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Why a Harmonica?

Why a Harmonica for the Musical Noob(newbie)?

Article By Christiane Wolters

E.J. Gold recommends to use a harmonica as your first instrument. There are several good reasons for it.

  • --It is small. You can carry it anywhere in your pocket.
  • --It is, cheap, inexpensive and affordable. I mean, virtually anyone can afford at least one harmonica.

Should you get a cheap one? Well, the consensus and recommendation was, no. If you only have enough money for one, get a Hohner diatonic C harmonica, special 20.

  • --It is very easy to get a sound out of. (I mean, have you ever tried to play a saxophone or even a clarinette?) Since you will be encouraged by the experience, rather than frustrated by attempting to play other instruments, you are more likely to continue.
  • --It is a wind instrument and requires you to learn proper breathing. "Breathing affects how your music gets through - transmits. What gets transmitted is the quality of the note", says EJ. In a non wind instrument, you are actually somewhat removed from it.
  • Important safety tips:

    • Do not blow too hard.
    • Do not share wind instruments.
    • Don't sit on it.

    The pictures below are not intended as a full tutorial, but I did find them very useful to get started.

    Here is a picture of a diatonic C harmonica.

    This here is a chromatic harmonica.

    This is how you hold a harmonica.


    You can both breathe in and get a sound... well as breathe out and get a sound. In fact, you need to do both.

    EJ sounding out the key, and here he is looking at the list of keys compatible with a particular track.

    Playing and giving space...

    Giving time....and playing.

    You need to feel the rhythm and listen to the other players.

    "You will need to cultivate a sense of timing and what is appropriate in the space".

    Now, isn't that true ....

    And how do you get to Carnegie Hall?