Reply To: What inspired you to play the harmonica?

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#9822
PattiPatti
Participant

Hello Everyone-
Great topic! I’m enjoying reading about everybody’s path to this instrument. For my story, my grandfather played a little. He took his harmonica out rarely. But when he did it meant he was in a good mood and that was a good thing to see. The sound of the harmonica always appealed to me, maybe because of that. And I enjoyed music in general even though I didn’t know anything about how it was organized. I grew up outside Chicago in the late sixties and seventies, so that exposed me to a lot of great music. Fast forward some years later and my guitar playing ex husband bought a harmonica for himself that he left sitting out on the table one night. While cleaning and dusting I picked it up and began picking out simple tunes. I remember sitting there for hours and being kind of obsessed with it. I felt like I did pretty well with it and bought one for myself eventually. I could mimic what I heard sometimes and other times I was so off I threw it in a drawer and didn’t touch it for years. I didn’t understand music at all and was too busy to spend time figuring it out. Once in a great while if Billy Joel’s Piano Man came on the radio or some Neil Young, I could play along with it or play the simple tunes. Finally life got a little quieter. I was checking out YouTube, which was pretty new at the time. I did a search for harmonica and OMG , what came back to me was the beginning of bringing me back in to playing in a way I never had before. Initially it was Christelle Berthon who was nice enough to show what kind of harmonica she was using. Lightbulb! There’s different keys!!!! Lol. I’ve been listening to everyone! Big Mama Thornton, Charlie Musselwhite, Lee Oskar, Howlin Wolf, Jimmy Reed, James Cotton, Cannned Heat, Kim Wilson, William Clarke, Rod Piazza, JJ Milteau. The list is endless, too many to list. And the lessons! Annie Raines, Ronnie Shellist, Ben Hewlett, David Barrett, Michael Rubin, Jason Ricci, Adam Gussow, Lee Sankey. And now Mitch Grainger. Many of these people have been very gracious in sharing their knowledge. And a great internet radio station is Radio Caprice Harmonica Blues. Love it. I get a lot of inspiration from the great variety they play. The ability to “Google it ” changed my life. I am blessed. Thank you!