Harmonica for Beginners

The harmonica has been described as “an orchestra in your pocket” and for good reasons. It is a small, expressive instrument which is capable of a wide variety of tone colours and it is adaptable to almost any style of music. We focus on the standard 10 hole diatonic harmonica, commonly used in Folk, Blues and Rock styles of playing. Learn to pick out some familiar melodies to play lonesome tunes by the campfire, blast away in the folk style of Bob Dylan and express yourself in the wailing “Blues Harp” genre that originated in the Mississippi Delta. For the first meeting please bring along a 10 hole diatonic harmonica in the key of C.

This class will be delivered face-to-face at WEA Sydney. Enrolling students need to ensure they have read the current COVID-19 Safety Guidance that WEA Sydney has put in place before enrolling.


  • Intro to types of harmonicas and harmonica styles e.g. diatonic and chromatic as well as folk, rock and blues techniques. Brands, quality and price. Brief history. Basics of playing. Chord of ‘C’ (blow) ‘G7’ (draw). Holding techniques.
  • Single notes and some ‘Old Time’ tunes: “There's No Place like Home” & “Camptown Races” etc. Playing the scale of C major.
  • Contempory Folk and Country playing, in the style of Bob Dylan and Neil Young. The harmonica holder.
  • Blues Harp playing. The ‘Cross Harp’ concept. Riffs, the '12 bar blues pattern'
  • Effects: Note bending, tremolo, vibrato, glissando and wah-wah. Improvisation, ‘comping’ and fills.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Describe the origins and evolution of the 10 hole diatonic harmonica.
  2. Identify the structure of the diatonic harmonica in order to produce chords, scales and single notes.
  3. Perform a variety of easy songs in a range of styles from traditional to popular.
  4. Identify and produce a range of expressive techniques.
  5. Entertain yourself and others performing solo or as part of an ensemble and know how to build upon the foundation of your introduction to the harmonica.

This course has no current classes. Please join the waiting list by clicking .