It’s okay to make mistakes after all that is the only way to learn anything new. That being said, sometimes it is better to have a heads up about what to avoid. Lord knows if I only had a couple of nudges at what I was doing wrong, it would not take me as much time to figure out how to play harmonicas (well, that and procrastination). While there are a lot (and I mean a LOT) of mistakes you can make when you are just starting out, some of the major ones I have listed here might (or might not) help you ease your way into playing and make your experience better. Hope it helps!

  • How Do You Hold Your Harmonica?

I cannot underestimate the importance of how you hold your harmonica. Just like with any other instrument you need to feel comfortable with harmonica. While some people have specific ways they prefer to hold and play their harps, as a beginner you have to cup it properly to achieve sound and resonance. Another big problem that beginners have is holding the harmonica with one hand. While you might assume that this small instrument does not need a lot of effort and you can just use one hand to play it, that could not be further from the truth. To achieve the best sound and right notes you need to use both hands to cup and move the instrument.

  • Trying Too Damn Hard

While the first mistakes included the player not using both hands and you know… maybe undergoing they’re paying the second mistake is overdoing it. Overdoing with harmonicas is just as bad as undersowing. I mean sure it is great to be into something as much as you are into playing your harmonica but there is a difference between putting an effort and just overdoing it. While you might be tempted to look like your harmonica is your long lost lover and you’re making sweet love to it, it does not really do the job. With harmonicas doing less is sometimes doing more.

  • Not Getting A Harmonicas Case

Most harmonicas nowadays come with neat, sturdy cases to hold your cherished instrument there are a lot of exceptions. If your model is one of those exceptions do not think that it is sturdy enough to take a couple of hits. No matter how inexpensive your instrument was you should get a case to avoid scratched or full on breakage. And, of course, most cases don’t really cost that much so it should not be a big deal.

  • Don’t move your head, move the hand.

You know that old saying “If Mohammad does not go to the mountain, the mountain is going to come to Mohammed”? Yeah? Well, your head is not the mountain that should be moving. You need to move your hands and not your head because of two major reasons. The first one being that through that method you will be able to control the sound better and have better technique and the second – might be a bit obvious – is that your neck will be a bit too strained if you have to constantly move it around.

  • Getting A Cheap Harmonica (DUH)

It is quite tempting to get one of those $5 harmonicas that also come with a cleaning cloth and a case and ten million other things that make you think “does this harmonica on its own cost like 10 cents?” As alluring as low cost and accessories might be if you are more or less serious about learning to play you should try to invest in a quality instrument. And I don’t mean empty your account and pay a couple of hundreds. I mean get something around $20-50. Most (not all) of those models have nice quality and last long. Most importantly they won’t make your experience so unbearable and short-lived that you just give up in a week. If you have not chosen your model yet we have quite a nice overview of the best harmonicas and full reviews for most of them.


Sure, this is not a definitive and all-encompassing list of all the issues you need to take into account if you are a beginner. There are just too many things you need to keep in mind to list all of them. While having a quality harmonica is great and having right techniques is vital, nothing really trumps devotion. So whether you have made all of this mistakes before or might make them in the future, as long as you persevere you’re going to get better at playing the harmonica. I mean if someone like me, a person who barely learns from mistakes, could figure things out, you won’t have an issue developing insane skills.


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