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David's Tip of the Day: Singing is Playing

David Barrett Admin's picture

Howard Levy and I were having a discussion a while back about teaching and the challenges students deal with. He recounted a story of a specific student that couldn't play a song... his rhythm was off and he would commonly be on the wrong hole of the harmonica and not recognize it. He asked the student to put down the harmonica and sing it, and the student couldn't sing it.

Howard worked with his student until he could sing the melody and then when picking up the harmonica he found that he could play it. This is a common technique in the music world, called “Personalizing the Melody” and is an internal part of learning music (and why music majors are required to take singing classes). The next time you learn a song, make a point to learn to sing it first. This will dial in your rhythm and melody before even picking up the harmonica.

Go to Blues Harmonica Fundamentals ( and watch the videos in the "Practice Habits" section, I speak of how to apply this practice tool and others in those videos.

Have a great weekend everybody!