How to Play the Melodica


Learn how to play the Melodica in this free music lesson video from a professional multi-instrument musician.

Series Summary

The melodica does not get much respect in the world of musical instruments. Often used to teach children the fundamentals of music--such as chords and scales—it is often perceived as a toy with limited use in serious recordings. But a glimpse at the roll call of professional musicians who have featured it on their albums should dispel this tragic lack of appreciation: Donald Fagan of Steely Dan, Ian Curtis of Joy Division, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, the list goes on and on. While these artist don’t play the instrument on every song, one star has taken the melodica to the front of the mix on the majority of his records: Augustus Pablo, mastermind of some of the most influential reggae records ever made. Ask almost any dub aficionado and they will name Pablo’s “East of the River Nile” or “King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown” among their favorite dub albums. British reggae producer Adrian Sherwood also features the melodica prominently on many of his On-U Sound productions.

In this free series of music lesson videos, you will learn to play basic chords on this unusual instrument. You blow it like a horn but play it like a keyboard, giving you a head start on learning to play both families of instruments. Our expert demonstrates finger placement and then plays each chord. Easy to learn the basics? Sure, but don’t let that stop you from playing it on your first dub reggae record. Or pop record. Or soul record. More melodica recordings will make the world a better place.

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