The harmonica became popular in the 1800s as a means of traveling music. It is a free reed instrument used in many music genres such as jazz, bluegrass, country and rock. Even a beginner with very little musical background can enjoy playing a harmonica. The initial steps to playing are simple and how much your skill can expand is only limited by your practice and imagination.
Children's songs are usually short or repetitive, which makes them very easy to learn and play. From “You are my Sunshine” to “Edelweiss” to “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah,” many classic American folk songs can be harmonica favorites. Volcano.net hosts more than 100 children's songs to play, with the harmonica fingering noted above the song lyrics. Songs as short as 10 lines or as long as 20 lines are on this list. In addition to those mentioned, songs like "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" or "Muffin Man" are a few others you might recognize and enjoy playing.
As adults learning a new instrument, start with these old favorite children’s songs as your first round of lessons. It gives you an advantage to practice playing a song you know well. You start slowly getting the fingering, breathing and notes correct, but you don’t worry about the melody. You can gauge your success as the song sounds more and more “like it’s supposed to,” showing you’ve mastered it on the harmonica. Then move onto other songs.
Not all simple songs are for kids. Visit http://www.harmonicacountry.com and scan through the list of more than 100 songs they label as "Practice Songs" to play. Notice they include “America the Beautiful,” “Amazing Grace,” “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and a number of classic American hymns. It’s far from all country—and this lets you choose songs you want to play. Pick a theme for your next set of songs. Choose three American hymns to learn and then move on to three Americana songs (like Shenandoah or Dixie). Get your old love songs fix next by learning “Blueberry Hill” and “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.” Regardless of what genre you're interested in playing, there are easy songs available.
As you master these small categories, scroll down Harmonica Country’s website to the Beatles section to begin your rock ’n’ roll journey with any number of your favorite Beatles songs. As the songs get more complex, you’ll be ready to start adding in more complex rhythms, which can lead you to playing jazz and blues songs with the best. For tablature, riffs and songs that move into blues, check out Visit http://www.JT30.com where you find a compiled list of blues songs that are easy to play and still catchy. For other pointers, review tips and tools from harmonica expert Dave Gage at http://www.davegage.com. He has a shorter list of beginner songs on his website as well.