One Year – What a Journey!

I just passed my first anniversary as a student of the harmonica. I’m not sure of the exact date in September 2021 when I got my Hohner Blues Band in the mail, but it was between the 10th and the 15th. I’ve played every single day since then – sometimes a lot, sometimes just a little, but always something. I can’t imagine going a day without it! I’m completely obsessed.

I signed up for the Beginner to Boss course just a few days after I got the Blues Band and it was perfect for me. The format in which Luke presents the material was easy for me to understand. I didn’t progress through it like he said to, though – I couldn’t make myself go quickly through the lessons just to get the basic grasp of them. Just due to my nature, I had to continue pounding on them until I got to a level that was satisfactory to me. I initially signed on for the 3-month plan, but it took me 9 months to complete the course. There were times when I spent 3 weeks on a single lesson.

One thing that slowed my progress in the course a bit was ducking out for a while to learn tongue-blocking on David Barrett’s site. I got a free month on there when I bought a 5-piece set of Special 20s just before Christmas. I was having trouble getting clear single notes with lip-blocking and I didn’t want to skip ahead in Beginner to Boss, and Barrett’s instruction did the trick for me.

I got into this just hoping to gain the ability to play a few campfire songs and maybe a Christmas tune or two. Thanks to Beginner to Boss, I’m at least 10 times better right now than I ever thought I could be. I’ve played in several blues jams and I’ve been on stage three times with a local blues band without embarrassing myself. One kind lady even gave me a $5 tip which I’ll never spend – I’m going to get that bill framed.

I went to a 4-day Jon Gindick mini-camp in June and he emphasized several times that my tone is very good, so that’s encouraging. I also have some major weaknesses, particularly my ear. I have a very hard time recreating riffs that I hear – right now I need a Luke-style lesson to really learn anything new. I’ll just have to keep working at that.

It hasn’t been an easy 12 months. My divorce became final, one of my brothers and my sister both had major health scares that are ongoing, I’ve had the usual trials involved with being the parent of a teenage daughter and one of my hunting dogs got bitten by a damn rattlesnake. But a lot of the stress relief that I used to seek at the bottom of a glass of straight bourbon on the rocks I now find by blowing my harps. I’ve also made a lot of new friends in the local blues community.

I owe a big debt of gratitude to Luke – the $200 or whatever it was that I spent for Beginner to Boss is one of the greatest bargains I’ve ever come across. Also, thanks to everyone here in the community – I’ve learned a great deal from you as well.

Year 2 is off to a great start!


Hey there @DitchParrot

That quote is probably the most important thing that you have achieved with your lessons and obsession with the blues harp ! :point_left: This is really fantastic !! I just wish that some of my best friends had made that same discovery before they drank themselves to much too early deaths … :cry:

But enough of the sad stuff ! Congratulations, Ditch !! I hope that your progress, enjoyment and obsession continue unbroken ! :pray: :clap: :muscle:

– Slim :sunglasses:


Hello @DitchParrot,
nice to read your words! We can toast with our harps or rather, something :metal::notes:. We both started school in September 2021. We managed similar difficult times in the family thanks to our harps. Congratulations and to our :two:. Year!

Greetings from Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:


Much obliged, Slim! I’ve gained lots of knowledge from your highly educated posts on here.


Thank you, Astrid. I’ve discovered that your name means “divinely beautiful.” I’m certain that fits you to a tee. Your positive encouragement on here is a real treat!


You figured that out correctly @DitchParrot. When I found out what my name means, it was great fun, until today. From the outside, probably not… :grin: Who knows! But your words make me very happy! I thank YOU!
Many of you here are doing the same for me! A good win, especially in difficult times.
Learning and playing the harp is the icing on the cake.

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