Harmonica Breathing Technique Made Easy

By JP Allen

Written by JP Allen on . Posted in Blog: Harmonica Articles, Harmonica Lessons

If you want to play the harmonica with a strong and steady rhythm knowing how to breath is key. If you aren’t breathing correctly you will create weak and airy notes and may find yourself getting out of breath.

So, what exactly is the best harmonica breathing technique? Here’s how: Learn how to BREATHE FROM YOUR BELLY (aka Diaphragmatic Breathing or what I like to call “Belly Breathing”). Diaphragmatic breathing will be the key to your speed, control, tone, timing, and your ability to play for extended periods of time without getting dizzy. Do you know how to breathe from your diaphragm? If not, just follow the 6 easy steps below.

No chest breathing please… if you chest breathe, not only will you hyperventilate and get dizzy, your rhythm will also be choppy and stiff.

Here’s the best way I know to learn Belly Breathing that will support your harmonica playing:

Step 1: Lay flat on your back.

Step 2: Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest.

Step 3: Inhale deeply so that the hand on the chest remains still and the hand on the belly moves with each inhale and exhale.

Step 4: As you inhale and exhale, make sure the hand on the chest remains relatively still.

Step 5: As you inhale, the hand on the belly rises up. As you exhale, the hand on the belly falls down. You can imagine you have a balloon in your belly. When you inhale, the balloon fills with air, and when you exhale, the balloon empties.

If you practice this technique regularly then soon enough you’ll find yourself breathing correctly when you play, automatically! When this happens your harmonica playing will move to a whole new level 🙂

JP Allen

JP Allen believes that anyone can learn to play harmonica. Are you a beginner or intermediate who is looking for an especially easy approach to getting good fast? Do you think it would be fun to play blues or some of your favorite songs with minimal practice? Then CLICK HERE for JP's Beginners Harmonica Lessons, the world’s only 100% play-along harmonica video lessons.

Comments (18)

  • Wolfgang

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    This is very interesting and helpful, Thank you

    Reply

    • JP Allen

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      Thanks Wolfgang! I’m glad this harmonica breathing lesson was helpful to you. It’s been incredible helpful to me to. Being able to isolate the diaphragm when breathing is so much easier when laying flat on one’s back… and it’s very relaxing.

      jp allen

      Reply

  • Marciano (Your Peruvian friend)

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    Hello dear JP!

    As always, your comments and lessons are the TOP of the TOP.

    I wonder if this ´belly technique´ is the same that is use by the ´martial arts´ people. My son, who is an Aikido-seven-dam professor has been trying to improve my breathing that way.

    Thanks a lot my friend! – Have a nice Sunday!

    Reply

    • JP Allen

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      Hey Marciano, glad to hear you have a private instructor for belly breathing. My technique is definitely influenced by martial arts and yoga. have fun. jp

      Reply

  • Victor

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    Hello JP!, I just want to thanks, i have started to practice this technique at different times in the day (is very to practice everywhere as long you can stay still for a moment jaja) and i feels that is really helping me out in order to continue learning.
    Great site!! And great Info!
    Thanks!!

    Reply

    • JP Allen

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      I’m happy to hear that your finding all these tips useful and fun. jp

      Reply

  • Bill Garland Sr

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    Tried to buy the program but site would not take my app. Guess ill have to call it in !!!

    Reply

  • Monch

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    I used to “Belly Breathe”, But I had to learn to chest breathe while Mountainbiking! Now I have to learn to breathe “Wrong” again to play my harp! Too funny! Makes sense though. I was getting dizzy trying to do the train chuffs! So now I will have to practice both types of breathing exercises! Thanks for the great info!
    Monch

    Reply

    • JP Allen

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      Sounds like you’ll end up with some very toned lungs in the end. Not a bad thing. jp

      Reply

  • arley

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    i dont know anything about harmonica..but i want learn to play harmonica..what should i do..to start learn how to play this thing’s?

    Reply

  • Elizabeth Ryder

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    Hey, im only 13 and i was given an older harmonica by my father. Im eager to learn to play but im having trouble. I only started yesterday so I know i wont be amazing but im not getting very far i could everything in this video but not fast and im also having trouble doing songs. Do you have any tips for me? if you do please email me! thank you!

    Reply

    • JP Allen

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      Way to go Elizabeth! You sound determined, that’s a great skill, just be patient and easy on yourself and you’ll get there. Start with my free tutorials on my website and you can google my youtube videos. That should get you started. jp

      Reply

  • Wandy

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    Hi jp just wanted
    to ask how can i play any Latin rhythm in the harmonica

    Reply

  • Ena

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    Hi JP

    Your lessons are great fun! Any extra advice on how to get used to playing pieces with repeated draw notes and hardly and blow notes? I find myself very short of breath.

    Have tried your breathing technique and definitely helps, just wondering if I just perservere with that or if there’s any extra tips.

    Thanks 🙂

    Reply

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