I like this topic. I started as a percussionist and moved to piano in the late sixties because I felt I could not express myself as I wanted. As the years accumulated, I have gone back to percussion and feel I can express myself, it all depends on your mind set to the music you want to create. I come from a Jazz background, but played in a lot of different types of musical groups. In the sixties I played a lot of latin Jazz, early seventies I moved more into progressive jazz. Once I left home and went out on my own I needed to pay the rent so I started playing in R & B bands so I could work in night clubs. I eventually moved into disco, pop, rock and even punk/new wave music. As I changed the music I performed, I always played it as I felt it should be played or my interpretation of how it should be played, which I feel is part of “my expression” I, like Lowboy owned and played the B3 and just about every keyboard popular during my time as a working musician. The Melodica never made it into the gig bag for me it was only a tool for ear training in the sixties and at that time I felt that the melodica was in the same class as the Kazoo with little to no expression possible. I did not pick up the melodica for almost 25 years and now I play it everyday. I now disagree that the melodica is a non expressive instrument, I do believe that expression can be achieved without special effects, but I strongly believe that if Mozart would have had a Moog synthesizer or Fender Rhodes with a wah-wah pedal he would have used it. When you hear a sound in your head the mind wants to create it and that is when expression is born, the instrument is only the tool. Does a better tool (instrument) create a better sound or help you with more expression, to an experience player more than often to a beginner almost never. I always tell everyone start on a cheap melodica and see if you like it before you jump in and wind up tossing a $500 Hammond melodion in the closet. I experiment quite a bit and most of the times I play the same song with many different melodicas to see which one I feel I can achieve the best performance. This method works for me, will it work for everyone else, probably not, just do what feels right.
Monsters of Melodica