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How to Improvise Playing Harmonica

Learn how to improvise on the harmonica with this Howcast harmonica lesson taught by John Popper of Blues Traveler.


Hi, I'm John Popper, lead singer of the band Blues Traveler. I also play harmonica, and am arguably one of the best in the world. But thank God, there really never can be an actual best, but I'm damn good. I'm gonna teach you a few things about the harmonica.

What be-bop players do, is, they'll try and think about cramming 3 notes into every note. Think of a phrase, ba da da da da da da da da. Or da da da da DA, da da da da da da. Take the song, Mary had a Little Lamb. Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba. Ba da da doo, ba da da da da da. Ba da da da da da. Do-da da. Ba da da da da da. Ba da da da. Ba da da da da da. Ba da da da. And see, that's not really a harmonica thing. That's more of a music thing. And I think that if you start approaching songs that way, like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Ba ba ba ba, ba ba ba. Start going, ba da da da da. Ba da da da da. Ba doo da da, ba doo da da. Ba da da da da. Before you know it, you're improvising without even thinking about it. And I think that's a good approach for anybody that wants to improvise.

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