning ‘news’ on the forum –

And so many other times during the day –

And when I finally go to bed, I lay back and play some more –

Would I say I was practicing? Or rather I’m continually enforcing older tunes and techniques, while learning newer one everythings always?

I prefer the latter to the former. To me, and as unusual as it may seem, the very word PRACTICE here is anathema to my goals of harp playing.

I recall early writing books that told you how to become a writer. Many said you have to “practice” writing every day. Huh? Practice what? Spelling; penmanship; what? Writing is writing. Practice on a typewriter to know how QWERTY works. But practice writing itself?

Don’t recall where or who, but somebody once said: “Writing is nothing more than the skill full art of editing and more editing!” Or some such thing! Of this I agree! For longer than I care to remember!

Yet too, when becoming a trucker and going to driving school – we students practiced backing up and whatever else we needed to pass the state test on the back lots. But when we took the truck out on the real live roads, it was either do or don’t do! No practice allowed! I agreed there as well, for the past 25+ or so!

Yes, I fully understand the investment and value of practicing. It’s an absolute 1000% ++ must.

Yet it’s also how one approaches the subject and the word itself.

I learned a lot from Kenny Werner and his classic work: Effortless Mastery – Liberating the Master Musician Within!

He discusses how he hated to practice; and how it always was a chore for him. I know of what he spoke. Yet by changing his mindset, accepting what had to be done and doing it cheerfully and happily, it no longer became drudgery that held him back! I know now how to do that too!

If somebody wants actual specifics on how, what, when, where of Practice – Well, here’s this take on it I found way back when:

It’s great to work through if it’s your cup of tea. I agree with and follow most of it; some of it I do not agree with and follow. For me, it’s just too confining. But for those who want or seek that type of confinement, I’m more than happy to support you in that as well.

Yet as I said earlier – as I recently heard from Jon Gindick: If you want to master this instrument, you have to live and breathe it until you do.

Does it mean you won’t get frustrated and toss it aside every so often? You surely will.

Does it mean when you do pick it up after a layoff you won’t be sure what to do or where to go next? Yeppers, that happens too!

Now then as well, not so much for me as far as the word Practice goes, rather I will admit I would much prefer some more STRUCTURE for my playing time.

And so this opens up yet another whole can of worms that I don’t want to even touch at this time!

Instead, I’ll just say that when I was younger I took accordion lessons. And while there was structure and practice involved – When I tried releasing my own creativity towards the music and such, I was hindered and pooh-poohed at most every turn. And so eventually left it and forgotten all about the music I had learned.

I wish I was more wiser and stronger at the time because when I saw what Weird Al Yankovic did with the instrument, and he said his oddball family supported him along the way – Well, I’m glad somebody was able to break the ‘you have to practice it right’ mold!

Oh and not to mention one of my favorite cartoons of all time helps me stay true to me also:

Again, I just speak for myself here. And appreciate everybody’s thoughts and views on any subject/topic in the vastness of harmonica universe! Makes for a wonderful journey, doesn’t it?!


Thanks for reading!

Keep on Practicing, Harpin’, Jammin’ n’Everything!

Peace & SPD Out!

Hey SPD,

That’s a great ambition to have. I can definitely see that in you for sure someday 8)

Thanks for you help in getting me out of my harmonica closet and playing in
front of people…

Harp On!!

Thanks and you’re welcome there, big buddy!

Thing is, Joseph - We’re both fortunate as we’ve both been able to see one another grow day by day, little by little since Day One on the forum here!

Great thing about our progress is how well it carries over into other areas elsewhere, eh?

Keep on Harpin’ Always! glow=red,2,300:)[/glow]

SPD, thanks for sharing. Also, I was just having some fun with MP. I sure hope you and he didn’t take offense. Sometimes I just write what is flowing through my feeble mind.

Also, loved the cartoon. I can really relate to little Owl. I’ve studied the piano for about 11 years. In the middle I had a highly regarded teacher who constantly has her high school students winning the state piano competition and a being awarded full ride piano scholarships. I studied with her for four years, learned alot, but, just like Owl Jolson, yearned to play almost anything but the classical repertoire that I was expected to learn. She set her jaw, and said, no, if you want to play well you have to play the classical rep. The day came when I just couldn’t do it anymore. The sheet music weighed a ton and I just couldn’t lift it up onto the music rack on the piano. So, I quit. Yep…just couldn’t take it anymore. My absense from lessons lasted about five months. I am now with a teacher who is working with me and allows me to move into Jazz, Blues, and improv. I haven’t won first prize like Owl did, but I am having fun again. And the harp, well, that’s just icing on the cake. Started playing it for therapeutic reasons and now play it because it is addictive. The only problem now is serving two masters…one with 88 keys; the other with 10 holes. It is a problem I can live with.

Happy Harping!

For me I enjoy it and it relaxes me so I wake up 30 minutes early so I can practice before work starts.

Edward, you’re a very nice man, sir!

Pleasure to meet your acquaintanceship here!

Am always looking forward and enjoying your posts; few and far between as they are!

Glad too, somebody else liked the Owl Jolson and memories it brings about, for sure!

Am a big Al Jolson fan as well!

And yet, if I may be so bold - Mebelieves, if you haven’t done so already, working with a harmonica holder would do a world of good for you.

I haven’t spoken much about this. But I had an Aha-Eureka moment a while back. I want to ride my bike without one hand holding the harp and one hand steering.

So I invested in a heavy-duty holder. Thing is, it’s been freaky-deaky raining here for almost three weeks straight! So I haven’t been able to test my new ‘playing’ system yet.

However, I do have a new book from Jon Gindick. And believe me or don’t - In a little section, he suggests using a rack just to learn how to do it!

So guess what? Well no guessing! I just walk around the house wearing it! Holder on the neck, Golden Melody firmly set in place! Yee Haw Haw Haw!!

It’s all good! Oh and MP keeps this place rolling too! Hehehehehe!!!


Keep on Harpin’!

Peace & SPD Out!

The best way to find time to play (don’t call it practice) is to ALWAYS have a harmonica with you regardless of where your at or what your doing.


Yup, life is busy. But no matter how busy I am, I always seem to get some time for practice everday. Practicing everyday is very important. If I don’t practice for one day, it takes me two days just to back to my normal level of playing. It’s really weird. :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s a priority for me because I love playing the harmonica. If I don’t feel motivated, I just listen to other harmonica players until I find something interesting to work on. Without challenges, nothing is interesting. :slight_smile: Sticking to a practice schedule can soon become boring. The key is to find something that fascinates you. Yesterday, for example, I found a video by Howard Levy on YouTube in which he teaches how to play counter melodies on a harmonica

. So, I always try to look for new techniques, and now songs to learn.

Very true Ashish practice every day between 1/2 and 1 hour mostly.

Then after that just playing all day for fun. But uninterrupted practice hour is important to me.

Harp On!!