Warmup Exercise

Somebody recently asked me what would be a good warmup to do on the harmonica before getting into learning stuff. I had to think about that one for awhile…

But I’ve come up with an answer, which is practicing the coughing technique tremolo, like I’ve been trying to do for 5 minutes a day for the last month, as I posted about over here.

If you haven’t practiced this technique before, and/or if you aren’t really comfy with single notes, I’d recommend just drawing a chord between holes 1 and 4, and then blowing, all the while doing the coughing technique, in time with a metronome set between 40-60 BPM.

Do a few doing the coughing technique in time on quarter notes (once per click.) Once that’s feel easy go to eighth notes (twice per click.) Once that eventually feels easy, try eight note triplets (three per click.) And then finally, after some period of weeks or months, try sixteenth notes (4 per click.)

Once you can isolate notes, then I recommend doing this on each hole -1 through -4, one at a time. Like this:

1.) Exhale all your air out of your lungs
2.) Draw a slow continuous stream of air through -1 while doing the coughing technique on quarter notes until your lungs reach capacity
3.) Exhale all your air and do the same thing on -2.
4.) Repeat this again on hole -3. Then -4, and then going one at a time in the same fashion -3, -2, -1.
5.) Repeat this whole process on eight notes (twice per click)
6.) If comfy repeat on eighth note triplets.

That’s a slightly simplified of the way I’m doing mine, because while I’m doing mine I’m also slowly moving my tongue into the Kk zone to see if I can get it to switch from tremolo (change in volume) to vibrato (change in pitch.)

I’m sharing this warmup because doing it has massively improved my tone and confidence on the instrument over the last month since I started doing it.

Hope that helps! LMK if questions…



This was my question, and Luke was really quick to reply. I’m new to the program, but I’ve been really impressed at his care and attention to give personal replies to questions and feedback. As for this warmup, I love it as a suggestion. It has something for everybody, and it builds skills WHILE warming up. Thank you, Luke!

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Thanks for the kind words @jcbnxll. Welcome to the forum, good to see you here.

As I was just re-reading my initial post, it seems like it could be confusing to somebody who’s not familiar with “the coughing technique.”

If it would be better, I could do a video example of this warmup. LMK.


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A video would be great look! Thank you!
On the last module of B to B. Have learned so much. What do you suggest for proceeding after I finish the course so I can continue to make progress??? Thank you Luke!