Playing harmonica with your nose is a fascinating chore to undertake. Normally the breath from your mouth creates the notes and tones, while controlling the breath creates the cadence of the song. How do you play the harmonica with your nose?
Playing the harmonica with your nose is a task that takes hours of practice and mastering breathing techniques. Not being able to get the correct breath will mean that the notes aren’t hit correctly. Read on and learn what it takes to play the harmonica with your nose.
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There isn’t one place to go when looking for tips on playing the harmonica with your nose. Searching on YouTube brings up several videos that are used to get the basics down. Will provide you with a list of those videos further in the article.
You must understand that a general working knowledge of how the instrument works is a great place to start. Once you have that down, move towards nostril closure and progression.
Controlling the air in the nostril is the most crucial piece of the puzzle. You can use your off-hand or stuff the nostril with cotton balls to create a blockage. Whatever you choose, make sure that you can easily extract it. The force of the playing could pull the cotton towards the sinus if breathing incorrectly.
Using your off-hand to close the nostril forces you to grip the harmonica with an underhand grip that could be challenging for even the most experienced players. The plus side of using the off-hand is that you can allow the occasional breath to reinforce overtaxed lungs.
If you went the cotton swab-closed nostril route, you could take a regular grip on the harp. This will allow you to make steadier notes while controlling the vibrato with the backside of your hand. Your grip is important as it controls the sounds that escape the harmonica and the ones that are muted.
Wedging the harmonica on your lip is a unique style. Bunch your lip together and make a slope towards the nostril. This takes away all the breath from the mouth and focuses it down the nostril for a clear sound. It takes practice to make this style work, and you should expect to have a sore jaw the first few attempts.
Now that your nose is all clogged and you have the harmonica close to the nostrils, it is time to bust out your A-game. Concentrate on making minor melodies in the beginning and add pieces until you build up stamina in the nostril. Once you have the breathing controlled, you can concentrate on learning more songs and possibly styles.
Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t hitting the notes like John Popper on your first few attempts. Like any other instrument, it is going to take time and effort to master playing with your nose. Set aside practice times each day and stick with them. As the hours fly by, you will be picking up new pieces, and your playing will skyrocket.
When you learn to play the harmonica, breathing out of your nose will be a huge no-no. The focus is to use all your breath in the mouth and not have leakage through the nose. When it comes to playing with your nose, you can expect to do the opposite. The most significant hurdle is learning how to situate the harmonica around your nose and lips.
Some practitioners go as far as to clog up one nostril with cotton swabs. This enables them to focus all of their air and achieve the notes needed. Forceful air is a must-have when playing the harmonica. Wasting air or taking in too much air will damage your playing and be noticeable for those listening.
There are several exercises that you can use to focus on breathing only from the nostrils. You should take time and practice breathing before you begin. Purse the lips against the back of the hand to concentrate the air through the nostrils. Breathe in and out several times until you can control long deep breaths from the diaphragm and out of the nostril.
When it comes to scouring the internet for tutorials and step-by-step instructions for nose harmonica playing, you are in for an extensive search that turns up more about training the nose to play the harmonica regularly and almost nothing about how to use your nostrils to play the mouth harp.
When it comes to finding sources and tutorials, you can always count on YouTube. Learning is an exciting thing as some people can pick up items much faster if they watch someone doing the skill they are looking to master. Video is powerful because you can pause or skip whichever part you want and attempt to replicate the user’s movements.
Some of the best Nose Harmonica videos on YouTube
Nose Harmonica, Nose Blues Harmonica
This video will be great for the beginner as the close-up shot allows you to check the finger placement he uses for blocking the nostril. It also shows that you can accomplish several different types of music with the nostril.
How To Play Harmonica With The Nose
Joy to the World is a tune that almost anyone will recognize. While there is a bit of flash to the movement, the player forgoes the use of the backside of the hand and concentrates on hitting the notes with accuracy.
Paul Recchia Nose Harmonica
Britain’s Got Talent has a short video of Paul Recchia playing the harmonica with his nose. While the judges aren’t impressed, you should note that his grip and placement are perfect for getting the sounds you will need from the harmonica.
In other countries, the harmonica is a haunting instrument used to create staccato rhythms and intricate melodies. In this video, the player goes through quite a few different pieces of music before the judges decide they have had enough.
Video is an excellent place to start for those wanting to learn how to play the harmonica with their nose. Take time to pause and rewatch the videos as often as needed to pick up the provided techniques. As you progress, you can upload your videos to the internet and become the guru of nose playing the harmonica.
How to Play Harmonica With Your Nose, Final Thoughts
Playing the harmonica with your nose is just kitschy enough to make sense. When you see someone break out Camptown Races or Ode to Joy, you will be floored. Unconventional methods are popular with people, and in this like-obsessed culture we live in, there’s room for all types.
Closing the nostril is half of the battle when it comes to learning how to play. Take time and control the breathing with the off-hand or cotton balls to focus your air towards the harp. Hitting the notes precisely will take control and agility. Pay attention to your breathing and enjoy your new kitschy habit!