An Ideal First Instrument – The Harmonica
Knowing absolutely nothing about the harmonica other than blowing in, sucking out, and sliding it left to right and back again across the lips, I have discovered it to be a versatile, harmonious instrument. While I understand that playing with real skill would require years of practice, in just a few days you will be able to perform some recognizable tunes while have a good time. If you can’t read music, the harmonica is ideal as you read signs instead, with your harmonica already in the particular key. As long as your ears can pick up a melody or your mind can design background music, your home, office, backyard, and wilderness hikes will soon be filled with bends and riffs.
I have played the piano since I was in the third grade. Although the lessons only lasted a little over a year as my teacher moved away, I loved the keys, the challenge, and the fun of coordinating left and right hands while transferring notes on a page to movement across the keys. Although practicing has been sporadic, including dedicated weeks of hitting the keyboard every day to long droughts of nothingness, when I return to my dedicated mode, I just love the relaxation and mind-hand coordination that the piano brings.
My husband is also a great lover of music. Unfortunately, he did not take piano lessons or take any instrument classes in school and so he missed out on this adventure. Desiring to learn to play now, he considered the guitar but felt his fingers were too wide and rigid for quick fingerings over the strings. The piano appeared too complicated and so he finally settled on the harmonica. Our daughter had given him one as a gift a few birthdays ago and so we drug it out of the closet and he began to play. I do mean play because even with a novice, it is difficult to blow a harsh note unless you are really working at huffing and puffing like crazy. Nice music flows on the first blow.
Now maybe this flow is not quite the accustomed pattern of notes, but the sound is still nice. When played along with a recording of a song it can blend very well when right key is in synch. Several songs entered his repertoire, a favorite being the birthday tune, now played at all family celebrations. The grandkids love his harmonica with our little granddaughter using Grandpa’s chest as a pillow as his tunes lull her to sleep. Our grandson wants to become a harmonica player, too, however his blasts blew out the reeds and several notes no longer play on the original harmonica. Searching extensively I found a music store near my sister’s and the chief instructor guided me through everything I needed to know about buying good harmonicas plus many extra tips on the side. One included a slow warm-up on the notes with no food in the mouth a la grandson who created the breakdown of the first harmonica. With new harmonicas in main keys in hand, I exited the music store excited about my purchase and newly gained knowledge to share with my husband, plus I had two children’s harmonicas so that Grandpa’s will remain functional. In addition to giving them a start in music, we now have a trio performing at our house.
If you are thinking about taking up an instrument the harmonica comes highly recommended. They are fairly cheap, although the price rises with quality, portable, and can blend into just about any recording as added background instrumentalization. If you are searching for the ideal gift for spouse, children, or grandkids, a harmonica is perfect. Books with directions for playing are easily accessible plus there are many YouTube videos with instructions and lessons to improve your talent. Happy melodies to you! The gift of music is a great one.