As a Seydel warranty service partner and Seydel technician, I receive daily inquiries from players on issues they are having with their Seydel diatonic and chromatic harmonicas. I also receive numerous requests for custom tunings and harmonica set-ups. This allows me the privilege of interacting with hundreds of players. I find that an increasing number of players are taking up the harmonica and that is great news. However, what is not so great is that many attempting to learn on their own. Worse even yet, is that so many believe they can learn from Youtube videos and Facebook posts.
It doesn't take an experienced technician to conclude this, though. Our instrument is suffering from a severe bout of "newbie-ism" and an extreme case of "same ol' licks" or " "4 draw bend & wail". Perhaps we are too buried in the pro-harmonica forums to notice, but the rest of the music world does.
While hundreds of players go buy a cheap harmonica and play a few notes, none of these would go buy a french horn or a grand piano and expect to master the instrument this way. Experienced players complain frequently that the music industry treats the harmonica as a toy. There's no mystery to this as most of the players out there contribute to this notion in their refusal to study the instrument like other serious musicians.
As a beginner, the first thing you should know is that even some of the best harmonica players in the world STILL study under an instructor. If you are an experienced player and fond of saying, "I've been playing over 3o years", you should know that some of the best players in the world STILL study under an instructor.
It is true that in our times, one has far more access to online learning materials than students of the instrument had years ago. However, almost every decent instructor out gives lessons via SKYPE or some video chat platform. As a player, you now have access to some of the best in the world in a 1-on-1 setting and at an amazingly reasonable cost.
The joy of making music includes both technical mastery and creating something new or unique. Unfortunately, neither of these is occurring within the harmonica circles.
Your instructor can give you honest feedback on your playing that your friends won't. However, with that feedback, your instructor also provides solid direction on overcoming your bad habits and developing new and better techniques. But perhaps more importantly, a good instructor puts the student on a practice routine with clear and achievable goals. As you master each, you experience the joy of making music, you feel encouraged to continue practicing, and you discover a world of musical expression you never knew existed.
Do yourself and the musical world a favor. Find a good teacher and dedicate yourself to solid study of the harmonica. You may contact me here for recommendations.