Your first C harmonica licks and some thoughts on improvisation

Apr 27, 2016 | Advanced Beginner Harmonica Lessons, Jamming & Improv, Licks

Today, we’re going to be looking at some licks for beginners on the instrument. These will help you get started on the route to improvisation.

For this lesson, you will need a C harmonica.




What is a lick?

A lick is a short phrase that you have in your repertoire. It is important to have a repertoire of these so that you don’t panic when someone asks you to improvise.

Why do I need to know licks?

You might ask whether you are actually improvising if you are just playing licks that you already know? However, I don’t think this is an issue because a lick is just something that you can take as a starting point when you are improvising. No one is expecting you to create something out of thin air. Instead, you will be taking something you already know and breaking it up into different chunks or ending it differently or adding variations to the rhythm of it. All of these things are “improvisation”!

Make your own

Once you have learnt all the phrases in this lesson, repeat them hundreds of times until you don’t have to think about them. Once you’re at this stage you can start seeing how many variations you can create based on the same lick.

Getting good at improvisation

Getting good improvisation takes a lot of time and there are lots of pitfalls along the way. That said, the most important thing you can do is just practice it. Even more importantly start accepting that you are creating music and not just putting notes together randomly. Lots of my students improvise beautifully but then don’t have the confidence in themselves that they are actually doing something of merit. They are and you will be too!

Audio files of licks to play along to

Thank You

Thank you so much for taking part in this lesson. I hope it was useful for you. If you enjoyed this lesson, please share it with your friends.

See you again for the next harmonica video!

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