What Are You Struggling With?

Thank you I’ll go for it :blush:

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Niiiiiiiice…

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Hey @Luke and also @Slim as I understand you’re a respiratory specialist, plus anyone else knowledgeable on this subject of course.

Resurrecting an old thread but my ‘issue’ didn’t feel like something to create a new thread on though the search feature didn’t show up it being specifically asked previously, so here goes

From recording myself a few times lately, I’ve become aware that there’s rather a lot of breath sound when I’m playing (and now I’m aware of it when playing in general it is kind of annoying)

It seems that no matter what I do (aside from holding my nose) , air is going in and out of my nose when playing.
Interestingly when holding my nose it takes a lot of adjusting to get the 4 draw, and even then it sounds awful.

Via a google search, I found someone with a similar issue elsewhere and the advice was to imagine blowing up a balloon to simulate closing off the nasal cavity. However, in my 34 years on this earth I’ve never actually been able to successfully inflate a balloon…

Now aside from this answering my lifelong confusion as to why I can’t inflate balloons due to apparently having no significant control over separating my nose from my mouth, how to I go about learning how to actively breathe through exclusively just my mouth to improve my harmonica tone?

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Hello @MikeyJay,
Glad you revived the thread. I had somehow overlooked him in the spring.
I also had the problem with the breathing noises when recording with the microphone. But only since I use a good microphone. Previously, the noise from the inexpensive microphone suppressed the sound of breathing.

Breathing is particularly audible when exhaling air. In the song it can be that you have your lungs full because only - tabs appear. I use even the smallest pause to exhale. So that it cannot be heard, I divide it into mouth AND nose. This is a “soft” exhalation and is not audible.
I know that the nose should actually be closed when playing the harp. Well, ultimately everyone has to experiment to find the right way.
If I only breathed through my mouth during the game, my required relaxation would be gone and I would pump for air like a may beetle… :grin:

I hope that you will find the right technique among the many recommendations.

Greetings from Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:

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Hmmm…… playing the harp. Could there be a more pleasant exercise? :thinking: cheers @Slim

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You’re a very funny man @Bobby65 :joy:

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Luckily you have two harps @Bobby65 . Just hope you don’t have to go to hospital I can just imagine them. Of course you did. Don’t be embarrassed. We had a guy come in three hours ago who’d “swallowed” a baritone sax. You crack me up brother :rofl:

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I have a Special 20 that I’m trying to learn on.
I’m having a problem with the 2 draw. I took the single note and C scale lessons and have managed to get pretty good at it; isolating the single notes using lip blocking. For some reason, using the same technique on the 2 draw does not work for me. The +1 -1, and +3 -3, seem to work fine and give me a good tone consistently The +2 sounds good, but when it comes to the -2 it sounds like I’m sucking air… When I do get a tone, it sounds off key and inconsistent with the other notes. I assume it’s me not the harmonica. Any suggestions?

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Hi @Tom_S

My guess (since -1 & -3 sound good) is that it is the harp – and that the gap at the free end of the 2 draw reed is too large. To check that (and to correct it if it is too large) is quite easy and only requires that you remove the cover plates so that you can see and have access to the 2 draw reed.

Regards,
– Slim :sunglasses:

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Hi @Tom_S welcome to the forum. Slim will be bang on the money here. He always seems to be, luckily for us. I hope to catch you in other chats :sunglasses:

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Hi everyone, I am currently taking a blues harmonica and chromatic course. I just signed up for Luke’s beginner to boss. I struggle with improv and timing . The blues class I’m in is very difficult and discouraging because I do not have any musical background . I can copy fairly well but improv and timing is difficult. I cannot count and play . Hoping this course can get me back on track and having fun again. I have always learned a lot from Luke and Jp.

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My experience was identical to yours. I tried several different brand new harps. I have been getting it right mostly just recently after a year. Its about mouth angle,not sucking too hard etc. If you do the beginner to boss course and read the comments under the individual lessons where 2 draw single notes are introduced you’ll see heaps of people struggling with the 2 draw. Keep reading the different solutions offered and practise softly.

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I’m right there with you. Same issue on my Lee Oskar and Marine Band, so it’s me, not the harp

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I know you’re probably still struggling with this. My tip is to relax, breathe how you normally would, lower your jaw, and keep your lips rounded but not too tight. This video of my teacher explaining how to get a better lip pursing embouchre might help as well.

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This may be too basic to mention, but the universal method of timing is tapping your foot. If you watch any movies with bands in them you will notice that virtually everyone in the band is tapping their foot. I cannot even listen to music and keep my foot from tapping…Good Luck and God Bless!

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Or go one step further than foot tapping.

Playing standing up is better for your air flow - and marching on the spot or walking is a great way to be your own metronome. Particularly for 4/4 time. And then you can march to the 12 bar chords - the I, the I, the I, the I, the IV, the IV, the I, the I, the V, the IV the I, the I. Embedding that rhythm through everyday activities makes the timing work better when you play.

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That’s excellent thinking @Maka :sunglasses:

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Hello @Poppo and @Maka,

Poppo is right, on a stage many players tap the beat with one foot.

Of course, because of my disability, I can’t do that and the sound of the metronome confuses me a lot. It would be audible when recording with a microphone, so I didn’t want to get used to it.
First I look for the tempo, i.e. the BPM. Find the beat with a simple drum on the keyboard. I then learn the song on my harp and memorize the rhythm in my head.
If I record the song with the microphone :microphone:, I move my head minimally in rhythm. This can now be combined well with the movements of the harp. All a matter of practice. If one doesn’t work, you have to find plan B, C, D.

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@Maka @bubby.graves
Where there is a will there is a way…The thought occurred to me that you might have a finger available to tap (or flex) slightly. The motion can be very slight, maybe just a slight tightening of the muscle. Anything that will keep the rhythm. Good Luck!

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Hey @Poppo I was just wondering if you are able to play an electric keyboard. I know of your ability with the organ. I just can’t remember which bits of you work properly. Take care brother

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