What is Bending?
Perhaps, like I once did, you don't even know what it means to "bend" a note on the harmonica.
I'll explain that, then discuss the different LEVELS of bending ability.
Doing these things will help you understand the importance of bending notes to your harp playing!

"Bending" is the act of changing the shape of the inside of your mouth in a way that turns the note you are playing...into a new note!
This is mostly done with very specific movements of the tongue.

What Bending is Not
Bending is not simply a tone effect.
Unfortunately, I often encounter people who enjoy playing blues or rock harp, who think that they are bending, but they're really not.
These folk can change the tone of a note with their tongue — but it's still pretty much the same note.

When you bend a note, you create an entirely different note (not just the same note with different tone).
Bending a note on the harmonica is like playing a note on the piano, then moving your finger to a different nearby key, and playing that key.
And the notes that you get by bending are the most important notes on the harmonica — the "Blues Notes!"

Fortunately, most of the "almost bending" players whom I work with are able to learn to "really bend" very, very, quickly.
And are they excited and happy when they do!
Going from "kind of bending" to real bending is like turbo-charging every song, riff, lick, and solo you know...almost instantly!
And this leads me to a short rap on "Levels of Bending."