How To Not Pass Out Playing Harmonica?

Do you want to know how to not pass out playing harmonica without fainting? If yes, then congrats, you have found the right article.

When you first start playing the harmonica, you might gasp for breath as you run out of breath. You are not alone; there are many message boards with people who cannot even play a portion of a song without feeling as though they are about to collapse. 

Playing harmonica requires you to breathe differently than you would normally. This is why you begin to feel dizzy as you play. 

The best way to learn how to play the harmonica without passing out is to open your mouth as wide as possible and play holes 1-2-3-4. Your lips should be relaxed, not pursed, and the moist inner part of your lips should be in contact with the cover plates. This will ensure that you get a good seal without any tension. Your jaw should also be relaxed and not extended. 

Hence, if you wish how to not pass out playing harmonica, stay with me! 

Check out this harmonica lesson below for breathing tips and information on how to not pass out playing harmonica.

Why is It Difficult to Play The Harmonica?

Despite how simple it appears, playing the harmonica is not as simple as it seems. Even if playing has always been your passion, there are numerous barriers to overcome. 

A novice usually takes a long time to play the harmonica without passing it out ineffectively. 

People have a unique lung capacity compared to other mammals, so a specific method or workaround may be the best option available! 

But what’s the secret trick for musicians, how to not pass out playing harmonica normally or constantly? Let’s find out.

How to Avoid Running Out of Breath While Playing Harmonica?

Researchers from the University of Adelaide recently examined how a particular substance affects harmonica playing. In the study, students consumed different amounts of the substance and then compared the performances of right- and left-handed players. 

Their research confirmed what I already knew: Drinking before playing the thing you’ve been waiting to play for so long will improve your performance. 

In addition, the research asserts that right-handed students performed better when the liquid was present in their system. The facility of the left-handed students is still to be evaluated, but they would likely benefit from the suggestions provided below. 

Best Solutions for How to Not Pass Out Playing Harmonica


Drinking enough water before playing harmonica will ensure that your notes come out hot, whether the tune is fast or slow. Furthermore, you should sit down and stay hydrated before leaving. 

It is advisable to consume small amounts of liquid between songs to maintain your flow, but be careful not to indulge, as this can result in hallucinations and other health problems. 

Here are the top solutions for how to not pass out playing harmonica:


Many seasoned players believe tongue-blocking is the only way to create a decent sound. Others believe that puckering the tongue will result in a better sound. Of course, “better sound” is a subjective term, and what you like might not be what I would consider an appropriate sound. 

It’s true that many excellent players, such as Toots Thielemans and Lee Oskar, don’t utilize this technique. Whether you opt for one approach or another, you must learn how to use your tongue correctly. 

Pursed-lip Breathing

It is imperative to understand how to avoid fainting while playing the harp if you have COPD or a similar respiratory disease. The harp forces you to breathe with your lips and perform COPD exercises as a result of the tiny holes. 

I know exactly what you’re going through. I found the same issue when I first started singing. It was challenging to breathe in enough air. 

Maintaining Natural Airflow

Maintaining natural airflow while playing the harmonica is vital to its longevity and tuning. When you play with a calm, gentle airflow, the metal crystals will line up, which is advantageous for the reeds. Harmonica prefers moderate air pressure, as it is less likely to damage them. 

Practicing Train Rhythms

It’s been long since you last played harmonica train rhythms, so now is the time to reignite your passion! To avoid passing out, practice train rhythms before playing harmonica! 

Practicing train rhythms for at least five minutes, breathing deeply through your belly, is a simple way to incorporate deep breathing in playing a harmonica. You’ll be able to breathe in and out of your harmonica without fainting if you practice this way. 

Avoiding Forced Air

Make sure you breathe slowly and gently when playing the harmonica. Stretching your abdominal muscles and relaxing your shoulders first, breathe in and out smoothly as you play. 

Using your diaphragm to breathe is crucial in playing the harmonica properly. Avoiding passing out while playing the harmonica is one of the benefits of proper breathing. Here are some instructions on how to breathe when playing the harmonica. 

Steps on How to Not Pass Out Playing Harmonica


Here are the steps on how to not pass out playing harmonica: 

1. Learn to breathe from the diaphragm

You may have encountered information suggesting that you must breathe from your diaphragm when playing the harmonica. However, what does that signify? Deepening your breathing is what it indicates so that it originates from below your lungs. 

When playing harmonica, diaphragmatic breathing increases your lung capacity and improves your airflow, preventing you from fainting. It is also one of the common breathing techniques taught in yoga and meditation because of its health benefits. 

Breathe from your diaphragm in this manner:

  • Inhale deeply while exhaling all the air from your body
  • Stop for a moment when you are empty (just for a second or two)
  • You don’t have to force air down into your diaphragm; your stomach muscles naturally release air
  • Practice a few times to get used to it. 

When you play the harmonica, breathe from your diaphragm. At first, it may seem unfamiliar, but with more practice, you will become accustomed to it. 

2. Breathe in through your mouth

It is inefficient to breathe in through your nose when taking a breath. In addition, do not breathe in too rapidly. When you breathe in, make sure you do so through your mouth rather than your nose. 

When you play, you breathe in air that has already been breathed, so you will still run out of air and feel like you will pass out. 

3. Don’t suck in the air

When you need air, stopping yourself from sucking it in is hard. Besides breathing from your diaphragm, you must inhale rather than breathe. It’s challenging to do, but it will get easier with practice. 

When playing harmonica and requiring more air, breathe—do not inhale. Sucking in the air rather than breathing normally would produce a noise. 

4. Time your breaths 

To play the harmonica adequately, you must be able to draw in more air. Here, gaining extra breath is all about taking breaths naturally and timing them appropriately. 

When playing the harmonica, try to time your breathing to coincide with a change in direction or a change in notes so the transition is smooth. 

5. Control airflow for long notes

It’s common to run out of breath while playing the harmonica during a long note (or series of notes) if you are not allowed to breathe. You must keep track of your airflow in these situations. 

Remember that you must conserve air for later notes, so expel less air than usual. Diaphragm breathing is particularly beneficial here, as it allows you to consume more oxygen than shallow breathing. 

6. Relax

To become proficient at playing the harmonica, you must first relax. If you’re tense, your performance will suffer. Your music will sound scratchy, and your breathing may also be negatively affected. 

Practicing makes you perfect, as the adage goes. You won’t master harmonica breathing immediately—you’ll have to practice a lot, both with and without it. If you need to breathe, do so! If you’re afraid, you’ll keel over while playing the harmonica, back away, and continue practicing your breathing before you resume playing. 


1. Is it healthy to play the harmonica?

According to doctors and experts, playing harmonica is the soundest way to lead a healthy, happy, and harmonious life without breaking the bank. 

2. Is harmonica good for brain?

Playing the harmonica has been shown to positively affect hearing, memory, and coordination in people aged 65 or older. Learning how to play the harmonica, in particular, may improve cognitive abilities. 

3. Do you suck in on a harmonica?

Playing the harmonica on the 2 hole draw produces a somewhat strained-sounding note, especially if you are trying to play naturally rather than sucking. To practice breathing instead of sucking, make your embouchure and inhale without the harmonica. If air is coming out of your lips, you are sucking. 

4. Is harmonica good for lungs?

Your lung capacity and breathing muscles might be improved by playing the harmonica. Doctors and nurses treated Doug Martin for a severe COPD flare-up in 2015 while he lay in his hospital bed. 

5. How long does it take to learn to play the harmonica?

If you practice regularly, you will take about three months to master essential pop songs. After six to twelve months, you will be able to improve your technique and master bending notes (a critical ability for getting the most out of a harmonica). 

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Learning to play harmonica can be a simple process, but finding the right lessons is not straightforward, as it is a highly versatile yet simple instrument. Performing on the harmonica without losing breath is also a complex process. 

You can go for online classes or watch YouTube videos for quick lessons, and I’ve already provided some practical methods in a previous post. 

I hope this article on how to not pass out playing harmonica is useful for you! Feel free to comment with suggestions to best match your requirements. 

Mark Dalio

Mark Dalio

Mark is a tech-obsessed serial entrepreneur who also enjoys reading and writing. He has a strong urge to keep learning and talking about technology, which led him to become an author. Mark has co-founded two successful startups, one of which was acquired in 2018.

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