Reply To: Improving the perception of the melodica

Alan Brinton

I believe significant progress has been made on several fronts over the past eight years or so. Search “melodica” on You Tube and compare what you get with what you were getting five years ago. It used to be almost all musical junk by rank amateurs. Today, serious performances by talented musicians are fairly common, and they are getting the Internet hits.

See what has been going on in Japan, where many talented players, many of them two-handed players are playing in groups, participating in public concerts, with skillful players mentoring promising students, and consciously pursuing an agenda of securing recognition for the keyboard harmonica as a serious musical instrument — in a country in which it’s roots have been mainly in the education of young children.

I was somewhat in agreement with the comment you made about the need for a super star, Kevin, but now I think something better has happened, namely the emergence of professional musicians who are focusing their attention on the melodica and producing really classy audio and video recordings, as illustrated by, for example, those recently posted in our Members Recordings forum.

Melodica World has, in my opinion, been a contributing factor, with its unique culture and its truly international mix of members, its openness to all musical genres, and the support and inspiration it offers for all levels of players. It’s great that musicians who have recently noticed the melodica want to be part of this community.

Let’s also reflect on the work of some of our own longstanding musical professionals who have been pursuing interesting and productive agendas with the melodica. No need to mention their names.

I’m not convinced that an emphasis on composition for the melodica is the way to go. It’s fine and should not be discouraged. Perhaps it makes more sense in the classical tradition. But it can sometimes seem to be predicated on the perception of the instrument being a novelty instrument. It can also raise the bar in relation to the quality of the composition.

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