Introducing the Melodica
The melodica is a fun instrument with an interesting history. It began when Mathias Hohner, a German musician and instrument inventor, traveled to Japan. He heard the mouth organ called the "sho" and believed that he could improve on the design. Through a series of trial and error, he was wildly successful. He brought us the harmonica and the accordion. Improvements and modifications were made in Japan, and Hohner, not to be outdone also invented the melodica.
The melodica is very useful for a number of different applications. In Asia it is very common as a child's classroom instrument, especially for teaching basic keyboard skills and music theory. It is popular in Jazz. It is a novelty instrument for pianists. Because it is lightweight, portable and affordable, it is especially useful for teaching children keyboarding skills. The best part? No batteries!
A Wind Instrument
This brings us to the second aspect of the melodica, which is that it is a member of the reed family. The volume and articulation can be controlled by the mouth, although better articulation can be achieved with the fingers on the keys. It takes a lot of breath support to play long phrases. It takes more air to play louder. Gaining experience and practice with these skills will set the stage for learning other wind (and brass) instruments as the child advances in music. So there really are a lot of useful applications for music educators.
For the melodica enthusiast, there certainly is room for pursuing more professional endeavors. Jon Batiste is a professional Jazz musician who specializes in the instrument. Also, check out the Tokyo Melodica Orchestra, who specialize in arranging classical music for the instrument. The man on the far right is playing a bass melodica.
Whether the instrument is new to you or old hat, I hope this overview has been a fun look into an often overlooked instrument. My kids have had a BLAST playing with ours. It has been a fun way to shake up their regular piano lessons and give them a new way to practice (and hear!) their songs.
Enter below to win a melodica!
No I had not heard of the melodica before
I have never heard of it but it is super cool!
I have never heard of a melodica but it looks cool! Thanks for sharing! kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.
I have never heard of it before.
I have never heard of this before. Sounds awesome!
I havent heard of it before, completely new to me.
I’ve never heard of the Melodica before but I think it’ s great that it’s useful in teaching basic keyboard functions. Great giveaway!
I have not heard of this before. I have a granddaughter who studies piano. I think this is interesting.
I have not heard of it but think it would be wonderful for my musical grandson!
I have never heard of this before. It is really neat and a great idea.
No I had not heard of the melodica before.
The melodica is one of the most entertaining instruments! I’ve jammed with other musicians including one who played melodica. It’s a great alternative to trying to haul a piano or accordion around!
How cool! While it is somewhat validating to know that I’m not the only one who hadn’t heard of the melodica, I am more glad to see that it is being used. I’d love to see more people using it. Thanks for sharing!
I haven’t heard of this before.
I have never heard of the Melodica before, but it sounds awesome! My kids would definitely enjoy it.
Oh I have never heard of this before. How neat!!! Oh our little one is so into music…he would go nuts over this!
I have never heard of this instrument before; very interesting. Thanks for sharing!