At a glance

The course is divided into four "years". First year, called "Freshman Year" is for complete beginners, with lessons advancing step by step. The following years are for more experienced players. Whatever your level, you will find a starting point.

You progress at your own pace. The time to complete each Harmonica Academy year will vary from person to person, some taking more others less. The important thing is that you will improve.

If you complete the Harmonica Academy program, you will become a very fine player.

Harmonica Academy is described below. There are 81 lessons, divided into two parts, tunes and blues. Each year has around 20 lessons.

If you just want to play blues, then complete all of the freshman year lessons, then take the blues lessons in the following years. However I recommend all the lessons. The tunes lessons open a new world of music and playing opportunities.

Note: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior are the names for first, second, third and fourth year in US High Schools and Colleges. I went to a US College and so used these names for Harmonica Academy.

Freshman Year

This is the starting point for complete beginners. I assume that you have never played harmonica before, and that you have no previous experience with other instruments. Begin with the 10 tunes lessons, then move to the blues ones. At the end of this year you will be able to play some tunes, as well as simple but effective blues improvisations.

Tunes Blues
1 First Sounds 1 Blues Introduction
2 Single Notes 2 First Riffs
3 More Single Notes 3 First Solos
4 Moving Between Notes 4 The 12 Bar
5 The Middle Holes 5 Developing Tone
6 Harmonica Notation 6 Bending Introduction
7 The Major Scale 7 Blues Phrasing
8 Ode to Joy 8 Strong Notes
9 More Ode to Joy 9 Bending Hole 4
10 Chords 10 More Strong Notes


Sophomore Year

This year finishes the introduction to blues techniques and shows how to play more complex tunes. After this year you will be ready for blues performance and the traditional tune repertoire.

Tunes Blues
1 Learning by Ear 1 Harmonica Keys
2 Practising Jumps 2 Bending Hole 3
3 Planxty Irwin 3 Turnarounds
4 More Planxty Irwin 4 Longer Riffs
5 Holes 7 to 10 5 Bending Notation
6 Whiskey before Breakfast (I) 6 More Bending
7 Whiskey before Breakfast (II) 7 More Turnarounds
8 Whiskey before Breakfast (III) 8 Chord Rhythms
9 The Metronome 9 Chord Bending
10 Harmonica Layout 10 Extra Notes


Junior Year

This year covers advanced blues techniques, used by professional players. You will also learn a traditional tune repertoire. At the end of this year, you will be able to perform comfortably in professional blues and traditional music settings.

Tunes Blues
1 Tunes Endings 1 Blues Rhythms
2 Hans Scale 2 Hand Cupping
3 Arpeggio Chords 3 Vibrato
4 Playing Faster 4 More Chord Rhythms
5 Modes 5 Tongue Blocking
6 Scale Degrees 6 4 Hole Octaves
7 Hole 3 Bend 7 5 Hole Octaves
8 Bending Exercises 8 Blow Bends
9 Thirds Scale 9 Blues Scale
10 Software Metronome 10 Trills


Senior Year

This year introduces first and third position blues, and second and third position tunes. The exercises are difficult, and will challenge even the most experienced players.

Tunes Blues
1 Second Position Scales 1 1st Position Blues (I)
2 Bottom Octave Scales 2 1st Position Blues (II)
3 The Seventh 3 1st Position Blues (III)
4 Second Position Endings 4 3rd Position Blues (I)
5 Hole 1 Hans Scale 5 3rd Position Blues (II)
6 Tune Variations 6 3rd Position Blues (III)
7 3rd Position Tunes 7 Country Chord Changes
8 3rd Position Scales 8 The VI Chord
9 3rd Position Endings 9 The II Chord
10 Irish Sets 10 4th Position