Saturday Live Public events all at 5pm UK time:
First Saturday in every month - HarmonicaUK Open Mic - www.harmonica.uk
Third Saturday in every month- PlayHarmonica Open Mic
Current UK time is used throughout. Check your own timezone here savvytime.com
Live Q&A and IMPRO classes every Saturday - come and join the fun!
March LIVE classes
To get the zoom login please enrol first and then look in the curriculum.
You can purchase live classes one at a time as you go or have them all included when you go for VIP membership(£39) - see 'membership' above
5am PT; 8am ET; 1pm GMT
Blues Level 2
9am PT; 12pm ET; 5pm GMT
Exploring Sonny Terry
11am PT; 2pm ET; 7pm GMT
Learning Irish Music
February LIVE classes
5am PT; 8am ET; 1pm GMT
Blues Level 1
9am PT; 12pm ET; 5pm GMT
11am PT; 2pm ET; 7pm GMT
Learning Whammer Jammer https://playharmonica.teachable.com/p/whammer-jammer1/?preview=logged_out
Classes at 1pm, 5pm and 7pm GMT
That's 8am, 12pm and 2pm EST
And 5am, 9am and 11pm PST
Blues Level 1, Blues Level 2 and Country Blues
This month we have two classes for you:
Every Saturday Level 2 Blues 5pm London time
Every Monday Level 1 Blues 7pm London time
What do people think of my live classes?
One word feedback:
Enlightened, Brilliant, Fun, Enjoyable. Valuable, Great, Motivating, positive, Enraptured.
One Phrase feedback:
- I cannot adequately express how amazing I think Ben is.
- I have learned so much from Ben and continue to learn
- May I thank you for your help and guidance it has been a great help and clarified a few things for me even with the issues I have
- You have the rare ability to draw out and inspire musicians
- Hi Ben, Count me in for the next course
- I had an outstanding time and met some incredible people
- Thanks Ben, the way you impart the information is excellent.
- It’s your ability to achieve this in a short space of time that makes you that rare educator
- I would def be up for another course
- You have given me much more confidence
- Pitched at right level for me through most of it, but as a total beginner I was lost in the last class re music theory
- A very informative and helpful course
- Glad you're doing another course
I cannot adequately express how amazing I think Ben is. His style of teaching and availability is the best there is and I have tried other teachers as well. I have learned so much from Ben and continue to learn. One thing that I would like to stress to people after seeing other comments, is that if you are a beginner and follow him along through his beginner courses to the intermediate plus you absolutely will learn and you will have very few questions because he takes you step by step. If you are an intermediate or intermediate plus you will easily be able to keep up with the intermediate or intermediate plus courses. I am just a beginner and Ben has given me a joy and love of the harmonica I would not otherwise have had. He is encouraging and supportive as well as being a fantastic teacher. I can highly recommend his courses. Zoie McIntyre of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Ben thank you so much for both the 5 week introductory course and 4 week blues course. I learned a great deal and thoroughly enjoyed both and now they have completed I miss them, the camaraderie and of course your sense of humour. More seriously you are one of the most inspiring music teachers I have ever had the privilege of meeting. You embody the real meaning of education ie a drawing out of the pupil. You have the rare ability to draw out and inspire musicians. It does not matter how lacking the pupil is in confidence or natural ability you draw the best out of the student and inspire him or her to make the best of what ability they have. The result a confident performer who improves by leaps and bounds because you have brought out the inherent musical ability we all have within us. Grades and standards are all very very well but are no substitute for the sheer enjoyment and satisfaction that flows from finding that one is able to play ie getting a pleasing sound, harmony, and rhythm from the instrument. In my view, it is your ability to achieve this in a short space of time that makes you that rare educator. All the best and looking forward to your next course. Andrew Hardy, UK
Good Morning Ben, I hope you are well in Great Britain. I just want to thank you for having these classes and I hope to be able to take more of them as I had an outstanding time and met some incredible people as well. I particularly was pleased to learn more about theory as that is the key to everything, though Lennon and McCartney seemed to do okay for themselves. Thanks again and let us know of any future classes. Jack Miranda
21st September 2020
We have just started a new live course - 5 weeks, one hour per week. It's not too late to join as the sessions are all recorded. You can join in whilst it's live or at any point later - just check the dates please so you know what to expect.
Today we have three artists for you to meet and talk with - from https://www.seydel1847.de
Read about these amazing people here:
Enroll on this workshop with spacial guests here
June 21st 2020
Guests at 5pm UK time, workshop later - at 6pm
Meet Mark Cole
FAT TONE AMPS
Fat Tone Amps specialise in creating and building bespoke electronic amps for harmonicas
SILVERFISH HARMONICA MICROPHONES
Quality performance harmonica microphones that are rich in tone, robust and comfortable to hold.
June 14th 2020
4pm (UK time) Harmonica workshop with Ben
5pm Meet President Michael D'Eath and Vice President Jerry Deall of https://www.spah.org/index.asp
5.30 (or when their baby goes to sleep) Meet Evelyn Choong and Aiden Soon, founders and Music Directors of http://frescoharmonica.com/overview
June 7th 2020
4pm UK time Ben's Workshop on basic blues 'horn and bass lines'
5pm UK time
Jason Ricci https://www.mooncat.org/
Tom Halchak Blue Moon Harmonicas https://bluemoonharmonicas.com/
Randy Landry Lone Wolf Blues
(unable to attend)
Sunday May 31st 2020
4pm UK time Beginners Workshop 4:30 Intermediates Workshop
David Barrett https://www.bluesharmonica.com
Greg Heuman (Blows Me Away) http://www.blowsmeaway.com/
Kinya Pollard (HarpSmith) https://www.bluesharmonica.com/taxonomy/term/432/0
David Barrett - the world's most prolific harmonica educator and Stan Harper SPAH Award of Special Merit 2019 winner
Greg Heumann - Microphones for the stars and and for you “You're going to like the way you sound. I guarantee it.”
Kinya Pollard Harpsmith to Bluesharmonica.com - teacher, tuner, customiser, performer...
Here is a short video example...
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. If you can't get in call Ben on FB messenger.
(future events are subject to change - who knew?)
June 7th 2020
Tom Halchak Blue Moon Harmonicas
Randy Landry Lone Wolf
May 31st 2020
Greg Heuman Blows Me Away
Kinya Pollard HarpSmith
May 24th 2020
TEAM LEE OSKAR
May 17th 2020
May 10th 2020
May 3rd 2020
Jon and Yuki Vaughan
April 26th 2020
April 19th 2020
April 12th 2020
April 6th 2020
March 29th 2020
Just me - testing, testing, 12 12
May 10th 2020
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 EXISTED
5.30 JON VAUGHAN AND WE MIGHT GET HIS WIFE YUKI AS WELL IF WE ARE LUCKY!
6PM ROHAN SINGHAL
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!
Here's what you get this week:
- 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.
5pm Jerry Fierro
Jerry Fierro https://vimeo.com/320964183?fbclid=IwAR20P40s_5LnQV3vS4cuWmN99qLCSuUCE0aq1707Xxc3oMDEaPw_5PWxp2c
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
♥️"What did participants say about their experience?"
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
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
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