Harmonica for Beginners

Ed Hopwood|Thursday 11th January to Thursday 15th February

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Harmonica for Beginners Course with Ed Hopwood

Dates: A six-part course from Thursday 11th January to Thursday 15th February

Time: 6:45 – 8:15pm

Location: Pedlars, 128 Talbot Rd, London, W11 1JA

“Two of my favourite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp and playing my harmonica” (Abraham Lincoln)

Played by soldiers in the trenches, cowboys whiling away time by the campfire and bluesmen the world over, the harmonica has endured as one of the most portable, accessible and expressive musical instruments.

Ed Hopwood’s six-part course covers harmonica fundamentals such as hand position and getting good clear notes on the instrument. You will learn tunes and key riffs of folk, country and blues styles.  You will also learn some essential music theory in order to fully understand the harmonica and the range of notes available to the player. In the second half of the course, we’ll take the instrument a step further by checking out more influential blues and folk recordings and learning how to play in these styles. This will include bending the notes for a heavy blues sound, vamping cool rhythms and using classic harp techniques for dramatic effects.

Throughout, we’ll play to backing tracks, improvise with each other and try to have a laugh in the process.

All sessions will start with breathing warm-ups on the harmonica that can be used every time you play.

In weeks 1 & 2 we will develop these breathing warm-ups into some great riffs and simple tunes. Some of these will be classic harmonica riffs that you may recognise from popular music, and some will be built on simple scales that are essential for working out your own tunes and melodies.

Weeks 3 and 4 will be all about the blues, ‘down home’ style vamping and bass lines. You will learn some classic blues and listening skills. Ed will discuss which key of harmonicas to use and you’ll learn some cool rhythm patterns.

Week 5 focuses on bending notes: how and why? Ed will give you some B=basic instruction to set you up for some serious blues playing later.

In week 6, we will combine our note bending and new rhythm skills to produce some super cool Blues harp.

Who is this course suitable for?

This Harmonica course is suitable for both complete beginners with no prior musical knowledge and anyone with basic harmonica experience wishing to build on existing skills. Graduates from Ed’s three-week harmonica course can join in for the second half of the course. Simply email cathleen@idler.co.uk or ring 0203 176 7907 to book.

PLEASE NOTE: Harmonicas are not provided. You will need to bring a harmonica in the key of C with you. We recommend the Hohner Special 20.

About the Tutor

Ed Hopwood is a Harmonica player and multi-instrumentalist with extensive experience of both performing and teaching.

As a harp player he has recorded for BBC Radio 4 Comedy series “Mums On The Run” and English Indie band “ The Mystery Jets” as well as currently playing for acclaimed U.K Blues and roots artist “Mark Harrison”.

Ed also plays guitar and sings in an Old-time American string band as well as attending and hosting many folk sessions around the city. He has a degree in popular music from the University of West London.

In addition to playing and teaching music, Ed has been creating a living and performance space in a large tug boat on the Thames.



Six-part course from Thursday 11th January to Thursday 14th February


6:30 – 8:15pm


Pedlars, 128 Talbot Rd, London W11 1JA




Hendrick’s Gin & Tonic, Idler exercise book and pencil

To Book

Add to basket or call 0203 176 7907


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