Learn to play

Buster is convinced that learning to play the blues harp is simple, but that things can be made to appear over-complicated. Buster teaches by cutting out all the jargon and musical terminology, which he feels is actually an impediment to learning rather than a help.

All the blues greats learned by listening and trying to emulate their own personal idols, by asking questions and getting the odd tip here and there. Nobody taught Sonny Boy Williamson or Walter Horton about staves, treble clefs, quavers and minims. Music theory is all fine and dandy if you want to be a concert oboist, but blues harp is entirely different – it is all about improvisation, instinct and feel.

Buster says: “Music is a language much like any other, and there are two ways to learn languages. You either memorise verb tables and learn about constructing sentences with clauses, subjects, objects, conjunctions and prepositions, or you learn it the way that locals do. I think this should be the same when learning to play an instrument, especially one like the blues harp, which is largely about improvised solos and riffs. If you want to go back and learn musical theory afterwards that’s great, but filling your head with unnecessary jargon merely inhibits learning potential and stifles creativity in my opinion.”

If you would like to learn to play blues harp, or have any questions, email Buster now at the address below and book a lesson. The price is just £15 per hour session, or £50 for four. At your first lesson you will receive a free Johnson Blues King harp (see What harp? page) upon which to learn and practise.



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