Stayn interested????

Howdy & good day,
I have been working on JP Allen’s harmonica teaching pkg for close to a yr now. It has been gr8, informative & really useful. But I have gotn myself into a rut of sorts. Went on vacation & when I came back I have had trouble getn back into the groove of playn again. I enjoy the blues & especially playn blues harp. But I seem to have hit a plateau or neutral spot of sorts. Any thoughts or ideas to help me kick start my passion again would be gr8!


Discouragement. Hitting the wall, as it were! It’s actually a natural/normal process, part and parcel of the harmonica universe we live in!

You’re not alone there either Kemo, so don’t think it’s just you!

And I’m still suggesting to everyone to check out Kenny Werner’s “Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within!” (Get a copy with the CD included, not necessarily the DVD, if you can!)

But besides the above plug, I hit walls and discouragement many times too! Took me awhile to finally get my feet wet into this forum! But also, playing as well!

For harmonica, simply carry it out and about around with you in its box or sock or whatever. In your pocket, your car, wherever.

Don’t try to play it!

Come home, set it down some place you can see it. Don’t try to play it!

Let the damn thing go, but keep it near in eyeshot and reach just the same! Or not!

Maybe a few days, a week, a month, or longer goes by, who knows! Forget about it!

And then, without even thinking about it, you’ll reach over and around, pick it up, open the box or whatever, and…viola! You’re actually…

Well I’ll leave the rest up to you! All in good time, my friend! All in good time!!

The only thing I would do maybe is to try to just get back and force your self into the same routine you had
before you left and went on vaca. Just force yourself back to your harp playing routine see if that
gets you excited about it again.

Otherwise maybe some time away like SPD said would be best.

Harp On!!

And this coming from a man behind bars?! Mwuahahahahahaha!!

And so with that – The ball’s in your court now, Kemo!

Please let us know how it goes for you!


shure is some good advice there, Mr SPD :wink:

Just recently,I’ve sometimes have my down moments when i don’t feel like blowin’ the reeds :-\ :-\

Reading stuff on these forums shure lifts your spirit,tho’ !

Thanks for the kind comments Hotrod!

So am going to let you in on a little secret too. Shh! Come close and don’t tell anybody but: You’re not alone!

Here’s the thing – I was a frustrated harmonica player for over 20 years. I could only play simple tunes like Oh Susannah and When the Saints Go Marching In.

And when I picked up the C harps and such along the way, I’d just play on them until they virtually wore out. I was bending on them without knowing I was bending, and that was supposed to be a good thing. But I still didn’t know.

When they locked up, I tried my hand at fixing them, without knowing what the hell I was doing. Some of it worked, much didn’t. But I kept getting other harmonicas in my travels.

I picked up some instructional books and tapes here and there. But I never could follow along past the simpler America the Beautiful and Shenandoah hand vibrato tunes.

I had no teachers to help me; no real major influences (except the ones I’ve already talked about); nowhere to really go to learn about this little piece of mouth organ!

But why did I want to learn it when it frustrated me so damn much?

My reason, and the reason I hear more often than not is: “I want to learn to play a musical instrument before I die!”

We’re all immortal, right, Hotrod? Well, it’s offered as rhetorical and facetious here. But you get the idea!

Doesn’t matter how old anyone is, they still want to play an instrument. And most everyone everywhere over the course of their lifetime will/does pick up a harmonica because it is the easiest thing to play. It curbs their urge and need to play an instrument.

However though, as Howard Levy, David Harp and others attest to: “Only takes one day to play, and only takes a lifetime to master!”

Everyone who picks up a harmonica and breathes in and out a few times on it thinks it’s great. They’re all excited! Wow! They actually did something!

But once anyone gets past the simple tunes, and comes up with something in their own ‘head’ music – And they can’t seem to progress past that…Well then they discover, hey man, hey woman, there’s more here to this little thing than I ever imagined!

And that’s where the discouragement begins to take hold and settle in.

More often than not, that little ol’ harp will end up in a shoebox under the bed, in a dresser drawer, closet, attic, you name it. All because discouragement/disappointment set in and took hold of them.

And yes, quite frankly, quite brutally honestly: Harmonica isn’t for everybody! No it’s not! That’s life, dude! Simply hard and cold as it is!

But yet on the other hand, as Howard Levy, David Harp and others attest: “The harmonica is a very personal, very intimate instrument! One day it’s your best friend, then another it’s your enemy; then hopefully yet another day it becomes your best friend again, and stays that way!”

Cool beans, eh, Hotrod?! I like to think and know so!

So then if it is for you/me and many hundreds nay if not thousands of others too, here’s the thing –

Unlike years past, many of us of certain age groups didn’t have what we all have today: And that’s the internet!

Through the power of the internet, we, who were frustrated, disgruntled wannabe musicians, found through googling and searches – there’s a whole new world out there! To be explored, to be connected up with.

I call it: The Harmonica Universe! And it’s big, it’s exciting! Who knew any of the things we found actually existed?! Well without the World Wide Web today, mostly none of us!

So yeah, now I and most of us can go online and get tons and tons of information on anything everything harmonica nowadays.

So yeah, I/we became excited all over again. That’s the good news.

The not so good news is: From virtually having no information on our harmonica quest, to virtually having too much information to digest on our harmonica quest – Going from one extreme the other: We once again feel and become discouraged.


Plain and Simple: We’re now overwhelmed, dude!

With so much stuff out there at our fingertips – Well, we still have to pick up our harmonica and play it. But where to begin?!

Well here’s another secret. And again, don’t tell anybody: We all start out as Beginners!

I’m a beginner 20-30-100+ times over already! I now have a ton of books, cds, dvds, not to mention all the forums and website online teaching schools I signed up for – Not to mention all the harmonica sets I purchased to add to my collection and so forth. On and on it goes!

I get discouraged because I really want to learn. I get discouraged as to where I should begin.

I get discouraged on to what I should be studying next. I get discouraged because I’m inundated with bullshit from my own life too!

I get discouraged because I read and hear other people who play much better. (No, never the jealous type at that – But I want to be as good as them too!)

So discouraged was I that I stopped playing the harmonica altogether. I still carried one around when I left the house. I didn’t play it. I didn’t do anything much more than that. I wasn’t good enough to be heard by anybody else.

Hell, I even got to the point I didn’t want to look at anything harmonica anymore. But the harps are stacked up on the bathroom towel shelves; books laying around on the table and floor in the living room; cds piled up near the cd player, on and on - So I couldn’t really get away from them here anywhere if I tried.

And still, I invested in all this stuff! I certainly didn’t want to become a loser at it! Not at this! But yes, I had hit the wall! I was depressed and I was a big loser! Or so I thought!

One night, out of the blue, an Aha-Moment came to me! It just said: “Fuck it!” Yeah, exact words! Meaning, who the hell was I trying to impress with my harmonica anyway? You?! Some other Yous I’d never see or know anything about?!

Yet still many more Yous I would see and know?! I wasn’t out to impress them or anybody. I wanted to play, play for me!

And whose timeline was I on to do any of this anyways? Yours? A whole host of yours everywhere?! No, I was on MY timeline! My own schedule!

So yes, again, fuck it, big time!

From then on, I made peace with myself and said it’s okay if I’m a beginner every day. Because I’m taking this at my pace, nobody else’s. I’m playing for me!

And I’m not a beginner in a few things. So progress is being made in little ways even in spite of myself! Yay!

And if/when I meet others who want to stop by and listen as I stroll along – Cool Beans! I’ll try to play the best I have to offer in my little, but now growing repertoire! Again Yay!

My passions for picking up the harmonica and learning more and more are ignited once again, my friend!

But here’s one secret nobody knows – And I’m sharing it with you now: I’m a writer and editor too! (Both from my military training and self produced works…but neither here nor there for now. Anywho…)

As well I’m a communicator and people-person also! And I was all this before the harmonica once again took hold of me as it has!

So short-hairs of all this is: Late last year, I proposed a JP Allen forum to JP Allen himself. I literally said: “If you build it, they will come!” Well, he liked what I wrote, liked what I had to say, liked what I learned from him and others and wanted to share with everybody –

So earlier this year, he finally said: “Okay, but you’ll have to be in it since it’s your idea!”

I agreed. But yet when he and his crew put it online back in March, I actually froze! It scared the living pissing daylights out of me! This is a big friggin responsibility here! Who am I to talk about harmonicas to anybody?! What do I know? What if people do this…what if people do that…what if, what if, what if?!

In a wicked turn of events too, JP Allen was now emailing me asking how I was doing, if everything was okay, etc. etc. I practically ignored the emails. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was freakin’ scared! What have I done? And all that jazz and more…

This went on with me for a couple of months.

Till one day, another, yes, you guessed it: “Fuck it!” came along and shook me out of my own bullshit, my own head!

I wasn’t going to let JP Allen, a guy I don’t even really know but like nonetheless, a guy who said ‘let’s go for it, joseph!’ down! And/or let myself down as well either! No siree, bub!

My lifelong passions for writing/communicating overtook and pushed me out of the way so it/they could exist! And since August now, here we are! We’re new by comparison to everybody else. But you are coming! {JP’s overjoyed, as am I.}

And I am writing. {Overwhelmed already by all the posts I/we/everybody get(s) to read and respond to. But hey, one post at a time, eh, brother, one post at a time! And it’s fun!}

I’m playing my harmonica too, on my own terms!

And we’re working on ways to keep you returning and just have fun here too! And I like me also!

And I yearn to learn! And I’m so happy/thrilled to meet others out there in here doing the same things!

Bottom line, Hotrod: Discouragement is all part and parcel of the harmonica instrument itself! Yes, hard and true sometimes as it may be – Still, it’s only a portion of it!

And however big and discouragingly/disappointingly overwhelming this may all seem to you…and whatever else is going on with you now as well – and please don’t believe me either because you’ll really have to experience and believe it all yourself –

Just know you’re not alone! It will pass!

And by all means, whenever you come to these conclusions for yourself, on your own terms – however long or short it takes – please share them here with us!

I’m a firm believer in words, my friend. And you can already tell I use lots of them in my posts. It’s okay, because that’s me! A writer/communicator by nature and trade. And I like me too!

If my words can help others, that’s great! But still, if somebody else’s words in whatever manner or form they offer them in can/does connect with and help others out sometime somewhere, that’s even better!

That’s why and what we’re here for!

So Good Luck on your continuing journey through The Harmonica Universe!

Keep us posted!

Keep on smiling!

Keep on harpin’!

Thanks for reading!

Wow A mouthful SPD, very encouraging for me…And man man oh man you do a great job at this.
Getting everyone the Info the links the ENCOURAGEMENT!! everything we need.

Thanks big Time

Harp on!!

Howdy Joseph!

Just popped in here before getting that big email off to Chris, the webmaster about all the upgrades, suggestions, comments everyone’s offered and anticipating.

Um, your post…I don’t know whether to cry because of joy…or say flattery will get you everywhere…or…IDK man IDK!

I humbly just want to say:


Hey SPD, ditto what Joe sez, man :wink:

I picked up my harp last night for the first time in weeks and I just played away like it was yesterday :wink:

big thumbs up from me, yo!

keep on harpin’ kemo…keep on harpin’! 8)

Man o man Street,

I didn’t know what I was in for when I checked this thread today. What a novel…lol

but also a great inspiration. Thanks


NEVER GIVE UP! Repeat this whenever the wall seems to tall. Mix thing up a bit. Never let yourself get boored! :wink: