March 16, 2017 at 3:44 pm #8428ConParticipant
Firstly I want to say that I’m delighted to find this forum. I have already gathered a wealth of useful information here so thanks guys 🙂
I’m a 20ish guy living in Ireland. I have been reading here for a few weeks but only now found the time to join.
I’ve owned and played melodicas for a number of years now – I have been playing piano and keyboards since I was in primary (elementary) school, and have been collecting instruments to experiment with their sounds since around the same time. I have always had a deep love for wind instruments and I’m competent with flutes and similar instruments, but have never been able to dedicate myself to those and other blown instruments regardless of how much I like their sound. I wanted to find “MY” instrument – one that I could specialize in and focus on. While I find key-playing second nature, I’m not actually all that fond of piano music, and synthesizers have always been more of a “tool” to me.
When I acquired my first melodica – a generic 32 key bright plastic-y affair – it was to practice and write for piano and keyboard. At the time I was uninterested in the harsh, cheap sound I was producing and the childish appearance and did not view in as something I wanted to incorporate into any of my music. My search for the “perfect instrument” continued…
Almost all online searches I made resulted in the likes of “Jurassic Park Melodica Cover” or other videos depicting the instrument as, well, sh#te 🙁
Around a year ago, however, my opinion was completely flipped. After finding out that jazz pieces for sax or clarinet sounded quite nice though my melodica if I put in a little more effort, I decided to give the little plastic thing a chance. I started bringing it to jams and found that it could be used to great effect in reggae and trad sessions with friends, even if it did generate a few doubtful smirks and groans. With a renewed interest I began to look more into the melodica as an “actual” instrument. I listened to all of Augustus Pablo’s albums and any other melodica music I could find. Re-listening to Gorillaz was the cataclysm that pushed me over the edge. This little-respected instrument was the one for me.
It should have been a no-brainier from the start, really. I already know keys, yet I wanted to produce a wind instrument sound. I wanted something somewhat unique, but versatile enough to be played in most of my favorite styles of music. It’s also highly portable and quite intriguing to look at. Considering these factors, I came to a firm conclusion: I want to be a melodica player!.
For the past year I have been focusing entirely on melodica. I listen to an hour or so of melodica music on the way to work everyday. Upgrading to a better instrument (Yamaha P37D), furthered my already high enthusiasm. I try to practice an hour everyday, as well as on my break at work if I get the chance. It’s quite a different experience than piano or keyboard, but I find it extremely enjoyable, far more than any other instrument I have learned or tried to learn. The sound I can now produce after a few months practice is extremely pleasing and I feel the haunting, reedy tone is the perfect representative of my “soul sound” (sorry for that cheeseball :D). I am very attached to my instrument and try to take it with me wherever I go in the hopes of getting a chance to practice or jam out.
When I play in public people are always intrigued – whether it be that the instrument is new to them, or that they didn’t know their childhood toy could sound so good! However, there are still plenty who would sadly still dismiss it. Thankfully I work in a record store where my colleagues are well acquainted with the likes of Pablo and Albarn, and have experienced “professional” melodica playing, but my wider circle of friends involved in music think I’m somewhat nuts…”Why would you want to play melodica?!”…”It’s just an accordion without the good parts”… “Not that thing again, Christ almighty!”…
Thankfully the tides are starting to turn. People like Jon Batiste are pushing the melodica as a serious instrument, and I think it will only go upwards from here. Hopefully more people will fall in love as I have with what I have come to realize is a really wonderful musical instrument with a lot of potential!
I know that was an eyeful but it’s relieving to express my enthusiasm for melodica without getting weird looks! I hope to make some more posts as the notion strikes me, I would really like to share my experiences with the Suzuki Andes, but thats all for now!
ConorMarch 16, 2017 at 4:48 pm #8429Alan BrintonParticipant
Thanks for sharing your experience, Conor. I’ll be interested in what you have to say about the Andes.March 17, 2017 at 3:50 pm #8477Paul DurhamParticipant
Welcome, Conor. Those of us who have played for a long time are also glad that this great instrument is finally coming to a new level of respect! Keep up the good work and Happy St. Patrick’s day.March 17, 2017 at 7:19 pm #8478jazzman1945Participant
Con, welcome to the real melodica research lab! I’m very happy that one more musician realized that melodica is a great tool for self-expression !March 18, 2017 at 12:22 pm #8481LowboyParticipant
That is about the most enthusiastic endorsement of the melodica I have heard in a long time. Great to have you here. Let hear some music when you get a chance.
LowboyMarch 18, 2017 at 12:54 pm #8483LowboyParticipant
I trust you have listened to our own Melodica-Me’s Monsters of Melodica? If not, hold on to your hat and take a listen. You can find many of the recordings on YouTube. Search on Monsters of Melodica.
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