23 of 101+

I have a page on this site entitled 101+ ways to sound better playing harmonica which was inspired by a Guitar Player Magazine article similarly titled. I'm working my way through many of the 101+ ways and elaborating on the points. This entry is number 23.

23. Don't play like Dylan, but you also don't have to always play perfectly either. Loosen up - make a mistake now and then, get a little sloppy. It's all good, as long as you play expressively, from your heart.
Bob Dylan is well-known for his wide-mouthed chord-suck-and-blow style. While that's OK for a folkie, it's not the way a melodic player approaches the instrument, and it 'doesn't play' for a riff-based Blues harmonica-player either. You need to learn the correct riffs, runs, phrases and motifs to play Blues harmonica like a real musician. You need to focus on melodies, arpeggios and improvisation to play Jazz. You need to play melodies to play fiddle-tunes, Old Time, Bluegrass.

But you don't have to be straight-razor clean all the time.

Next time you're chugging away, breathe through the harmonica during a part of the phrase when you normally wouldn't. Have fun with it. Grunt through the harp. Holler! You'll be surprised the response you'll get. The point of this post is to have fun with it, b-r-e-a-t-h-e through your instrument, don't sound stiff.