(Disclaimer - all plans are made in good faith. Sometimes there are broadband fails or a guest needs to pull out without notice so please know that everything is subject to fate - carefully planned but can not be guaranteed)
Sunday May 17th 2020
4pm UK time Beginners Blues Workshop
4:30 Intermediates Blues Workshop
5pm Beata Kossowska - Suzuki Artist, Harmonica Player, Singer, Composer
5.30 Steve Baker - Hohner Artist "Steve Baker is an innovator!" – Lee Oskar
SCROLL RIGHT DOWN FOR LATEST REVIEWS. Please note all Zoom workshops are filmed and short snippets are sometimes used to promote future events. If you don't want to be filmed just use an anonymous profile photo. You can still join in with talking and playing.
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4pm The workshop is all about the blues - basic 12 bar blues structure
430pm - further extensions into the blues
5pm SIMON JOY
5.30pm GILES ROBSON - http://www.gilesrobson.com/
6pm PAUL LAMB - HTTP://WWW.PAULLAMB.COM
WORKSHOPS Sunday may 3rd
The workshops are on 'getting single notes' - 5 ways to get single notes, what you can do with them, scales, easy melodies, groovy exercises for speed playing, modes/positions if there's time - loads of good stuff.
5pm Jonny Cope - harmonics you never knew existedhttps://www.soundforhealth.com/?cmp_id=988670832&adg_id=79169977387&kwd=&device=c
5.30 Jon Vaughan and we might get his wife Yuki as well if we are lucky!
6pm Rohan Singhalhttp://rohanharmonica.com/
Sunday April 25th 4pm UK time
The workshop is on Chugging – it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing, this is fun and easy and great for your rhythm and breathing
(based on my first ever book 20 years ago!)
Meet the Inventors
5pm John Cook and the Great British Harmonica Co.
5.30 Roly Platt and his HarpWah
6pm Inventor extraordinaire Brendan Power
Feel free to share this but only with people interested in the harmonica.
LAST WEEK April 13th
Breaking news - Joe will give all attendees his 'Skip To My Lou study song' which is a primer for DeFord Bailey and Sonny Terry!
Joe's lucky contest winner will get the 'Chasin' Lost Sonny' study!! This shows you how to approach Sonny Terry's Lost John and associated techniques.
The winner was Stuart M!
- a lesson from Sonny Terry himself from beyond the grave
- to talk to the front man in the Original Blues Brothers Band
- to learn from Maestro Joe Filisko - Sonny's finest soundalike
- two workshops on Sonny Terry from me!
Sunday April 19th 2020 at 3pm - 6.30pm UK time
3pm UK time: Beginners workshop 'AN INTRO TO SONNY TERRY'
4pm UK time: Improvers workshop 'A DEEPER DIVE INTO SONNY TERRY'
Meet the Masters
Sunday April 19th 2020 Meet the Masters and live workshops
6pm Joe Filisko
Master craftsman, teacher, and performer - https://youtu.be/MQKnJxo84Uk
Gentleman Joe is the nicest guy you will meet. He’s the harp player’s harp player. He has analysed, studied, taught and played Sonny Terry style more that anyone on the planet.
5.30 pm Rob Paparozzi
Front man, harp player and co-singer for the Original Blues Brothers Band for 20 years. Rob has opened several times for Bruce Springsteen. He has toured with Dolly Parton, George Jones, and has contributed to works by Whitney Houston, Judy Collins, Cyndi Lauper and Bobby McFerrin, among others. and is the singer for the reformed Blood Sweat and Tears.
Here’s Rob and Dolly
Oh and with George Jones here
5pm Jerry Fierro
He’s also a teacher - https://jerryfierro8.wixsite.com/mysite
Jerry played harp and been in blues and rock bands most of his life. He took lessons with Sonny Terry and recorded the lessons. Those recordings have been cleaned up oand you are going to hear some excerpts on the show.
2019 SPAH Pete Pedersen award nominee, Jerry Fierro is bringing harmonica to the forefront of the Florida blues scene by bringing what he has learned from Sonny Terry and other greats to the studio and stage.
April 12th 2020
*Lars Seifert MD of Seydel.de will be giving away a Seydel Summer Session Steel worth €49 to the first person who types the answer in the Zoom chat box - what is the question? wait and see!
The winner was MaryBeth H!
3pm UK time: Beginners workshop 'FOX CHASE and RAINCROW BILL'
4pm UK time: Improvers workshop 'FOX CHASE and RAINCROW BILL'
Raincrow Bill (Henry Whitter) and Fox Chase (Deford Bailey) are wonderful rhythmic chugging pieces steeped in history, fun to learn, and very useful to be able to do. If you are a pure beginner you will definitely be able to learn the basics at this workshop. Improvers will get a good challenging workout!
5pm UK time BEN'S HARMONICA SHOWCASE - talk to the harmonica stars; get some questions ready to ask them:Richard Taylor - 'The Good Doctor' and his award winning Harp Surgery http://www.harpsurgery.com/
Will 'Harmonica' Wilde - the Blues/Rock Legend https://www.willharmonicawilde.com/
Will has his own rock tuned harmonica made exclusively by Seydel
Lars Seifert - boss of the world's oldest harmonica company est.1847 https://www.seydel1847.de/
Ask him how you make a harmonica!
Come and mingle with the stars!
Previous workshops include:
April 5th 2020
TRAINSOUNDS FOR HARMONICA - How to supercharge your HARMONICA skills! Learn rhythm, chugging, breathing, speed, excitement, dynamics, music, ear training, chords, whistles, steam, and power...
7.30 This week we feature the lovely Ed Hopwood from https://www.theharmonicabarge.com/ talking, teaching and playing old timey harmonica, folk and blues. You will love his style of playing and intrigued to know he will be joining us from his narrow boat - the harmonica barge!
8.00 The UK's wonderful Keith Parker is guesting with us playing some blues, taking questions, talking about stagecraft, stage presence, band etiquette, jam sessions and how to cope with the stress. https://www.seydel1847.de/epages/Seydel1847.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/Seydel/Categories/Artists/Alle_Kuenstler/Keith_Parker1
8.30 Filip Jers will join us. He is an internationally known harmonica player and composer from Stockholm, Sweden. At the age of 29 he has performed in almost 30 countries; Europe, Asia, Africa and North America http://www.filipjers.com/. He is a multi instrumentalist specialising in diatonic and chromatic harmonica. Filip is rapidly becoming one of the finest jazz and blues players on the professional circuit. Filip Jers has won two golds at World Harmonica Festival 2005 in Trossingen, Germany. He has been given numerous awards through the years most recently his jazz quartet was selected as "Best Group" at the European Jazz Competition in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Sunday 29th March 2020
6 Points about tone and beginning Trainsounds
Feedback from recent events:
Hi Ben, As always I think the workshop was absolutely fantastic. You get the greatest guests. These were all exceptional people and really interesting. I loved the history presented by John and I will probably be making use of his services for sure because, according to Dad, he has a couple of bad reeds in his harmonica. Paul was fascinating .. a very talented man. Brendan was so awesome, a fantastic talent and I loved his enthusiasm and willingness to share his time so freely. I will definitely be buying his CD. I am going to try and get my father-in-law set up. He has a chromatic and he used to love playing but his wife hated it so he stopped playing for many years. She passed away a couple of years ago and we have convinced him to pick it up again. I think he would absolutely love it. At least I am really hoping so, it would be so good for him. See you on Sunday 👍😊Cheers, Z
Hey Ben, Thanks again for setting up these Sunday sessions. They've been brilliant! I was floored listening to Brendan yesterday, completely lost on a lot of what he was talking about but something to shoot for. Also, thank you for sending the PayPal link. The last time I went to the play harmonica page to register/donate for the class the page says I've already enrolled. Looking forward to Sunday! J
Hi Ben, Thanks for that, good to know the recordings will be available for folks who couldn’t make it on the day. I love the informality of it, makes it feel very friendly and welcoming. If you are still looking for name suggestions, how about Ben’s Sunday HarpFest? Or, Ben’s Sunday HarpTogether? All the best, F x
Hi Ben, Brilliantly organised! Great idea, combining some workshop playing with top class guest experts. The highlight for me was Brendan Power. He had so much fascinating stuff to tell us, and play for us, that you must get him back as soon as you can. I also love his New Irish music cd. I’m sure he could talk for several sessions on his music, his special harmonicas, playing in Riverdance etc etc.and we would all be enchanted. One request from me: please could we do a workshop which has a tune, say something based on a twelve bar blues? D
Hi Ben, It was an absolute privilege to be involved with your Harmonica Workshop on Sunday. Really enjoyed hearing Brendan Power in particular, I have a Lucky 13 great harp. This is a brilliant workshop there is no where on the internet you can get this quality of teaching and experience on a contribution basis. I would highly recommended this to anyone interested in playing harmonica. I appreciate all the hard work you put into this each week and I would very much like to continue to attend if permitted. Looking forward to hearing a book next week.Kind regards C
Hi Ben, thank you so much for having these workshops and special guests. It was really amazing to me to be able to hear such a grouping of world renowned experts in one place (virtually) and time. Although I am a beginner, I picked up a great deal about the instrument and people who love it and the music. It was also really fun to see the group of people from all around the world who came to the workshop. What a great service you are providing by having these! Thank you so much. D
Hi Ben! This Sunday was awesome! I always enjoy Sunday clubs. Meeting and listening to people, whom I would possibly never meet, or get the opportunity to listen to them and their stories. You started something realy special and unique in these challenging times. Thank you for it :) Best regards, A
Thanks again Ben! Another great session, almost too much information to take in. Looking forward to next Sunday! J
Hola Ben, Outstanding, and more, beginning with yourself and continuing to include three wonderful guests. I will be brief here, I hope. Your presentation on the five-plus Sonny Terry licks was so good and you were able to draw others in to take part; admirable.
I so appreciated Jerry Fierro's sharing of his Sonny Terry personal lessons, what a treasure.
Rob P is quite a showman, really enjoyed his singing and playing as well as his welcome ability to engage with his audience.
And Joe Filisko, wow. He gave us a lesson that he sells for $5, but what he has in that lesson is invaluable. I had heard his name before, of course, but didn’t take notice until I met him yesterday in your class. I went on his website and spent some time looking at what he offers there. His methods are unique and it is obvious that he is more interested in teaching harmonica than in making money. Thank you, Ben, for having him on as a guest, for introducing many of us to him for the first time.
None of this is meant to be critical, this reflects my ideas for improvement. First of all, you deserve so much credit for having this idea, this vision; and then for having the wherewithal to follow through and bring it to fruition. Wow, it’s a ton of work and you did it, congratulations; yay Ben!!!!!
My feedback can be summed up in three words: less is more.
I joined the class as near the beginning as I could and stayed through to the end of Joe Filisko’s talk. To say I enjoyed the entire thing is an understatement. However, I was definitely on overload; it went on far too long for me. Aim for two hours, this is about the limit for many of us.The bit you did on the five-plus Sonny Terry licks was perfect and you could have stopped there. I found my attention lagging during your 2nd presentation; I was ready to go on to your first guest.
Having more than one guest may not be such a good idea, although I do appreciate that you had all three yesterday and I got to meet each of them. But each one could have stood on his own, and it would have been a different experience for all had each one had the stage to himself. And there again it could have been much shorter by having a single guest, shorter is better for me.
The last thing I want to mention has to do with the English language. It has been brought to my attention over the years that English-speakers talk too fast and have a tendency slur over their words at times. For other English-speakers this is not always a problem. But for some others, such as many in your audience, English is a 2nd language. And then there are people like me, 82 years old, the words go by me way too fast; I need everything to slow way down. It’s difficult for us to change our spots, init? But maybe take a tighter grip on the reins and consciously slow down now and then.
I am sure you will take all this in the spirit in which it is offered, and I am so looking in anticipation to next Sunday. Consider shortening everything so that you are not exhausted at the end, eh? I aimed to be brief, but …HH
Hello Ben, I thought it was wonderful, the guests not only gave us skills to work on but they gave us a chance to actually get to know them and feel a part of their lives! GREAT players all of them and You too! LOL. HL
Absolutely brilliant Ben! Missed the start but saw some of Rob and all of Joe. Looking forward to the next one. What's your PayPal so that I can donate to the cause.
Hi Ben Yesterday's session was amazing! First half of the teaching session suited me perfectly, second half was probably a bit advanced and fast for me but that's OK there were much more advanced players on the call and you have to cater to everyone. The guests were fantastic! Those recordings of Sonny Terry lessons from Jerry Fierro were absolute GOLD! Rob Paparozzi was so entertaining and it was great to hear the experiences of a working pro. Joe Filisko of course is an absolute master and some of what he said went over my head but it was still fascinating to hear. Can't wait for next week - starting my practise journal today! Cheers - Barry
Hi Ben, Well done!!! It was really well organised, informative and most enjoyable. So many lovely people to interact with. The mix of practical lessons and guests was just right, and your control of the masses was perfect! Many thanks for the invite, a delightful afternoon! All the best,F
Great job, Ben, Well done! 2 Jersey guys!
Thank you, Ben! This was my first time using Zoom and it was great. I surprised myself by volunteering to play with 70 people listening! It was Fun!! I’ve purchased a course or two on Udemy but this was much better; I’m very enthused. Looking forward to next time. T
Thank You, Ben. Unfortunately I had to leave you all at 4:30 so missed some of the session. Rest assured i will be joining you next week. I shall also be making a financial contribution next week. I am unable to do so at the moment as lockdown has messed with my income. Today's session was a great insight into the nuts and bolts of sonny Terry's style and I learned a lot from it. I'm hoping we can get into something a bit more technical later, in particular 3rd position minor keys a lot of useful stuff. Thanks again Ben, you're a great teacher, easy to understand, and You have a wicked sense of humour. Cheers. Till the next time- best wishes, M
Hi there, Absolutely fantastic...thanks so much. So much fun to look forward to Sunday's!T
I am very thankful for the Ben Hewlett Sunday meetings. Being able to ask questions in real time to experienced players is something I really miss on the island of Malta. I would like to know if it is possible to have individual lessons with you and how much would it cost. Please appreciate that wages here are about half of wages in England. Best regards M
Wow. These Sunday afternoon sessions are all good, but this really exceeded expectations. Interesting content throughout and three interesting and entertaining guests. Rob Paparozzi being the best guest that I have seen on any of the sessions. Like many people of my age group it was Blues Brothers along with BB2000 and The Commitments that got me into blues and R&B music It was great to see someone so closely involved in this. I look forward to these Sunday afternoon sessions and none of them has disappointed at all. As I have explained before - I am no longer working and my wife is temporarily not working so we can’t afford to pay for every session (which I sincerely regret) but this was oh so worth it. Regards I have put this from S as well as she came in and watched during Rob’s session too. G&S
Hi Ben. I thought it was superb today, yet again! I joined for the meet the masters section and it was so engaging and interesting, not to mention informative. It's given me a good few things to consider and practice for my own playing and listening to the guests speak and play was fantastic. Thanks once again. I can't wait for next week's event. J
Hi Ben, I was so glad to hear that you will continue with these workshops. I was going to say every week would be spectacular but if that is too much at least once a month ;). Every week would be stellar though :). Such an amazing time again. Love it all and the guests were amazing ... again. Look how you are, growing. Wow. I am fine with the number of people there were. It was fun when it was a smaller number, but it is so awesome to see so many people and hear how other people are doing. The numbers don’t detract at all for me. Still a lot of fun :). So great to have your sister and cousin there too :). I can’t thank you enough Ben. You are doing an incredible job with your “show” :).
So amazing. Enjoy your rest. I have to get up at 7 my time for this and I am sick at the moment so I am going back to bed too. ;) Have a great evening. Happy blowing ;) Z
I enjoyed it too. Especially the first portion of the workshop since I am a rank beginner (at 74!). The rest was inspirational but way beyond me (for now?).
Ben, The workshops are outstanding; good attendance, good participation, couldn’t ask for more. I think it might be a good idea to know the levels of players you have attending, but you probably are aware of that already. Another good idea, I think would be to revisit what you have presented in past workshops, i.e. Train sounds, Foxchase. Sometimes people need a refresher and after working awhile on it they are ready for more input. H
Hi Ben, Thanks again for having these weekly seminars, I'm enjoying the group learning experience. Also, have to say I was floored listening to the difference of your playing both puckering and tongue blocking. Really opened my eyes(ears) to the necessity of learning both styles of play. I've been trying to spend time playing scales up and down the harmonica to memorize where the holes are and also working on the breathing. Not sure if there are specifics techniques that may be better for this sort of thing? Loved having a chance to hear Will talk this weekend. I unfortunately had some internet issues and was unable to tune in the week prior for the other guests, are these recorded that we could possibly watch them? Not sure who you may have lined up for future but thanks again, great hearing from players in the industry. Best. J
Ben, One other idea was the 'Trill'. John Lennon plays a trill on the opening of Love Me Do, Hole 5 Blow. Be good to master that. J
Hi Ben I thought it was a great session! Not the sort of tune I would normally attempt but all the more interesting because of that. It pushed just a bit beyond my abilities which is a good thing I think which should help me a lot with my tongue blocking. I thoroughly enjoyed the guests that I managed to catch, Will Wilde of course is a superb player and fascinating to listen to, I thought the inside info on Seydel harmonicas from Lars Siefert was interesting too. I did think of another potential guest. Paul Jones would be fascinating to hear from and seems like an amenable kind of guy who might be up for it? Looking forward to the next one! Cheers - B
Thanks Ben, I must admit I signed on to the free session in order to get a feel for the nuts and bolts of how it works, having never been involved with something like this before. I felt the subject covered will surely give beginner players plenty to work on before the next session. Now that I have seen how things tick, I will surely enrol in one of the more advanced lessons for next weekend. I would be particularly interested in improvisation tips and hints, playing melody with "feeling/emotion", and call/response phrasing. As regards to established artists that I would like to see, Steve West Weston is the guy I admire the most. Thanks for this and all the great and tireless effort you put into the harmonica community, I wish I had half of the passion that you have. Yours Mike Howe.
Wonderful lesson. What I learned on Sunday moved my playing forward greatly. Many thanks. T
Hi Ben, You are doing such a fantastic job - just keep on doing what you are doing. I would love for Rohan to be showcased some time. So cool to see someone so young doing so well. Before you Ben, I thought the harmonica would be fun but with these workshops you have shown me a whole new world - I had no idea a harp could sound like Filip Jers makes it sound for example and although that won't be in my lifetime it sure gives me something to work towards. But everyone - all of your guests have done that. Lars Seidel was awesome and it was so interesting getting a virtual tour of the factory. That is so amazing that each harmonica is handmade. I can't thank you enough for doing this and it is fun building this little community because I saw some repeats this past weekend. I think it is fine for you to make the intermediate more intermediate or even advanced so that those experienced people can get more out of their workshop. I would still love to attend, but I am happy to attend in the background and just try to learn what they are doing too. It would be so much fun to get to hear more advanced lessons and see where those experienced players are and what they are doing. As I said - just keep on Ben :). You are doing fantastic and it was a very happy day when I signed up for your course on Udemy. I am absolutely loving the harmonica ... just after my 3rd time of picking it up. I so am looking forward to our next workshop. Cheers, Z
Ben, Great workshop, one suggestion...send a pdf before hand on songs...couldn't find anything in chat, and it was tough to follow along. Overall, great help! Thanks for doing this. Hope to make donation, as I now have a job! T
This last Sunday‘s session was much more productive now that we are getting used to the Zoom technology. The document for the session is very helpful as are the links to the interesting Youtube videos. The two guests that I saw, Richard and Will, were interesting and gave something to aspire to (in several years!).
Ben, there was a comment from one gentleman who said he found it too advanced for him. He could have been directed to your introductory lessons (train sounds for example). M
It was very good 1st time I have every done that sort of video thing , very nice people, the list is long lol I want too learn it all, blues is manly what I would like ,but all in all what ever I need too do too get there meany thanks
I would have liked to hear more playing and showing techniques and less gabbing…but judging by how few people signed off, seems I may be the exception. Nice job ben. N
An interesting mix of guests who all demonstrated there passion for the harp. The teaching workshops were well organised and clearly presented. My only request would be to have the tabs in advance so I can familiarise myself with the tasks, as I don’t perform well on demand....performance anxiety haha! But thanks for a great session and one that will hopefully continue. Kind regards P
I'm a self learned harp player. Some 30 years ago I thought I am not musical at all so I bought a C blues harp and learned part of Sibelius Finlandia. Then I bought a Finnish blues cd of Pepe Willbergand learned from it. When YouTube came I searched howto play blues harp and learned more. Nowadays I play little acoustic guitar and singing is my passion. With blues harp I mainly improvise and can do some tricks. Don't know much about tongue blocking and I would like to learn more about it. Cheers M
Thoroughly enjoyed it, nice and relaxed, a chance to learn something from the master(s) and good to see such a good geographical spread of students. I thought Richard brought a new dimension to playing as well. Good to see different methods of playing. Bring on the next one. J
Hi Ben. I thought the meet the masters session was really enjoyable. I thought it worked well and the guests were great. I thought Keith was particularly good - he gave really good advice, and his easy manner made it really entertaining. That said, the other guests were also excellent. What could have improved it? I suppose if pushed I would say that asking questions in such an open forum wasn't easy - but I think that will ease as the format becomes more normal, and that probably is different for different people. A possible option would be for the guests to have a short routine or trick that they could showcase and show us how they do it. Hope that helps - it was great and I'm looking forward to the next one. Just trying to offer constructive feedback. Keep well, J
Thanks for the sessions yesterday with the Pro’s, I liked it a lot. I just downloaded the ‘’Cotton Bale Pick’’ song, from Ed Hopwood, think he is great! Jers was an amazing player, and Parker gave me a few good tips on jamming. P
Hi Ben, I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed the Sunday workshop that we experienced yesterday. I hope that you continue with them. Seems that this is part of the 'silver lining' that usually accompanies something bad like this Covid stuff. Anyway, hope to see more of these workshops. They are great.G
Ben. Congratulations, you did a superb job on Sunday. You were totally in charge, as usual, giving them great confidence. You really are an amazing teacher! The fact that it's natural to you really thrills me. Well done, and keep it up, but give yourself a break, a day at least off. M xxx
Hola Ben, First of all, thank you so much for having the idea in the first place, and secondly for following through and putting into production in such an excellent way. I could only attend the one workshop at 5pm London time and I regret not being able to get acquainted with your interesting guests. (Is it possible that you recorded the guests and can make it available?) There were five of us in that workshop and it worked well. It is an outstanding idea Ben, but I can see that a full day of more or less back-to-back workshops, can be pretty tiring. Once upon a time I did music presentations in schools. Often at the end of the day I would be so drained that I could hardly get into my car to drive home. I’m sure you are giving it lots of thought. Perhaps you could spread the workshops out over two or three days, or make them shorter, or both.
It’s a work in progress, innit? The train idea is super since it has something for all levels of us. The rhythmical side of harmonica playing is of great interest to me. I am in. Thanks again, Ben, HH
Hi Ben, Very enjoyable yesterday, lots of enthusiam there and great to see so many people taking part. Looking forward to next workshops. How about Joe Filisko as a guest? Kind regards J. PS I intend to try the Intermediates next time so that I can push myself.
Hi Ben, Firstly thanks so much for setting this up; it was a great experience. Unfortunately I missed most of the beginners session due to the ID mix up. However, I really enjoyed the intermediate session and learned a few tricks. It was really cool seeing and chatting to the other participants. I didn't get a chance to log on to the later sessions with the interviews, but would love to be able to do that in the future. Once again, thanks so much and a Happy Birthday for yesterday. Cheers, Dave
Hi Ben. I thought the meet the masters session was really enjoyable. I thought it worked well and the guests were great. I thought Keith was particularly good - he gave really good advice, and his easy manner made it really entertaining. That said,the other guests were also excellent. What could have improved it? I suppose if pushed I would say that asking questions in such an open forum wasn't easy - but I think that will ease as the format becomes more normal, and that probably is different for different people. A possible option would be for the guests to have a short routine or trick that they could showcase and show us how they do it. Hope that helps - it was great and I'm looking forward to the next one. Just trying to offer constructive feedback. Keep well, J
Ben, I will send feedback as soon as I find a moment; briefly it was OUTSTANDING!!! H
Hi Ben Apologies for the delayed reply. I thoroughly enjoyed our zoom meet up on Sunday. It was fun, light hearted and I learnt a lot. It was also great to connect to other players and each get a turn play what we were learning for each other. Looking forward to the next one!! Cheers C
Hello Ben, Thanks for the sessions yesterday with the Pro’s, I liked it alot. I just downloaded the ‘’Cotton Bale Pick’’ song, from Ed Hopwood, think he is great! Jers was an amazing player, and Parker gave me a few good tips on jamming. I signed in for the intermediate session but was an hour late because I didn’t think about the summertime change. Thought you Brittisch exeteers are so fed up with the mainland, you just would stubbornly ignore european summertime! I would like to try the intermediate session next weekend, see how that goes, want to see were I stand. I’m interested in beginning improvisation, jamming tips and rythmplaying, among all the rest I have to learn of course! Hope to see you next Sunday. Kind regards, P
Thought it was top notch. Lots of learning, lots of humour and appreciative audience. The only thing I would start with is 'What we're going to achieve today is......' and run through the objectives. Kind regards J
I enjoyed the instruction very much. I came away with useful information that will help me improve my playing. Utilizing a shaker while working on train rhythms is just one. I like the format, as it is a group lesson. You can ask questions, play, and receive real time feedback. Ronnie Shellist utilizes Zoom also. He holds one session monthly. A different subject each month. For example, his next is a bending clinic. I like your emphasis on chugging, train rhythms and the Sonny Terry Style. Others would be DeFord Bailey and Noah Lewis. I would love to develop a good Train Grove and a Fox Chase for my repertoire. Hakan Ehn has a great You Tube video where he is doing a train rhythm while a train is rolling down the tracks. Joe Filisko stresses that he believes spending 5 minutes a day working on train rhythms is the most effective way to build stamina, rhythm, and timing. Ronnie Shellist charges $20 to attend his classes, with a discount price of $17 for early sign up. After the class we receive an MP4 file, any associated PDFs for the class, audio recording of the meeting, and a PDF of the chats for future use, or in case we are unable to attend the event live. He will also preview the class in advance on You Tube to help generate business as well as e-mailing all on his mailing list. I appreciate all you do, have many of your products and look forward to your next event. Much success, T. Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA.
Sunday was interesting, a repeat of some of your early lessons but a good stimulus to get going again. Next week should be better with improved use of the technology allowing more time for learning and impetus into homework/practice.M
This was my first lesson and I felt completely comfortable with it. It can be hard to be flawed and in experienced in a group of strangers. Ben was solid in the instruction, patient and encouraging with my efforts, and totally adept at bringing together a cohesive group lesson. Highly recommended for the neophyte or someone with even a bit more experience.
Hi Ben, Wanted to thank you for putting together the seminar, had a great time and really enjoyed the format. One of the difficulties that I've been having studying at home is listening to the sounds I'm making and them not sounding like what I'm hearing from the Udemy course that you have. The direct feedback was wonderful! Looking forward to more of these! J.
Ben, I think your workshop day was utterly fantastic. I had so much fun and enjoyed everything from the lessons altogether to the guest musicians. Such a treat. You were a perfect host! I was very impressed on how you included me with the intermediate group yet left the attention on them so they could play for you. Meanwhile I was really glad that I got on for the intermediate group too!! I would have never known that you had never done that before. You really didn’t have much of a birthday so I hope you enjoyed that tiring day and that it was worth it for you. I can’t wait until the next one. I will be there for all of it. Z
Ben, great to reconnect. I've been to many seminars and teach-ins over the years, but I will always remember my time with you at SPAH as you really analysed my playing.As to the recent Zoom class, I thought it was very good. First off I thought that you should have posted the content as I didn't know we would be doing train sounds. In hindsight I'm glad you didn't post the content as I picked up some great stuff to practice (now if I would only practice haha). i would gladly participate in more of these as A. I really like your teaching style and how accible you made it and B. the ability to mute all of the other attendees meant we could all noodle what you had demonstrated without cutting off our ability to still hear you. Thanks, Jerry Deall, SPAH Vice-President, join us at SPAH 2020 August 11-15,@ the Sheraton Westport Chalet, in St. Louis, MO
Really great experience Ben, the teaching session was great. Loved meeting up with other players and I thought you did a great job. No criticisms at all. I think you could cut down on the classes and make your life a little easier. You could maybe drop the beginners classes? I felt that most of the people on the intermediate session were my kind of level which I'd call advanced beginner and I don't think what we covered was beyond any of us. Any complete beginners could be referred to online learning from any number of sources and they would soon progress to a suitable standard to join in the intermediate session?
I thoroughly enjoyed the guests too, I made some suggestions for future guest but was maybe a bit hopeful as I suggested some fairly big names - Jerry Portnoy, Rick Estrin and Steve Weston. Still they must be bored as everyone else so you never know! Cheers - B
Hi Ben, Personal Feedback. Thought it was top notch. Lots of learning, lots of humour and appreciative audience. The only thing I would start with is 'What we're going to achieve today is......' and run through the objectives. Kind regards J
Hello Ben,I signed in for the intermediate session but was an hour late because I didn’t think about the summertime change. Thought you Brittisch exeteers are so fed up with the mainland, you just would stubbornly ignore european summertime! I would like to try the intermediate session next weekend, see how that goes, want to see were I stand. I’m interested in beginning improvisation, jamming tips and rythmplaying, among all the rest I have to learn of course! Hope to see you next Sunday. Kind regards, P
CRAP Keith. (I asked him why - he didn't reply yet)
Hi Ben, Firstly thanks so much for setting this up; it was a great experience. Unfortunately I missed most of the beginners session due to the ID mix up. However, I really enjoyed the intermediate session and learned a few tricks. It was really cool seeing and chatting to the other participants. I didn't get a chance to log on to the later sessions with the interviews, but would love to be able to do that in the future. Once again, thanks so much and a Happy Birthday for yesterday. Cheers,Dave
Happy Birthday Ben and thank you so very very much for doing this. Absolutely amazing.Next week make it easier on you, one beginner, one intermediate and the guests. You must be absolutely exhausted. Cheers, Z
Hi Ben, Thanks for this morning's zoom meeting - I enjoyed it (despite the initial hiccup with the ID code change!) and picked up one or two very useful tips from you, mainly about my breathing, which I was having problems with. I wasn't at all sure what to expect, and was relieved to find there seem to be a few others who are also complete beginners. I signed up for your free introductory course some time ago and, despite all best intentions, haven't done any playing (can I call my efforts playing?) for a few weeks until this morning - hopefully lockdown will impose a little more self-discipline if nothing else!
I've made a donation online - didn't quite understand the system so I hope I haven't signed myself onto an advanced course by mistake! Hopefully it'll go towards a well-deserved birthday bottle - but you appear to have a very busy day, so there may not be much time to celebrate - or you'll have to drink very quickly . . .
Big thanks. Stay well. M
Hi Ben, Just want to report that this was a very good experience. I've been following your instructive video-based courses, but this was the spice I needed to get started with the exercises again. It is indeed an excellent combo.
Such a workshop also creates a group motivation as we see, and can speak with the others participants. Best Regards from Norway! M
ZOOM workshop feedback March 29th 2020
Hi Ben Thanks for that. It was nice to see real things happening in real time. I am definitely up for more of this.
I didn’t put myself forward for any of the demonstrations mainly as I was having to balance my phone, as my tablet picture was too dark. Next time I will use my laptop. Very early days on playing the harp and I really noticed a difference. I have always found 2 draw a bit difficult, but I was hitting it every time by the end. Thanks once again and I look forward to the next sessions. G
Are these exercises written down somewhere? Very useful session this morning, thanks. I think I just got twice as good, granted it's a low bar I'm starting at. Back to Day 6.. Cheers, B
Thanks Ben- that worked ok! At least it did with 18 participants.
I’m signed up to your monthly mini-courses, looking to develop my blues-harp so I’d join a group like we just had with a slightly more advanced course - blues licks? Suggested songs to play along with? Best, B
I tuned in to the first one - Zoom works really well. I think there was a peak of 18 participants… no issues at all apart from the horizon on your pic behind isn’t truly horizontal!! Cheers, S
Ben, That was very useful. Good to see so many others of all ages taking part and enjoying the session. Cheers, J
Hi Ben, Just thought I'd drop you a line to say I enjoyed that zoom meet... Was good to have a brief lesson and I did learn something! Especially as I'm only on day 6 of lessons and very much a beginner...
I'd be interested in 1-1s or small group lessons this way if you felt that is something you'd like to do... Thanks for taking time to do the lesson... Regards~D
Thank you Really enjoyed myself. I was taking part on an I pad will try the PC next time. Have a good evening. B safe, Regards, K
Ben, well done with the group. Really enjoyed it. Basic, but as Ive been playing 10yrs and knew less than half of what you explained, that's probably why Ive plateaued for last 5 years! Re energised. Cheers, Stay safe, P. Hampshire UK
Glad it went well. Hoping to jump on one of the later ones if my broadband is strong enough, it's been a bit wonky the last few days. T
Hi Ben. That was really good fun. The mute button was a life saver I reckon. Really enjoyed it and great to see yourself and other people. I was on an iPad which seemed to work really well. Thanks very much. J
Hi Ben, I was at the 4 o'clock meeting. I was able to follow what you were saying - though the sound broke up a little, and every so often the message 'your internet connection is unstable' flashed up. I don't know if that's to do with the age of my laptop or the fact that my wife was watching iPlayer in the other room! Anyway, I enjoyed it. Just wish I could bend notes more effectively...Regards R
Thanks Ben, Really good to be in on your lesson. I was able to dig way down inside my diaphragm, especially when I laughed. I could definitely hear the difference in the sounds. Thank You!!, F
Hi Ben, It was fun. We covered stuff I’m studying on one of your courses but it was good to go over it again. I think the zoom workshop has a lot of potential but you will have to keep people muted when you are teaching only to unmute themselves when required. You may need to explain the controls at the beginning of the workshops. Raising your hand when you want to take part works well. I also think the jam idea sounds fun as well. Good luck with the other sessions. Cheers, S
Hi Ben I have just attended the 4pm workshop and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I like the way we were all muted and then could participate if you wanted to hear us (voluntary) or one of us wanted to speak. It's a great way for harmonica players all over the world to get together. I am quite happy to listen to your advice on any aspect of playing and then go away and practice. I will be interested to see how playing over a backing track goes if that is the next thing you do via zoom!! In the meantime I am working through 2 of your online courses so that will keep me busy whilst in isolation. Thanks again for sharing your talent with all of us. Kind regards from sunny Sussex P
I really like the interactiveness, in the sense that i can immediately ask questions and have em' answered. Good stuff. B
Hey there! I was in the 2nd group, it was fun. Zoom is new for many of us but it is actualy working quite well. Group mute is really a usable thing. I have your compkete package but if it is possible I would like to continue the Zoom journey. Keep up the good work! Best regards, A from Hungary :D
Hi Ben! Here my feedback for the first session. I totally enjoyed, the audio was good and your explanation clear and concise. I didn't realize one hour passed, good sign I would say! Looking forward the next session Best regards, E
Hi Ben I joined your 4 o'clock session yesterday, sorry I had to leave early but I had a video conference with work. Hope I didn't appear rude! I thought the session worked pretty well and could definitely be a viable group teaching platform. Just need to sort an etiquette for muting. Maybe you might have to be a bit more assertive in getting people to join in. Less confident people are likely to sit and listen without engaging (like me!) and get less out of the experience? Anyway, if you go ahead with the group lessons let me know! Cheers - B
Well done Sir, I'm impressed with the platform, my sessions today were on an old Samsung S6 Android phone and an old (Win7) low spec PC plus my broadband has been bad for the last few days but zoom remained stable. I should add that I,m between broadband suppliers so am current on copper rather than fibre and am more than 1KM from my local exchange. Using a crap machine was a deliberate action on my part for your benefit ! My success means that students in countries with poor infrastructure and/or cheap machines should be able to join a session fairly confidently of success.
The picture and audio of the host (yourself) was great throughout with the exception of some louder chordal playing which distorted most likely due to the mic used, but it was bareable. I feel this will be fantastic for group lessons where you go around the class (as per when your cousin picked the next player) but NOT all at once.
From my end whilst students voices could be heard on the audio clearly their harp playing was mostly not as distinct, I expect that the audio is tailored for voices, as is a phone line. As the host your experience may have been different which is in part why I asked if you could hear me clearly. One feature that Zoom appears to have but wasn't explored is to share your desktop, This will allow to to have a PDF of TAB etc open on your machine and students will be able to see it, this could be very useful methinks. Any questions then give me a shout. Enough of my waffle, nice one Ben, enjoy your beer Cheers T
Ben, this was an interesting experiment. I'm not sure how/if the Zoom technology works for sharing live music. I could hear you very well and I could hear the backing track you played, but when others played it was not clear (talking about the technology, not their harp playing). Maybe everyone's settings just need to be adjusted, but I think that all needs to be figured out. Just curious to know if you could hear me well when I was playing (if you even remember who I am after doing six of these sessions today!). -G
Hi Ben, As I said on the Zoom message (which I hope you were able to see), my apologies for dropping out so early, but wife informed me that our son was about to call and in these times of enforced estrangement, we can’t afford to miss calls from loved ones. However, I hope for two things: firstly that I will be invited back for future sessions and secondly that if tonight’s session is available to watch again (not sure if Zoom offers that facility?) that I will be given an opportunity to do that? I hope to hear from you. Thanks. Regards A
I really enjoyed your workshop today Ben. I am a newby to harmonica and looked at a few online instructors but I am very glad i ran into you and udemy. I hope to become a good blues harp player in the next year. the neat thing i thought of your workshop was that you have students from all over the world participating in the class at the same time! lets do it again!Cheers, S
Hi Ben, I enjoyed the lesson and the interaction. I really enjoyed your relaxed humorous style of teaching. I thought Zoom worked well as a delivery medium (though I am a bit of a dinosaur on the Ipad). Great picture and sound when you are in frame but when going to others not quite as good.
Reflecting on my own abilities I am unsure what level I am at. On some things I’m OK and on others I am pretty ordinary. Again, thank you very much. Cheers, W - Australia
Thanks for the invite Ben!
I enjoyed the lesson would be interested in checking out future classes this way. It forces a bit of socialization around the instrument, as I think a lot of beginners are pretty much in a vacuum.
I’m a bassoonist but bought a a few harmonicas a couple years ago and its time I did something with them! Your Udemy course is first rate (only started this week) and today’s class on tone really cuts to the heart of what its about as a wind player. I’m going to freak my bassoon students out and make them get harmonicas. It is great for demonstrating the role of your anatomy in creating sound, instead of holding this wooden thing in front of you with (at times) a problematic reed that is affecting your tone as well. Great stuff! Peter
Hi Ben, Thanks for letting me join. Sorry I was late. That was very good to watch. If you set up streamed classes the reluctance will fade away as they get to know each other more. I think the ability to see each other is a very big factor in the success of these things – much more so than I imagined when I first started looking at this. Going to try it out this week, hopefully. R
Ben Hewlett is passionate about teaching people like you how to play the harmonica really well.
Ben's video courses are here and if you prefer pesonal coaching and mentoring from Ben please visit www.harmonicamastery.com.
He works hard using his teaching skills to figure out how he can help you get better as a player, understand more, have more fun, and he hopes you will enjoy sharing his love of the harmonica and music in general.
He has attracted nearly 50,000 on-line harmonica students with 70,000 courses purchased and has nearly 5 thousand Youtube subscribers showing nearly 2 million views. They can't all be wrong!
Ben is the ex-Vice-President and ex-Chairman of HarmonicaUK - the community for UK harmonica players
He has been a full-time Professional Harmonica Instructor since 1995
Ben is a qualified harmonica teacher and was awarded the Accredited Diatonic Harmonica Teacher Certificate in 1993 - HTAB (Harmonica Teachers Accreditation Board, supported by Lee Oskar Harmonicas, HarmonicaUK and the International Harmonica Organisation)
Ben is a qualified music workshop leader and was awarded the Certificate of Music Workshop Skills (Goldsmiths University of London) in 1995
Ben is a qualified music teacher and was awarded the Certificate of Teaching - Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in 2002 (CTABRSM)