This Swedish hymn is the perfect place to start. Begin by just humming along with the melody. Then learn the blows and draws of the song with big solid chords. When that’s mastered, figure out the single notes — write down the harmonica hole numbers. (I like to circle the numbers that are draw and leave the blows un-circled) And then finally, memorize the song. Put it in your heart where it can stay for a lifetime.

I had a fairly undisciplined harmonica upbringing. Early on, I discovered a few good rhythms and a few good riffs. For the next 25 years, I played those riffs at least a million times. With those same old rhythms, I could get up in front of a large audience, make up a cool jam off the top of my head and get quite a nice response.

Early on, I discovered that I was good at winging it and I really didn’t even have to practice. I was the best harmonica player in my town and that seemed good enough.

Then more recently, I started meeting people like Filip Jers — a young guy from Sweden that has spent hours, weeks and years in that practice room. He has learned the songs, mastered the changes, developed the technique and now he becomes the instrument. Sitting next to Filip, listening to him play the Swedish hymn, The Flowering Season that Now Arrives inspired me. It’s time to start practicing. Learning songs is a great way to become a better harmonica player.


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