4.57 out of 5
7 reviews on Udemy

Groove like Ritchie Valens – play La Bamba on harmonica now!

Learn to play this Ritchie Valens piece and join or lead a session - get my easy step by step guide, I'll show how...
Ben Hewlett
398 students enrolled
English [Auto-generated]
play La Bamba on your harmonica. You will also be able to learn all the songs in the INSTANT HARMONICA series so look out for the courses coming up

INSTANT HARMONICA – play the wonderful La Bamba right now!

Respect and thanks to Ritchie for writing/adapting this amazing song.

If you have a tune that you would like me to teach please message me.

Take this course and play the tune instantly. No musical experience needed.

You will pick it up straight away without needing any music skills. This is easy to play and really fun to learn. You will be proud of your achievements and happy with the results.

‘INSTANT HARMONICA’ is a new series of courses where you learn one tune per course. You will find it is taught in a friendly and encouraging manner and most importantly is it taught v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. 

Ben Hewlett is a very experienced music teacher who is able to be very patient and methodical. Each lecture will introduce you to the next group of notes – usually just 4 new notes and that’s it.

This method is very easy for you to pick up the tunes as they are repeated over and over again until you have got it. You can even re-run the video if you find it useful.

Take one course and learn your favourite tune. The try another. Remember you can always get your money back if you wish but otherwise you have lifetime access to the course.

Imagine how amazing it will feel when you whip out your harmonica and play this tune – your friends and family will carry you shoulder high in triumph. Hopefully they don’t carry you out of town and dump you in the river, but hey, swimming’s good as well.

The health benefits of playing the harmonica are well documented – google it. Your lungs get exercised, your lung capacity increases, aerobic movement is good for you, playing music makes you smarter they say. 

You will have fun on your own and with your friends, and more oxygen to the brain will make you think you are having a good time so it’s all good.


Respect and thanks to all the artists for writing and performing these amazing song that you want to learn.

The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Research, Education, Libraries and Archives) Regulations 2014 (extracts)

I quote:

 “Not more than 5% of a work may be copied under this section by or on behalf of an educational establishment in any period of 12 months, and for these purposes a work, which incorporates another work is to be treated as a single work. 

Fair dealing with a work for the purposes of private study does not infringe any copyright in the work.”


  • Any recordings used in my courses represent less than 5% of the entire work and are already in the public domain on YouTube.
  • Any written transcriptions are written by me or my team to promote the work and the artist and to facilitate students who want to learn more about their music.
  • Any audio backing tracks are written and recorded by me or my team to promote the work and the artist and to facilitate students who want to learn more about their music.

If you are a copyright holder and feel I have used too much of your work please contact me on benhewlett@me.com or 07973284366 and I will remove whatever you feel is inapropriate without question..

Introduction and sing through

Introduction and sing through

In this lecture we will learn how to sing all the way through the tune, work out some of the phrasing, and try to get the melody into our brains.

This is the best way to learn a song – by singing it.

Don’t forget to give us some honest written feedback and some stars, as many as you think we deserve, and I look forward to hearing about your success.

The chart is not in this lecture - it's in lecture 3.

Piano chords

In this lecture I demonstrate how the bass line is very simple and chords are also very simple.

Notice how many other tunes have the same chord sequence as this.

Tunes like Summer Loving, Tequila, Wild Thing, Summertime Blues, Louie Louie and quite a few more.

The chorus

Expanding the chorus

In this lecture we expand on playing the chorus.

Using the charts provided, you will be able to play the simple notes of the chorus in many different ways including chords and notes.

The most important thing is to get the rhythm correct, everything else will then fall into place.

In this lecture you will find:

  • the three backing tracks at 70% of the normal speed
  • the full chart
  • the A section, which we are working on at the moment
We jammin'

In this lecture we are simply having fun playing what we know about the tune so far.

The attached audio files are at the normal speed.

So now you have two speeds to choose from and three versions of the tune

  • first is the cover version is with vocals
  • second is the instrumental version which has no vocals, like a karaoke track
  • third is a piano guide that you might find useful I think

Learning the component parts of the song

B section

Here comes the B section, as I have called it.

This is the first part of the music that you hear when you listen to the original.

The B section and the C section are the same.

Try to get the timing right and everything else will fall into place.

This type of tune defies being written down because it has that Latin feel to it which you can only get by listening to the original or any good version played live.

Try to feel it. I was told to 'be more Latin' when I was in Cuba trying to learn Cuban dance.

My Uncle and Grandfather were both Church of England Vicars so give me a break.

Anyway - be more Latin. That's my advice.

Dance and play at the same time, move with the groove.

D section

This is the D section.

It is somewhat tricky and please remember it follows the C section immediately without any gaps.

The words in Spanish run very quickly with the music and it will probably help if you can speak Spanish.

As you can tell I don’t and sometimes I stumble over the words as they seem to run into each other. Maybe I should be more Latin.

I am sure you will get it fairly quickly.

I should remind you that the system I useful slowing down music in order to learn how to play better is a software program called ‘Transcribe!’

It is one that I have become familiar with but I believe there are many others available.

Section H

Now we come to the H section.

This is the only part of verse that has an extra piece added and it changes rhythm and feel.

Please take a listen to the original and to my version to learn how it works.

The best way to learn this is to sing it very slowly and then to try to play it in three sections.

The phrase is repeated three times so you can learn it phrase by phrase.

The whole tune

Whole Tune (vocal version)

Now that you have learnt all of the component parts it’s time to play the whole tune.

This lecture uses the vocal version to give you some support.

It is certainly much easier to play with this version than the instrumental version.

So try to play the tune using the backing tracks at slow or fast speed and then you can try to improvise a little bit as well.

If you make a mistake just keep going and we will tell the audience you are improvising.

Whole Tune (Instrumental version)

In this lecture we will do the same thing but with the instrumental version.

You can see me making some mistakes as the structure of the song - it's not 100% in my memory yet. I need to sing it more - as well as becoming more Latin.

This is something we all have to study and playing along with the original will certainly help.

If you can read music the best way is to follow the written music, that way you will not make any mistakes. Probably.


I hope you have enjoyed learning this amazing yet simple tune with me; I think it is a very exciting party piece which never fails to entertain people.

It is the sort of tune that everybody knows and wants to sing along with so you will be the life and soul of the party once you have learnt how to play it comfortably. Don’t forget to give us some written feedback and some stars, as many as you think we deserve, and I look forward to hearing about your success and seeing you in the next instant Harmonica course. My spell checker wrote 'Chanukah course'. It's up to you.

You can view and review the lecture materials indefinitely, like an on-demand channel.
Definitely! If you have an internet connection, courses on Udemy are available on any device at any time. If you don't have an internet connection, some instructors also let their students download course lectures. That's up to the instructor though, so make sure you get on their good side!
4.6 out of 5
7 Ratings

Detailed Rating

Stars 5
Stars 4
Stars 3
Stars 2
Stars 1
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee


1 hours on-demand video
Full lifetime access
Access on mobile and TV
Certificate of Completion