The 5-Minute Miracle

About 10 years ago I learned the magic of 5 minutes. In addition to harmonica, I’ve played guitar all my life, and about 10 yrs ago I realized that I couldn’t play arpeggios well.

In case you don’t know, an arpeggio is just playing the notes in a chord one at a time, instead of playing them simultaneously. I could play scales and chords, but some how I’d neglected to learn arpeggios.

Well somebody had recently told me the about the 5-minute miracle. Practice something for 5 minutes EVERY DAY. Set a timer. DON’T ALLOW yourself to practice any more than 5 minutes. Your frustration will teach your body to get into it even faster, to be more ready to get it the next day. That’s the general philosophy…

So, I tried it, and I was committed. Every morning I did it. I used the timer feature on my smartphone metronome app so the click would stop after 5 minutes. (Confession: sometimes I would re-start it once or twice.)

Part of the idea of this is tricking you into practicing. “IT’S ONLY 5 MINUTES! CERTAINLY I can spare FIVE MEASLY MINUTES!” LOL.

Anyways, starting yesterday, I’m committing myself to practice inhaling and doing the coughing technique in time on draw holes 1-6 in order to try and develop a vibrato for the first time in my life.

We shall see 2 things at the end of June:
1.) Am I able to do succeed at practicing for 5 minutes a day (I have my doubts)
2.) Did it create a miracle?

Either YES: I can play with a rich vibrato now!
Or NO: I STILL can’t fricken do a vibrato! LOL.

Wanna join me? Wanna try out the 5-minute miracle? LMK what you’re gonna commit to. Let’s hold each other accountable!



Keep us posted Luke!

It does sound like ‘get 6 pack abs in 1 month, exercising only 5 minutes a day’. :grimacing: But never say never.


Ha! Well you probably can get a 6 pack exercising 5 minutes a day for a month… if you don’t eat anything for the entire 30 days! :wink:

Part of the idea here is your basically “tricking” yourself into practicing because who can’t spare 5 minutes out of their day? I mean…it’s FIVE FRICKEN MINUTES! LOL.

I’ll keep you posted. I’m 9 days in, and I’ve only missed one day. I’m shooting for 7 days/week, but I’ll consider 6 days/week to still be a success. As of today, I still can’t do a killer vibrato, BUT I have noticed an improvement in my playing.

I’ll check back in 3 weeks and let you know how it went…


I’m new here and to playing harmonica, so aloha!

Part of what you’re doing is called “time blocking” and is defined by blocking out a fairly short amount of time and doing something, and doing it only for that long. (5 minutes, 15 minutes are the most common amounts). This is also sometimes called the “Pomodoro technique” because it was popularized in recent(-ish) years with a tomato-shaped timer used. ("pomodoro’ is Italian for tomato).
It’s a great technique for doing something you’re not keen to do (including things like cleaning :roll_eyes: or getting to things you’ve been procrastinating).
Because you know it’s relatively short and it is 100% OK to stop after that time, you can do it. (Works pretty well with kids and chores, too.)

Great to see/hear it applied to practicing a new technique!

When training dogs, I really learned the importance of (1) stopping before you’re frustrated (the dog or you), and (2) trying to always end on something fun and positive.

Setting a time-limit is a great way to help with (1).
I guess ending with something fun and positive might be to play whatever you’ve most recently accomplished/gained confidence with. For you, Luke, I guess that’d be to end with whatever arpeggio you feel great about. For me, it’d currently be a simple train chugging (v e e e r y . s l o o o w l y :laughing: ) One day it will be a consistent, solid sounding 2-draw.

I know the OP is old, but I’m reading through the forum (learning lots!) and thought I’d chime in.


Hey (Simian, is it?) - welcome to the forum! Wow so cool to hear about this. Thanks for sharing. And yeah I think the dog training principle apply well to practice routines as well!

Looking forward to seeing you around the forum more.

Rock on,


Thanks for an other good tip Luke, I’m starting this as from tomorrow Lol (name)


Keep us posted!

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Thanks for sharing. That must be very effective as my wife uses it on me. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: