I received a question from a student named Cheryl, and I thought the answer to her question may help you too.
Cheryl's question was: "How do I bend while tongue blocking?"
Well first off...do your know what tongue blocking is?
I assume you know what bending is, and if you don't I've got a great lesson on the subject when you
Tongue blocking is basically the act of playing a single note by using your tongue to cover the undesired holes.
Tongue blocking single notes can be challenging, but the benefits of learning this technique are HUGE.
To keep it brief, if you learn to tongue block, it will improve your tone and enable you to add amazing rhythmic accents to your playing.
That said, unlike many harmonica teachers, I highly advise against using tongue blocking to play single notes until you have totally mastered playing single notes with the Deep Relaxed Embouchure...
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Why do I feel so strongly about mastering the Deep Relaxed Embouchure first?
Basically I want to give you the fast path to success and I want to make sure you don't get frustrated along the way.
If you're finding it difficult to bend a note with the Deep Relaxed Embouchure, chances are you won't be able to bend at all with a tongue blocking embouchure.
Now, some bending basics: prior to learning how to bend with the tongue block embouchure, I recommend you learn to bend with the deep relaxed embouchure.
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Do you still want to learn how to bend using tongue blocking? If you're ready, I know you're going to love it.
Okay, so how do you bend using tongue blocking?
Play a bendable note (such as the 3 draw) while tongue blocking.
Block all the holes on the left (holes 1 and 2) with your tongue, and just play a clean 3 draw from the right side of your mouth.
Rotate the harmonica so that the right side of the harmonica is closer to your right ear.
This will give you a tight seal and strong control over the reeds. Until I figured out this trick, I was lost at sea.
Now, to bend the 3 draw, raise the right side of your tongue to form an upside down "U" or "J".
Do all this while blocking holes 1 and 2.The sharpness and shape of this curve varies depending on what hole you're trying to bend.
It'll probably take a lot of trial and error to get a clean bend, but that's the basic technique.
Practice on low key harmonicas such as G or A. It's much easier to learn tongue block bends on low key harmonicas than learning on high key ones.
Make sure the harmonica you are playing is easy to bend on using a normal lip-purse embouchure.
I recommend the Special 20.