The gift of music is what keeps us youthful at heart. There are few joys that surpass the satisfying thrill of learning to play an instrument and reaping the rewards of practice and commitment.
As we age sometimes we get down on ourselves. These old joints aren’t what they used to be and maybe our memories aren’t exactly as sharp as they were when we were young. It’s time to embrace the salt and pepper hair and not let it hold us back from the gift of music.
There are several instruments with a learning curve and initial complexity level that make them perfect for those among us that are a bit more time-tested and experienced in their years. The Ukulele, piano, and flutes are a few popular options for those that might just be getting started with their musical adventures in their later years. The harmonica however is arguably the best instrument to learn at 50 and with good reason!
The harmonica is one of those rare things in life that almost anyone can enjoy even without any experience. Unlike other instruments that require their players to learn complex scales and chords to start playing in key, harmonicas are designed in specific keys such as E, A, G, and D. This means that no matter what note you play on your instrument will be in key.
The mouth harp, as it is also known, is easy to pick up and start learning yet offers the player progressive layers of complexity to aim for as they hone their skills. One of its main selling points is its lightweight and portability allowing you to carry it with you wherever you go. Its pocket-sized nature allows for ample opportunity to practice.
Why the Harmonica is the Best to Learn
It’s commonly expressed that music is healing. There may be some truth to that timeless cliché. Playing the harmonica has been found to be especially beneficial for aging individuals’ physical and mental well-being. Who knew that something the size and shape of a chocolate bar could actually be essential to maintaining our vigor and healthy constitution in the autumn of our lives?
Lung and Heart
Playing the harmonica doesn’t require a tremendous amount of breath to start playing beautiful music. Playing helps strengthen your diaphragm and develop lung control. Learning to master the harmonica is like a healthy work-out routine for your lungs that encourages you to take rich full inhales and exhales.
This increased circulation provides greater oxygen flow to your heart and vital organs. Supplemented flow may aid greatly in those suffering from heart disease and COPD to diabetes. In our older age sometimes we find ourselves in a state of stagnation. Playing the harmonica can be the much-needed jump-start to get our juices flowing.
Noticeable reductions in blood pressure, as well as regulated heart rate, have been observed in older harmonica players. While the harmonica may not be some kind of cure-all panacea for all that ails you, it’s potential heart and lung benefits are well worth the investment.
Mental and Emotional
Aging comes with many physical struggles in addition to the toll it takes on our minds. Many players express decreased stress and anxiety levels and a marked increase in quality of life. Playing the harmonica and tapping into the therapeutic qualities of music and creativity can help shine light through the curtains of depression brought on by the reality of the aging process.
Many players are thrilled to discover that playing harmonica renews a youthful sense of excitement to learning while decreasing feelings of social isolation and alienation. The harmonica is simple to learn and immediately engaging. A new player can pick up their instrument and promptly start playing along with their favorite tunes. Never underestimate the healing potential of having fun.
Facial Paralysis and Palsy
Correlations have been made between playing the harmonica and increased facial mobility in patients that have suffered from a stroke, palsy, or Parkinson’s disease. Conclusive research hasn’t discovered the how-and-why of this benefit but it’s speculated that is related to increased oxygen levels in the brain combined with facial muscle memory training.
50 and Beyond
With the plethora of health benefits and the uplifting effect music has on the mind, there are certainly quite a few notable advantages of learning to play the harmonica. There is no age group that holds a monopoly on reaping the benefits of playing the harmonica. Many people enjoy playing their mouth harps well into their later years.
Music has the ability to teleport us to familiar times not too long ago or take us on a tour of worlds unknown and ripe for exploration. Aging doesn’t mean we hang up our spirit of adventure and put our dreams to bed. Rather, our later years are an opportunity to pick up hobbies and keep our thinking faculties sharp through artistic expression.
The harmonica complements many genres of music such as blues, jazz, country, bluegrass, and rock and roll. There is sure to never be a drought of music to keep jamming to. Harmonica is the perfect accompaniment or lead, so whether you get the old band back together or you just want to play along with the radio, you’re in luck.
Hohner Marine Band 1896 Harmonica
Maybe you’re wondering where to start? Hohner has without a doubt been the global leader in harmonicas for over a century. Their Marine Band 1896 harmonica brings a classic tone that calls to mind classic Americana and Chicago blues. This harmonica is perfect for amateur or expert players alike. It shines with solid and aesthetically pleasing construction highlighted by a pearwood comb and brass read. It sings with a bright raspy tone sure to put a smile on your face and get your feet tapping.
You’re certainly not going to break the bank with this affordable instrument but you are also getting a rich full experience that’s certain to bring you years of enjoyment. There is a reason that Hohner hasn’t changed much about this harp in over a hundred years. It’s a classic entry to the world of harmonicas that carries a timeless sound. You can pick one of these up in many different keys too so whether you want to play the blues or belt out a little Credence Clearwater Revival, you’re in luck.
The Music Never Stops
Just because you’ve reached the landmark age of 50 doesn’t mean that the music has to stop flowing from your heart. In fact, we’ve seen why playing music just might be exactly what your heart needs! It is literally never too late to start learning to play the harmonica. So what are you waiting for?