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Harmonicas for Health

Playing the harmonica can help improve your breathing

You don't have to be a musician. You don't even have to know how to read music. If you have a song in your heart and an interest in trying a tiny instrument to make a big difference in your health and wellbeing, then you're ready to learn how to play the harmonica. 


It may seem counter-intuitive to suggest a wind instrument to help those with respiratory disease or other breathing issues. But we all know that maintaining lung power and capacity is a priority. When you pair breathing exercises with playing the harmonica ... now that's where the fun and the benefits begin!

"I started the lesson feeling trepidation. Now I am excited to do it!"
--Harmonicas for Health student, Colchester, VT


Here's what's happening: While you're rooty-toot-tooting away on the harmonica, you're also exercising the muscles that your lungs need to become more strong and efficient at doing their job: Pumping air in and out, strengthening your ability to cough to remove fluids, and helping you feel a little stronger and more able and active.


Who can benefit from playing the harmonica: 

According to IU Health, Cardiopulmonary Rehab specialists at Bloomington Hospital in Indiana, patients with a variety of health issues have benefitted from learning to play the harmonica, including those with:

  • COPD

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Asthma

  • Pulmonary Fibrosis

  • Sleep apnea

  • Parkinson's disease

  • Muscular dystrophy

  • ALS

  • Chronic pain

  • Depression, anxiety, and stress

  • Tobacco use

  • Memory loss

  • Learning disabilities


How playing the harmonica can help improve your breathing:

Harmonicas are uniquely successful in helping encourage belly breathing and they help strengthen lungs because participants inhale and exhale through small holes to create tones or musical notes. String the right notes together and you have a song!

- It helps you reclaim control of your breathing. By exercising your breathing muscles, you can breathe more easily and with less effort. When you play the harmonica on a regular basis, you exercise your diaphragm, the intercostal muscles in your rib cage, and back and shoulder muscles ... and your smile muscles, because your lips are getting a workout as well! 
- It increases your ability to keep your lungs clear. With stronger muscles, you will be better able to more productively cough to remove fluids

- It makes active, deep breathing exercises fun. Playing the harmonica involves blowing and drawing breath through specific holes to make musical notes. String a few notes together and you have a song -- and you have also exercised the muscles that enable you to make the best use of your lung capacity.


How to get started

I'll work with you to help you build a belly-breathing habit as you learn how to play your favorite songs on the harmonica. With a little bit of coaching, you'll be playing your favorite tunes in no time -- and looking forward to building lung strength that can help make other activities more enjoyable. 



  • $50/hour for up to two people. I come to your location for private lessons within and around most areas of Chittenden County, Vermont. (A small fee may apply for further travel – let’s talk!) Quantity discounts available for groups.

  • Don't have a harmonica? You can purchase one in class, ranging in price from $5 to $41 + tax.


Contact me for more information about setting up a lesson!

Phone: (802) 922-3616



Read more about the benefits of a Harmonicas for Health program

"Why harmonicas are the best medicine"
"COPD and Harmonicas: Music for Your Lungs"

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