Marc Breitfelder: International Blues Challenge winner

In 2011, Marc Breitfelder, our harmonica instructor, wrote a piece of history in becoming the first european harp player ever to win the International Blues Challenge (IBC), the world's largest blues competition. And up to today, Marc and his long time pal Georg Schröter (vocals, piano) are still the only european musicians to run away with the prestigious award (category «solo/duo») from the United States, the home of the blues. 

Marc also twice won the German Blues Award (Best blues duo 2010, Best harmonica player 2016), the German and Baltic Blues Challenges (2009) and the John Lennon Talent Award (1995). In 1993, he was 1st prize winner in the categories «blues/rock» and «jazz/melody» at the Hohner World Harmonica Festival in Trossingen, Germany. 

In his career spanning nearly forty years, he has played 3.500 concerts in more than 30 countries, has 20 Cds under his belt, has participated in dozens of recording sessions and has given numerous workshops all over Europe. Marc - may be the most accomplished former student of Steve Baker, our previous harmonica teacher - has developed a unique playing style, incorporating overblows and overdraws in blues, rock, jazz, folk and country. Being a master of the «Mississippi saxophone», he is also versatile on the chromatic harmonica.

Marc's homepage

The course: an introduction to modern playing  

Marc's course will be aimed at players who want to tighten up their technique, broaden their repertoire and boost their self confidence. Students should therefore be able to play clear single notes with good intonation. Besides working on improving bending skills with the pucker and the tongue block embouchures, and learning how to articulate clearly, the class will study the basics of harmony as an introduction to modern ways of playing. 

Topics will include some or all of the following: 

  • Improving your sound: how to hold the harp, breathing, air column and resonance chamber, pucker vs tongue block, intonation and building tone. 
  • Bending: controlled note bending, the tongue positions needed to bend accurately, direct bends, play the overblow on hole #6. 
  • Articulation: how and where to place accents, timing and rhythm, phrasing and how to make it swing. 
  • Positions and how they work: cross harp or second position, first and third positions for folk and blues. 
  • Vibrato and other essential effects: the different types of vibrato and how to create them, enclosure and hand effects, tongue blocked intervals (octaves and other intervals), playing “dirty”. 
  • Course language: english, german or both, as required.
  • Musical requirements: 
beginners, intermediate and advanced players accepted. Students should be able to play clear single notes with good intonation. They should also be able, to some extent, to bend notes on the diatonic harp. Theory background not required. 
  • Please bring: among all of your harps, you must have a harmonica in A.

Marc on YouTube