Learning to play harmonica is great for those looking to get into an instrument that doesn't require an extensive background.
How to play the harmonica
Learning to play the harmonica is a great idea if you're looking to pick up an instrument because it requires very little musical background. While every instrument requires hours of practice, there is much less of a learning curve because each harmonica has a specific key it is supposed to be used for.
What is a good harmonica for a beginner?
Hohner Special 20 in the key of C will always be my recommendation. Special 20's are the "Porsche" of harmonicas according to John Popper of Blues Traveler. Higher quality harmonicas, simply put, are much more easy to play and learn on.
How do I play it?
Without getting into too much detail - every diatonic harmonica has a specific key it should be played in. Playing the blues you play what is called "cross-harp."
Take your harmonica everywhere!
Harmonicas are an acoustic instrument.. No cables or amps are needed! Don't leave home without your wallet, phone, keys or harp! Not only can you practice just about anywhere but you can hop in with street performers, blues performers on stage and everything in between!
Practice in your car!
I learned to bend notes driving on the Eisenhower in Chicago traffic. Remember the backing tracks in the key of G I referenced earlier? Make a CD with 3-4 blues backing tracks and play along!
Learn using YouTube
YouTube is a great resource to learn how to play the harmonica. YouTube not only has great instructional videos but there are also a plethora of videos that you can use as "backing tracks." Backing tracks are essentially what it would sound like if you had a full band playing behind you. If you have a harmonica in the key of C you'll want to practice over a video like this one.
Check out this video of me sitting in with "Falls Creek" in Chicago, IL.
Buy Hohner Special 20 Harmonica from Amazon