JP Allen at harmonica.com invited me to create a short video to teach the holiday favorite, Jingle Bells. Being the guy that I am, I turned that short video into a 5-part instructional series called “The Five Steps to Jingle Bells.” This free (Youtube) series very simply lays out the Hal Walker method of learning a song. In this blog, we release the first 3 steps.
For the last 20 years, I’ve been developing a unique system of harmonica instruction. Unfortunately, I have not had a large enough quantity of “method testers” to confirm whether or not it actually works. Is it just a cool theory or is it a highly effective system for learning to play? That’s what I want to know.
I’ve had thousands of short-term students in elementary schools around Ohio. But to be honest, most kids are not willing to follow through completely with the five steps of learning a song. Would you be willing to give it a try? I’d love your feedback.
This system is based upon my belief that learning to play the harmonica begins with learning to make music with the breath — gaining musical control of that huge dome of a muscle called the thoracic diaphragm.
We begin by playing a wide sound with big chords — pushing and pulling the blows and the draws. After we have experienced the power and the grace of the diaphragm, only then do we begin to think about single notes and “embouchure” (mouth position).
For more help with steps 2 and 3, see my harmonica tab system below.
These are the 5 steps to Jingle Bells
- Step 1: Sing the Song
- Step 2: Sing the Blow-D-Blows
- Step 3: Play the Blow-D-Blows
- Step 4: Play the Messy Octaves Click Here!
- Step 5: Play the Single Notes. Click Here!
At this point, some of this will sound like gibberish. Well, that’s why I’m here. That’s why I’ve created 5 free videos to walk you through my system of learning any song. I hope you’ll follow the simple instructions and give it a try. Please let me know whether or not it actually works for you.
Whether you’re a beginner, an intermediate or an advanced player, follow along from the beginning and give my theory a real test. I appreciate it. Jump in now.
Steps 4 and 5 can be found right here.
Good Luck and Thank You! Hal Walker
P.S. To check out my full harmonica method for beginners and learn some great harmonica song click here: Music That Fits in Your Pocket