Some years ago, David Harp told me about his work with the harp and respiratory therapy, the general idea being that playing harmonica helps you breathe better.  I listened at the time with polite but not very intense interest.  After all, what I cared about what how good the harp sounded, not so much what it was doing for my health. 

As I grow older, though, I’m beginning to think that the stuff David was talking about is more and more important. When I did a seminar in London last week for the National Harmonica League, I noticed that the people in the room–a wide range of ages and both genders–generally looked pretty fit, certainly more so than the population at large.  And when I go to harmonica conventions like SPAH, what I see mostly are people whose weight is under control (and whose breathing is more so). 

Playing harmonica is a physical activity, sometimes intensely so, and if you’re playing with any intensity at all it aerates the lungs pretty effectively.  I can’t prove that it makes you healthier, but that’s what the evidence of my eyes tells me.

Like I said, the older I get, the more I appreciate stuff that keeps me healthy, especially if it’s something I enjoy.  Luckily for me, harmonica seems to fall into that bag.