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What level are you on harmonica?

Hello! In today's harmonica lesson I'll help you understand your level on harmonica and what lessons and courses will help you take the next steps on your harmonica journey.

Why do you need to know your level?

It is really useful to know your level for three reasons:

  • It will help you to decide which lessons and courses are appropriate to your level

  • You can track your progress as a harmonica player

  • You know which skills to focus on to get to the next level

Choosing your level

Below is a summary of each level so you decide which level sounds most like you. Everyone’s learning path is different so not every bullet point will apply to you; choose the level where the most points are relevant.


  • Still trying to play single notes

  • Struggling to move around the instrument smoothly

  • Learning simple songs but not getting them sounding 'clean'

  • Find it harp to tap your foot to a beat and play at the same time

  • Bending seems like a crazy technique that you wouldn’t dare try!


  • Getting comfortable playing clean notes and basic melodies

  • Starting to ‘feel the beat’ and tap along to your playing

  • Trying some simple textures like warbles, hand tremolo or chugging

  • Giving draw bending a go, getting varied success making the notes move

ADVANCED BEGINNER COURSES TO TRY: The Complete Beginner Course, Blues for Beginners


  • Comfortable using single notes, double stops and chords

  • Able to play melodies using a few accurate draw bends

  • Using warbles, glissando and hand tremolo confidently

  • Starting to develop your vibrato

  • Dipping your toes into blow bending


  • Getting pretty confident at blow bending

  • Able to hit all draw bends straight and use them melodically

  • Using the higher range of the instrument with more confidence

  • Able to improvise over a range of basic chord changes


If you’re an advanced player, you’ll already know that you are! But here’s a quick checklist anyway:

  • Technical prowess on whole range of instrument in various positions

  • Varied use of textures, dynamics, tempo and melody

  • Large expressive range

  • Improvisational virtuosity

  • Capable of making the instrument your own and having a distinctive sound


A final word on levels

You may not have been playing long but find that your skill level is higher than expected - if so, congratulations! Conversely, you may have been playing a long time but still be a beginner. There is no shame in this. We all forge our own learning path and no two students are the same.

It's important to note that the levels above are just a rough guide, and a tool for deciding where to go next. In the end, it’s about enjoying yourself and creating good music which is not the same as measuring technical progress.

There are drawbacks to becoming overly obsessed with levels: it can make you unnecessarily competitive or envious, and it can discourage people who work better in a more relaxed learning system. This is just a starting point to help you understand where you’re at and hopefully encourage you to continue your harmonica journey. Good luck!

Thanks for studying with me today. I hope you enjoyed the lesson!

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