How Harmonica and JP’s Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat Helped to Save My Life

May 25th, 2013
JP Allen

By: JP Allen

Recently, a student of mine, Bill Richman, wrote to me the letter below … just bursting with gratitude and enthusiasm.

He wanted to share how the harmonica has saved his life… and how much joy and healing he has received from the Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat.

Bill’s story made my day so I asked his permission to share it with you.


How Harmonica Saved My Life

By Bill Richman

Thank you for reading my story. I hope it brings some sunshine to your day.

Years ago at age 27, I was diagnosed with severe type-1 diabetes. Over the years I became so ill that I slept many hours a day and could barely work or leave the house. This was very new for me – I had always been extremely healthy. I ran 4 to 5 miles a day and was a Junior Olympic Gold Medalist. I ate healthfully and studied nutrition in college.

Last year, throughout the darkest months of my illness, I had been working with JP Allen’s lessons online, determined to follow a routine that I intuitively knew would help me heal. By this time, the diabetes had made me blind in one eye and had compromised my vision in the other. Still, I trudged out of bed each day, injected my insulin, and then willed my one poor eye to view every single lesson before returning, exhausted, to bed for a nap. I repeated this routine each evening before I retired for the night. Within a few months I gained some of my strength back, and my legs were getting stronger. The doctors could not believe that I was getting healthier! I had just started to be able to walk again when I learned about JP’s Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat. I was intrigued, but also concerned that my ailing body might not be up for the adventure.

Then in September of last year, I returned to the doctor due to extreme health complications and was shocked to learn I had a rare and serious autoimmune disease, which was causing my insulin and other medications not to work anymore. He said that my body would start breaking down and my condition would kill me within a year or two. My blood sugar was so high it wouldn’t register on the glucose monitor. “You should be in a diabetic coma,” he told me. “ I don’t know how you’re standing here in front of me.”

Now, with my life hanging in the balance, I sat down and reevaluated what was really important to me: my loved ones, my thoughts and philosophies, and especially the joy I felt playing my harmonica. Though attending JP’s retreat seemed daunting, I contacted him six weeks prior to ask if his chef could accommodate my special dietary needs. With JP’s assurance, I decided to take the plunge. In hindsight, this was one of the best decisions of my life!

In late February, I arrived in Kauai self-conscious and sickly … but the welcome was warm and immediate. I was asked nothing but to have fun and play the harmonica. The friendship and light of everyone at the event helped stabilize my health … I could feel it returning, with lightning speed! JP’s lessons, his huge heart, and all of the amazing new friends I made at the retreat made a profound difference in my life. I can’t thank them enough.

For me, playing the harmonica is about delving deep into myself in order to be able to give to others, regardless of my present situation or condition. I believe that the message is very simple: being kind and being happy, and of course playing the harmonica are what saved my life. I truly believe that this little instrument has been a very healing thing.

A big “thank you so much” to JP, for all that he gives.

Your Harmonica Friend, Bill Richman
Stroudsberg, Pennsylvania

P.S. I am feeling better each day and looking forward to the Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat in February of 2014!

Be well, enjoy life and play your harp out!

International Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat with JP Allen and Hal Walker

October 9th, 2012
JP Allen

From: JP Allen



This intimate retreat is limited to 12 students.


The dates are:
Check In: Monday, Feb 23, 2015
Check Out: Sunday, March 1st, 2015

If you think you would like to come to the 2015 Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat, I encourage to contact me, and I’ll hold you a spot free of charge…so you have some time to think about it before committing.


In the past this event has sold out very quickly, so I don’t want you to miss out if you really want to come.

Just call 1-800-292-4963 or send me an email to

If you want to check out my Harmonica Home Study Course, click the link below:

World’s Favorite Home Study Harmonica Course


What is a Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat?

1. It’s a musical harmonica vacation that you will remember for the rest of your life… a time for resting, relaxing and basking in the beauty of Hawaii…and playing a whole lot of harmonica!

2. It’s a chance for you to receive one-on-one lessons from me, JP, so you can get “un-stuck” and start really playing with soul and confidence.

3. It’s an opportunity to hang out in Hawaii and have a dang good time with me and other harmonica friends from all over the world. I wake up near the beach in Hawaii and play music every day, and I’d love to share a bit of my life with you.

You’ll return home from this Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat with a minimum of 3 new tricks that will enable you to take your harmonica skills to a new level of enjoyment (and you’ll make a few new harmonica friends, too).


This retreat will be small and intimate

I have chosen to make this retreat very small and special, because I really want to have time to hang out with you as well as focus on your individual dreams for harmonica.

How good at harmonica do I have to be to attend this retreat?

Whether you’re an absolute beginner or an advanced harmonica player, you’re welcome to come. The instruction will be custom designed, based on what you most want to learn.

There will be a nice mix of students (some who have been playing for only a few months in preparation for the retreat, and others who have been playing for years). In the past, many of the advanced students have enjoyed helping the beginners. You will be welcomed to help the other harmonica students if that’s your thing.

Check out some opinions from my past retreat students!



Hal Walker


Hal Walker was my first great harmonica teacher over 25 years ago (and you will receive the culmination of his life’s mission to inspire thousands to play music).

Hal and I will be joining forces to give you the harmonica experience of a lifetime. I will give a private, one-on-one 30-minute lesson to each student every day, and Hal will teach four group classes each day (two beginning/intermediate and two advanced sessions).

Before Hal, I quit music twice. First I flunked the cello, then I quit the piano. I decided music wasn’t for me and considered myself a musical trainwreck. The moment Hal started teaching me harmonica, I went into mind-boggling dimensions I only dreamed were possible.

Hal helped me become a lightning-fast harmonica player. But more than that, he developed my confidence to sing, write songs, and play any instrument I choose. He helped me fall back in love with my favorite thing about being alive…music…and I’m optimistic he’ll change your life too.

If you want to know more about Hal, you can go to:

What am I going to learn?

Again, the lessons will be custom created to match your skill level and focus on what you want to learn. I would love to help you jam with other musicians, play solo-style harmonica, develop your lead harmonica skills, master some of your favorite songs, and develop your ability to play by ear. That said, it’s really up to you. You let me know what you want to do and we’ll do it!

We will focus on popular harmonica styles in the genres of blues, rock, folk, country, and gospel.

How will my days be structured?

Starting in 2014, we reworked the daily lessons schedule to offer students a whole lot more harmonica time. You will receive a 30-minute private lesson from me, JP, each and every day. Hal will be teaching the group classes between the hours of 11:15 AM and 5:45 PM. (He will teach two beginner/intermediate sessions and two advanced sessions every day).

All of Hal’s group classes are open to all students (even if you are a beginner, you can always sit in on the advanced classes to challenge your edge). Similarly, advanced students are welcome to attend the beginning/intermediate classes. (If it would be fun for you to help out the less-experienced students, I’m sure most of them would love your support.)

We will share a wonderful dinner together at 6 PM, and then in the early evening you’ll gather round with Hal for some evening jamming. Because the gorgeous Moloaa Bay is only a 5-minute walk from the retreat center, on some evenings we will head to the beach for sunset and enjoy jamming around a campfire under the stars. (Kauai is famous for its breathtaking evening skies, because the ocean air is so clean. Jupiter will be visible, and you’ll see a gazillion magnificent constellations you may have never seen before!)

I’m super stoked to share with you this incredible island I call my home.

Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat

2015 is our fifth Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat. The others were so much fun I couldn’t resist doing another one. Once again, I’ve chosen to make it small and personal, because I want to get to know you, focus on supporting your harmonica skills, and share a bit of my life with you here in my island paradise.

Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat

Which island?

The retreat will take place close to my home, on the north shore of Kauai.

Kauai is considered by many to be the “most beautiful” Hawaiian island, due to its massive white-sand beaches, canyons, waterfalls, and lush tropical mountains. It’s my personal favorite.

You can find out more about Kauai here:

Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat

Where is the retreat located?

At the Matted Root retreat at Moloaa Bay, on the north shore of Kauai, just 40 minutes from the airport.

Here are some pictures of the accommodations:


The Matted Root is a beautiful, rustic, eco-friendly retreat and event sanctuary located on the island of Kauai. The land is situated just a few minutes’ walk from the gorgeous Moloaa Bay. Moloaa, which translates to “the matted root,” is known for its farming community and rural “off-the-beaten-track” feel. Matted Root buildings have been created to blend seamlessly with nature. They are constructed of reclaimed and recycled antique teak and sandalwood from 150-year-old buildings from Thailand. The structures are all working pieces of art, incorporating mosaics and statues, sacred geometry, and antique artifacts.

Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat

You can chill out, play harmonica, or swim in the ocean. Feel free to hang with the group or head out and have your own personal adventure. Because there are so many incredible sights to see that are in close proximity, you’ll have plenty of time to scoot for an amazing Hawaiian adventure.

For more information about the Matted Root, visit:

Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat

What’s included?

The retreat includes full lodgings at the Matted Root, daily private and group lessons, delicious catered breakfasts and dinners, and time to rest and relax by the ocean or at the retreat center.

You can play as much harmonica as you want, and you’ll also have plenty of time to enjoy the mind-blowing natural wonders of Kauai.

When is it?

CHECK IN: 2 PM on Monday, February 23rd, 2015.

CHECK OUT: 11 AM on Sunday, March 1st, 2015.

Classes will officially begin on Tuesday morning, Feb 24th, 2015.

Classes will officially end on Saturday, February 28th, 2015.

One of the reasons I hold the retreat in late February is because plane fares tend to go down significantly at this time of year.

JP, what will you teach me?

I’ll help you identify your next level and then help you get there, without the sweat and tears most teachers put you through — my teaching style is very laid back, but super effective!

If you’ve got a specific technique you want to get down (like bending, or single notes, or over-blowing, harmonica amplification, etc), or if there’s a song you want to learn and improve, then bring it on!

If you’re excited to learn how to play in a band – or anything else– I’ll help you crack the mystery of how you can become a great harmonica player.

By the time you finish this retreat, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by just how much you’ve improved. You will walk away with a clearly custom-designed training program you can take home to inspire you for months to come.

Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat

Some more details:

This retreat deal includes a yummy breakfast and a spectacular healthy dinner & dessert Tuesday through Saturday, prepared with care by a professional chef using mostly local organic fish and meats, and vegetables from local farmers (pure vegetarian meals happily provided). If you have special food needs and preferences, Chef Danny will do his best to accommodate you upon request.

The Moloaa fruit stand, just four minutes away by car, serves exotic tropical smoothies and great lunches if you desire, or it’s just a 15-minute drive to the bakery, health food store, and fish market. Alternately, you can stock the fridge with your favorite foods and prepare your own meals. You will have access to plenty of refrigeration.

How do I get there?
You will need to arrange your own travel (this isn’t included in the cost of the retreat). I’m happy to offer recommendations. If needed, I will help you arrange a ride from the airport, to help you save money on transportation.

Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat

What happens when I enroll?
Once you have enrolled, my personal assistant Laurie will answer all your logistical questions. You can also send questions directly to me.

Required harmonicas

At the retreat, you will need diatonic harmonicas in the keys of A, C, and D (I recommend any of the following harmonicas: Hohner Special 20, Hohner Crossover, Suzuki Manji, or Seydel 1847). You will also need a harmonic minor harmonica in the key of A (I recommend the Lee Oskar). I can help you acquire appropriate harmonicas if need be.

Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat

This sounds great! How much does it cost?

The retreat, including accommodations, private harmonica lessons, group classes, and superb catered breakfasts and dinners, costs $2,600. (Work trades may be available; please request info at

Can I come if I don’t want to stay at the retreat center?

Yes. You may enjoy the privacy of staying in a nearby location. The sooner you make plans, the easier it will be to find a sweet place at an affordable price. You will still be entitled to receive the full package (all harmonica lessons and meals) if you go this route. To explore this option, you can email me at and I’ll send you a list of cool, romantic spots you can check out. The cost for this option is $2,150.

Can I bring a friend or family member?

Sure … feel free! Everyone will have plenty to do in Kauai. You can set up guided tours … fun at the beach … amazing mountains and water activities (kayaking, surfing, swimming with dolphins). Some of these activities will be free, and others will need to be arranged. If you wish to share your room with a friend or family member who doesn’t want to play harmonica, I’d love to meet them. I will provide your guest with dinners, and they will be welcomed to join our harmonica crew during evening jam sessions (harmonica classes not included). The cost for bringing an additional non-student guest is only $375.

Can I bring a second harmonica player?

If you are willing to share your bedroom with a friend or family member who wants to do the full harmonica training (including private instruction), you can bring this person for an additional $1,825. Please email me to make arrangements.

Refund policy

I want to remind you that because this is such a small and special event, and because we must pay the retreat center in advance, we cannot offer refunds for this event. However, in the event you have to cancel, your enrollment is transferable, provided one of us can find another student to take your place. We will make our very best effort to find someone who can take your place, and you can try to find a replacement as well. If we can find a student to replace you, we’ll be happy to refund your money in full.

Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat

100% satisfaction guarantee

Like all my lesson products, I’m offering my 100% satisfaction guarantee, so you can be confident knowing that you’ll walk away from this event with harmonica skills and memories that will last a lifetime. If, by the end of the retreat, you do not feel this special event has prepared you to take your harmonica to the next level, you can have your money back (minus the cost of room and board). Email if you need more clarity.

If you need time to think about this big adventure, just email me now and I’ll happily hold a spot for you:


Summary of pricing options

$2,600 – basic tuition: Includes lodging, nice shared bathroom, 5 breakfasts, 5 spectacular custom-catered dinners, private harmonica lessons, and group classes.

$2,150 – offsite housing: Includes everything in the basic package except lodging. The Matted Root is comfortable, clean and quiet, but if you’re a light sleeper, you may enjoy the privacy of staying in a separate location. To explore this option, you will need to email me at

$3,100 - rooms with private bathroom: Two upgraded suites are available. If you would like to reserve one, let me know right away at

$1,825 – full package student guest: If you’re willing to share your room, your guest can save $775 and will be entitled to all the harmonica mojo included in the basic package. For this option email me at

$375 – nonstudent guest: You can bring a non-harmonica-playing guest who will share your room (this person will join us for dinners and evening harmonica jams, but harmonica lessons are not included). For this option, email me at

Work trades may be available for a partial scholarship. Email me quick at if you’re interested.

Questions about the retreat?

If you need further details, please email me at
or call me now at 1-800-292-4963
(my personal extension is 5).

Happy Harpin’,

Hawaiian Harmonica Retreat

JP Allen

P.S. For many years I worked as a marriage counselor and a life coach, and I would love to support you to create all your life’s dreams. Happiness in life is understandable, obtainable, and teachable, and I’m excited to share with you how you can use your harmonica studies to stay focused on what makes you thrilled to be alive.

P.P.S. If you can’t make it to beautiful Hawaii this year, I’m sure you’ll love my Harmonica Home Study Course.

Click here to check out my
“World’s Favorite Harmonica Home Study Course”


All You Need Is 4 Notes

October 4th, 2012
Hal Walker

By Hal Walker

Once again this week, I’m exploring the benefits of creating musical boundaries.

Just for fun, I decided that I would try to write a song using just 4 different pitches. Spending my time lately hanging around hole #3, I knew that that’s where this new song needed to happen. I would allow myself only 4 pitches: 3-blow, 3-draw bend, 3-draw and 4-draw. I’d never written a 4-note song before, but I had a great time doing it.

I’ve spent my whole life playing the harmonica, but I’ve always avoided playing melodies on the low end of the harp. I’ve mainly been a rhythm player and I use the low notes for big chords, sweet rhythms and a few bluesy riffs. I never got 3-draw bend to sound pretty enough to use in a melody. Ever since last week’s blog, I’ve been fascinated with 3-draw bend. I’ve been practicing.

When we play in 2nd position (also known as cross harp), 3-blow is our “home base”. In musical terms, it’s called “Do” (pronounced “doe”). When you sing the first three pitches of the song, Three Blind Mice, you are singing “mi, re, do”. The phrase ends on the home note. In order to play “three blind mice” in cross harp, we play 3- draw and then we have to pull 3-draw down a whole step — from “mi” all the way down to “re” — it’s quite a bend. That’s what I’ve been practicing.

So, I wrote a song for you. It’s a bluesy little number called, You Make Me a Lovin’ Man. I imagine it won’t be easy for many of you, but the work you put into it will pay off big time. Have fun and let me know how it goes.

In this video I’m using an “A” key Harmonica. Don’t have an “A”? You can get one (and explore the other great keys!) by choosing this highly recommended 5-set of Special 20’s:

( Article by Hal Walker )

Harmonica Chords and Ryhthm

September 21st, 2012
David Payne

By David Payne

Harmonica players spend years perfecting their soloing chops, but often neglect developing strong rhythm skills. Of course, you don’t often hear people say about harmonica players “man, that cat plays some incredible rhythm!” – although I’ve said that many times about Peter Madcat Ruth.

However, unless you’re fronting your own band, you’re going to be spending most of your time playing rhythm and if you can play a strong rhythm, you will be contributing to the band 100 percent of the time.

In the video below JP shows you a draw/blow pattern that will get you off to a great start on playing rhythm harmonica.

If you want to develop solid rhythm skills, JP’s lessons will get you off to a strong start. CLICK HERE if you’re interested.

If you’re playing bluegrass, versatile rhythm skills will earn you – and your instrument – considerable cred.

When you chord, you are playing three notes at a time and you will need to maximize your lung power. Stand up straight. Don’t try to blow and suck air, just breathe and relax your embouchure as much as possible. You’ll especially want your mouth and throat relaxed to maximize tone.

Start with the 2-3-4 draw chord on a C harmonica. Breathe in as long as you can. That’s a G chord. Once your lungs are filled to capacity breathe out and sound the blow chord. That’s a C chord. Click your tongue against the roof of your mouth to stop the flow of air. With your clicking tongue, establish a beat.

When your lungs fill, breathe out until they are empty. Repeat.

When you play rhythm, the song might stay in that draw chord for some time. So, you will need to learn how to dump air – something I learned from watching 48 chord harmonica players.

Now try playing that G chord again, just like before. However, just before your lungs fill to capacity, drop your lower jaw – and blow out some of your air below the harmonica. Make sure you drop your jaw far enough so that the blow reeds don’t sound. This should be done quietly. You don’t have to empty your lungs completely, just make a little room so you can draw in more air. I breathe out between beats (and so do the 48 chord players), but it took me a few years to master that. You can simply breathe out for one beat every measure.
Here’s where you can find the chords. The corresponding chords in the key of G are in parenthesis. You don’t actually have the V and VI chords on the harmonica, but what you see below will work:

I chord (G): 2-3-4 draw.
I 7th chord (G7): 2-3-4-5 draw.
IV chord (C): 1-2-3 blow (or any three blow notes).
V chord (D): 1-4 draw tongue-block octave.
VI chord (Em): 2-3 blow.

Like I said above, you don’t have a full V or VI chord on the harmonica. However, they are very easy to find… on another harmonica. You don’t have to memorize any more tables to find those chords, either. For the V chord, you’ll need the same harmonica you would use if you were playing straight harp in that key. If you are playing in the key of G, play the 2-3-4 draw on a G harmonica for your V chord. It’s that simple.

When I’m playing in a group, I usually play with two harmonicas in my hands so I can get all the chords I need for rhythm. It might seem cumbersome at first, but it doesn’t take long for switching harmonicas as you change chords to become second nature.

I hold my cross-harp harmonica as I normally would in my left hand between my thumb and index finger and the second harmonica between my index and middle fingers. When it is time to chop the V chord, I simply turn my wrist slightly and the second harmonica is exactly where it needs to be. The I chord and V chord are in the same place (2-3-4 draw) only on different harmonicas.

Please let us know your questions and comments in the box below….

(Article by David Payne)

Todd Parrott Harmonica Player of the Month

September 19th, 2012
Hal Walker

By Evan Curtain

You won’t find too many gospel harmonica players who can REALLY blow the roof off the house…but a few come to mind.

There is, of course, the late great Terry McMillan, and the phenomenal spirit, Buddy Greene, but many harp players may not know of another great: Todd Parrott.

He really knows his way around the harp and that’s why we decided to make him Harmonica Player of the Month here at

When JP asked me to write an article about Todd Parrot, I was over the moon and in a moment you’re going to see why.

Todd brings a bluesy side to gospel, much like Terry and Buddy, and his runs all over the harmonica are spectacular.

Growing up in church, I can tell you it is a rare occurrence to see a great harmonica player with so much soul, but Mr. Parrott sure enough rips it out.

Even Buddy Greene sang accolades to Todd when he said:

“Todd plays with a sensibility and maturity that lets me know he is first and foremost a great musician who never sacrifices musicality for mere technique.”

Here is a great example of that in his version of “I’ll Fly Away”:

Another video of him playing “This Train is Bound for Glory” shows him using two harmonicas to play different chugging rhythms and fast runs, which really are full of great licks, and he definitely fails to sacrifice musicality here. Much like Terry McMillan he is right on it and oh-so-impressive.

I hope you are as impressed by Mr. Parrott as we are and can see why we chose him as Harmonica Player of the Month.

As Daddy always said, when you play music like that it’s like “goin’ to church”. Well, Todd Parrott can take you to church wherever he plays and I hope you have dreams of your own of inspiring people with your harmonica. Everyone has their own unique way of inspiring people with music.

Can you share with me, JP and everyone out there, a story about how you have made someone’s life more wonderful with the harmonica? It could be something really small or really simple but I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.

( Article by Evan Curtain)

Amazing Grace For Harmonica – Blues Style!

August 31st, 2012

Few songs are as special as Amazing Grace on the harmonica. What makes it so special? It could be the message. For some it’s the melody. One thing’s for certain, it is one of the few songs that have crossed the border so easily from religious to secular.

Below is a link to Terry McMillan’s version of Amazing Grace Harmonica. You’ll see how cool it is.

If you’ll notice, he changes harmonicas. I believe he switched to a C# halfway through but if you play along with the first part you’ll get the gist. He plays it a little different from the tab I will give to you below but the important thing is to experiment until you find your version.

Amazing Grace for harmonica is amazingly popular. One of the reasons I believe it has been so popular is that it is so recognizable by everyone.

I, like you, have probably heard it done in as many different ways as there are artists out there.

It doesn’t ever seem to get old, even though it dates back to the 18th century from Britain. For you history buffs who want to read more about it, check out this link to Wikipedia:

What makes Amazing Grace on harmonica so great is that it is fairly easy to play in first position but I feel it sounds awesome in second position.

I’ve played it at funerals, in churches, and even bars with overwhelming acceptance and appreciation regardless of the audience. There is one thing you have to do however: You must play it like you mean it.

I’m going to lay out a tab below that I use to make it sound bluesy like Gospel harmonica player and singer Terry McMillan, who is also the harmonica player on Ain’t Goin’ Down (Till the Sun Comes up) by Garth Brooks.

(Why I prefer it in second position and who influenced my rendition.)

Terry McMillan really tears it apart and rips the soul out of Amazing Grace Harmonica.

Here is my tab…

1d 2b 2dipbend draw 3dipbend draw 3d 3dipbenddraw 3d 3draw bend 2d 2b 1d

1d 2b 2dipbend draw 3dipbend draw 3d 3dipbenddraw 3d 4b 4dipbend draw 5d (warble between 4 and 5d)

3d 4d 5b 4d 3dipbend draw 2d 3d 3draw bend 3b 2b 1d

1d 2b 2d 3dipbend draw 2d 3d 3draw bend 3b

There you have it: amazing Grace in a bluesy way. Hopefully we will put an audio to this soon but, until then, practice each line individually until you master it. It may be a little advanced for the beginner but don’t give up hope and if you have a hard time with the dip bend draws, try playing them straight until you master them.

Have a great time and play it like you mean it!

(Author: Evan Curtain)

P.S. JP and I would love to read your comments so please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Harmonica Notes: Understanding the holes for playing songs

August 21st, 2012

If you play any blow hole on a standard key of “C” 10-hole diatonic harmonica will the pitch be higher or lower?

If you don’t know the answer to this trick question, you may have trouble playing songs forever.

Let’s figure it out together.

First, blow into hole number 1 and follow that by drawing into hole number 1. Which is higher? The draw note is higher. Right? Check for yourself and you’ll see this is correct.

Now blow into hole number two, then draw. Again the draw note is higher.

So from these two examples you might conclude that the draw notes are higher than the blow notes, but, if so, you would only be partly correct.

Now try blowing into 10 and then drawing into 10. Hopefully your ear can tell you this is different. Which note is higher in pitch?

The blow note is the higher pitch than the draw note. Somewhere on the harp, the pattern goes from the draw notes being higher to the blow notes being higher. Where does that happen?

Blow draw into 3, then 4, then 5, then 6, then 7…! The switch happens between holes 6 and 7. From holes 1 through 6 the blow notes are lower than the draw notes. From holes 7 through 10, it reverses. The blow notes are higher than the draw notes.

Because of this, most harmonica players call holes 1 through 6 the low end of the harp and holes 7 through 10 the high end of the harp. Many players get confused when exploring the high notes.

They know something is different, but they cannot put it into words. Because of this, many harmonica players do not continue exploring the high notes (and they feel intimidated to play songs on the higher notes).

Have the courage to explore the high notes and, the more you do it, the easier it will be for you to include all the notes on the harmonica to play the songs you love.

Playing the major scale is a great way to feel the shift.

Play these notes to go up the major scale:
Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do
4 -4 5 -5 6 -6 -7 7
And play the same notes in reverse to go down the major scale.

Practice this a bit and this initially confusing aspect of harmonica will soon become second nature to you.

Keep Blowing!

(Article by: Michael Rubin)

Beatbox Harmonica: Dave Crowe

July 23rd, 2012
JP Allen

By: JP Allen

I ran across this YouTube video from Sweden the other day, while searching for some fun harmonica stuff to share with you.

Dave Crowe is his name. He’s from England and he’s fast. Beatbox, vibrato, trills and a whole lot more…

It’s fun to watch him play because I know how good it feels to really have the groove going in overdrive…

When I’m ripping on the rhythm harmonica for others I just want to keep playing for eternity…I love opening my eyes to find that everyone around seems to be smiling and having a blast too.

So what do you think of the beatboxing harmonica craze? It’s a whole lot different than the harmonica players of the past and I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Please post your comment in the section below.

Happy Harpin’

If you’re interested in learning the techniques necessary to play harmonica musically I’m sure you’ll love my new video series Happy Harpin’.

CLICK HERE to check it out.

(Article by Contributing Writers: JP Allen & Joe Feeney)

Harmonica Duets

July 10th, 2012
JP Allen

By: JP Allen

There is nothing like 2 harmonicas playing together in perfect harmony, WOW! Check out John Sebastian and Annie Raines here. Very impressive! They play so well together, it’s really a lot of fun to watch.

Fun is Contagious! Why not grab your harp and start learning with me.

Here’s another duet. You might recognize Buddy Greene, but really look how he encouraged that 16 year old kid to play along side him. This has got to be a thrill for young Max to play along side the master. They are definitely having a blast, and you can too.

My harmonica lessons are here and they are waiting for you. We can do it together!

Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think about these harmonica duets. If you know of any great youtube videos of harmonica duets please link them below also.

Happy Harpin’

(Article by Contributing Writers: JP Allen & Joe Feeney)

Bonny B!! Harmonica Player of the Month

July 4th, 2012
JP Allen

By: JP Allen

In my never ending quest to find you the best harmonica players on the planet, I bring to You, Mr. Bonny B., Blues Harp Player and more.

He has incredible talent with tremendous precision nailing those single notes. I especially like his grip on the harp, with his vibrato hand making a beautiful seal behind the harp which allows for great tone and hand wah wah’s.

He makes it look too easy.

World Record Holder! Bonny B now has his name in the Guinness Book Of World Records for 24 hours of harmonica playing.

Hats off to you Bonny B.

He’s originally from Phnom Pen, Cambodia, but now making beautiful harp music in Freiburg, Switzerland.

I’d love to hear your comments about Bonny B below!

Happy Harpin’

(Article by Contributing Writers: JP Allen & Joe Feeney)