How to Learn the Melodica
Melodica from 6 years
Learning to play the melodica is generally recommended for children from the age of 6. As a form of instruction, small group lessons have proven successful in this age group. Individual lessons are of course also possible, but group lessons have some advantages from a pedagogical point of view.
The autodidactic way to learn the melodica is also feasible for beginners at any time. Basic knowledge of sheet music would be recommended in this case, but is not a requirement.
After the early musical education or from the age of 6, the melodica is ideally suited for the introduction to elementary instrumental playing. The melodica is an easy-to-play wind instrument and the tone production on the small “piano keyboard” is very easy for children to learn.
Not a purely children’s instrument
To describe the melodica as a purely children’s instrument, however, falls short of the mark, since the melodica is also played by young people and adults. It is also used from time to time in popular music (jazz, reggae, folk, pop, etc.), for example by the reggae group UB40, the rock band The Hooters, the jazz musicians Don Cherry and Monty Alexander or the pop group Depeche Mode.
As a typical beginner’s instrument, however, the melodica is particularly suitable for children who later want to learn another keyboard instrument such as the accordion, piano or keyboard. As a so-called reed instrument, the melodica is related to the accordion and the harmonica, and its sound is also reminiscent of these instruments.
Three types of melodica are in use: the soprano melodica with a range from c1 to c2, the alto melodica with a range from f to f2 and the melodica piano with a range from f to e2. For elementary instrumental playing, the soprano and alto melodicas are primarily used.
In addition to the mouthpiece, the scope of delivery of various melodicas also includes a blowing tube. This makes it possible for children to place the instrument in front of them on the table while playing – similar to playing the keyboard.
The melodica was developed in 1959 by the world-renowned accordion and harmonica manufacturer Hohner and has proven itself as a beginner’s instrument primarily in the field of music education; but has also – as already described above – found its place in popular music and is increasingly popular with young people and adults.
First steps in elementary instrumental playing
Like the recorder and the glockenspiel, the melodica is an excellent instrument for the first steps in elementary instrumental playing. The melodica offers children an uncomplicated way to gain their first experiences with notes, rhythms and finger dexterity without having to learn difficult instrumental techniques.
What are the advantages of this instrument ?
- Easier learning of note values and note names
- Better idea of melody and rhythm
- More fun through an action-oriented approach
- Easy blowing, no overblowing possible, like with the recorder
- Multi-voice playing possible
- Easy transition to accordion playing when playing a melodica with a fixed mouthpiece
- Easy transition to piano and keyboard playing when playing a melodica with tube mouthpiece
- Optimal for group lessons