Apart from the wonderful musical legacy that is the Blues, through to Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and Lee Brilleaux of Dr. Feelgood, the harmonica is a powerful musical instrument that enhances one’s memory. When your memory is sharpened, it makes further learning much easier — like learning a language, for example.
Besides being a great instrument that can relax your mind, the harmonica can also have many benefits for your health. Also known as the mouth organ, the harmonica is among the friendliest instruments for beginners to learn, and it’s easier to learn than most people think. It can produce a rich sound that other instruments cannot achieve, too. The harmonica can produce two or more notes or multiple intervals, which many other wind instruments cannot. It's also a primary instrument in many different genres, including blues, country, folk and rock music.
As well as being soothing, the harmonica can improve blood pressure levels and is helpful in therapies that deal with anxiety, stress, and depression. Other conditions that can be controlled by playing the harmonica include insomnia and attention deficit disorder. It's been noted that the harmonica can have considerable benefits on respiratory illnesses, such as asthma and bronchitis, as it trains your body how to breathe properly. By inhaling and exhaling properly, it can improve your breathing abilities and lead to an increase in the way your lungs can take in and store oxygen.
Interestingly, learning how to play the harmonica can be helpful for people 65 and older, as it has been proven to have a positive impact on the parts of the brain that control hearing, memory, and coordination. Musicians and harmonica players tend to outperform non-musical individuals when it comes to cognitive abilities so learning an instrument like the harmonica can also help to improve one’s IQ levels.
Both adult and young players can benefit from playing the harmonica, because it allows the mind to remain active and alert, which ultimately shapes and sharpens your memory. When your memory is enhanced, it makes learning a foreign language, verbal memory or storing complex information a lot easier. When learning how to play the harmonica, you train the parts of your brain that control motor skills to grow and become more active. Playing the harmonica also requires you to perform different tasks at the same time, such as breathing properly and controlling your rhythm and breathing, so that coordination skills are tuned (sorry).
As with many instruments, in order to learn how to play the harmonica professionally you have to be well organised, as well as having proper time management skills. Like artists, professional musicians have to learn how to use their time effectively, which leads to continuous self-improvement.
In order to be considered a great musician or harmonica player, you must learn how to count different rhythms and notes. The process of learning music theory also includes several mathematical concepts, such as fractions, that can be applied in real-life mathematical situations. Although the harmonica is relatively easy to pick up, you still need commitment and dedication to master it. Learning how to play the harmonica will take time and effort. Along the way, however, it will also result in instilled discipline, commitment and patience.
The sound produced by the harmonica, as well as the vibration produced, can have lasting effects on stress and anxiety, since endorphins are released by the body. Endorphins are the hormones responsible for low stress levels. The other nice thing about the harmonica is that it is small and portable, which means that you can play it anywhere at any time. It's also quite affordable in comparison to other instruments.
Ultimately, the harmonica is a great little instrument that you should definitely try out.