“Hey Sherman, I bought a harmonica, and want to know how long before I get good?”
“I Don’t Know…”
What come on man?
“OK, 6 months 30 minutes a day…”
If the questioner has ever played an instrument before, she might answer,
“For real? That’s all?”
Or maybe they answer,
“Man that much?”
To which I admit,
“Yeah I pulled that number out of the sky, I really don’t know…”
I don’t know How Much You Will Practice
See, College is a structured environment with everything set up with time frames. And the answer how long it takes to finish still is not set in stone. It took me 5 years. I know folks where it took longer. A lot of people take 4 years. Some even go faster than that.
Well, if you have that diversity for college which is set up for 4 years, how you expect me to tell you how long it will take when it ain’t structured.
More than that, I don’t know how much you are going to practice.
Who is Asking?
But be that as it may, I’m gonna attempt to answer the question.
Yes, I’ve been asked that question four or five times in the last few months. One guy is a singer who is looking to add a harmonica to his repertoire. He loves Stevie Wonder and wants to incorporate that into his game.
Another guy is an older retiree who I think wants to play in church. This is a totally different kind of playing.
Another guy hit me up on Facebook, wanting to play this new harmonica he has acquired.
Yep more people than I thought want to learn how to play it. I don’t know if it is the relatively inexpensive entry cost (40-50 dollars for a professional instrument, well kind of) or if it is the belief that it is easy (it ain’t), or if it is the realization that it does more than folks realize. Whatever it is, folks want to jump on the Harmonica bandwagon. I’m actually pleasantly surprised anybody cares.
I always feel like ain’t nobody want to hear no harmonica except a small amount of folks.
And I have had at least one Gospel Music writer tell me, “I just don’t like the sound of a harmonica.” Lol. Yeah, it is what it is. Some folks just don’t like it. But there are some who do.
At any rate, this is one of the most common questions for new musicians or singers. Trumpet, harmonica, piano, guitar, etc. Whatever it is, folks want to know when they will be good? The hard part is that the question is not complete. I don’t know what you want to play. I don’t know how much musical background you have. I don’t know how much you will practice.
I really don’t know your dedication or your goals.
It Takes Time
But really, Harmonica or any other instrument is gonna take some effort to get decent. Certainly it takes different amounts of time to learn the piano versus say the Harmonica, or even maybe how to program computers, or write a sermon, or whatever. But everything takes time.
It takes time to learn.
There are physical aspects to the instrument. You have to get it into your muscles.
There are intellectual components. You have to get it into your mind.
And yes, it is gonna cost you something financially. It is gonna cost you time. It is gonna call forth effort. Just like all areas of life. You are gonna have to give up something.
And The Answer Is
So how long does it take? Well, I think I got decent enough to play in front of folks say after 6 months to a year of 30 minutes to an hour a day of just playing…
So I don’t know the answer. But I do know, if you dedicate to it. You can get going. But don’t get into it cause it will be easy. Cause it may be easy to start, but it really ain’t easy to get good.