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 Post subject: My story.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:02 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:52 pm
Posts: 7
Hello. I am 60 years of age and live near Seattle. I took up the harmonica in August of 2009 at my wife's urging. I was diagnosed with a pretty significant lung condition having lost almost 70% of my lung function. Playing the harmonica was supposed to help according to a news documentary she watched. At the time, I could not walk a flight of stairs without gasping for air. It was a pretty scary time for sure.

I am a lifelong hobbyist musician having studied clarinet and sax through my school years and then turned to vocal music as an adult, singing in church choirs and in a barbershop chorus and a eventually a quartet. At 50 years of age, I embarked on a life's goal of learning the piano. Ten years later, practicing several hours a day, it is starting to come together. My current instrument of choice is piano. It is my passion, my therapy, my creative outlet. I play a couple of gigs a month and have a great time.

The harmonica? Well, it couldn’t hurt and might be fun. So I joined the Harmonica Academy and started working through the lessons. It took me almost two months to get single notes and then another month to get to the end of Shenandoah without gasping for air. This wasn’t fun….it was a lot of work and effort. But the weeks and months passed and I kept working on it. It seemed to be getting a bit easier each week. Finally, on my six month anniversary with the Harmonica Academy, I recorded my first tune, Scotland the Brave. It is posted on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5goEX1M6CE

I didn’t blink during the whole song. I was terrified. Since then I have recorded several other tunes. You can view them all by searching on “ejp1949” on YouTube. It seems like it has been a few steps forward, then a few steps back. When I think I have the 2D bend down pretty well, it goes away for a while. Sometimes this is frustrating……but I have developed a passion for the harmonica. And….I am having fun with it.

The big news though, is that shortly after recording Scotland the Brave, I had a check up with my lung doctor. Let me tell you what he said when all of my lung capacity tests came back. He said, "I don't know what I am going to do with you. You are an abnomally. When people come in with the condition you have they don't get better. They deteriorate and within three years they are dead." Yes, my tests were better, not just a little, either. My lung capacity was up by almost 20%. I have been hovering between 45% and 50% function for almost a year. That alone is worth a few hours a week on the harmonica. I still can’t run up the stairs or do a lot of strenuous activity, but I seldom think about my breathing problems any more. I believe the harmonica had a lot to do with that. I have also been covered in prayer by those in my circle. One of my favorite Bible teachers, J. Vernon McGee, said, “When you pray to God for a harvest, He expects you to say Amen with a hoe.” Well, the harmonica has turned into my hoe.

So, now, about fifteen months into this adventure, I have become afflicted with a new disease. My friend David Thomas calls it GAS. Its full name is Gear Acquisition Syndrome. I fought this to no avail. What started out as a Golden Melody in C has become an almost full set of Seydel Blues Sessions, amplifiers, microphones, cables, camcorder, digital recorder……it seems the list is endless. Then, when I thought I was pretty much set, somebody flashed a picture of the Harrison B-Radical in front of me. I tried to resist with all my might, but I wasn’t strong enough. I put in an order for a C and G harp that will cost me more than my entire set of Seydels. I am guessing I will have them sometime in March 2011. I can hardly wait!

So, fellow sojourners, that’s my story and I’m sticking by it.

Harp On!


Last edited by Edward on Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: My story.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:38 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:40 pm
Posts: 1443
Location: Viborg, Denmark
Welcome to the club, Edward :)

Very interesting story - or stories! It is wellknown i think (at least amongst harp-players) that playing the harmonica is good for your lungkapacity, but it is very good to hear it from real life. Thank you!

I'm also a pianoplayer, but i had lessons already when i was 8 (and then again when i was 14). I was thaught in the old-fashioned way, so when i play i feel most comfortable with sheets. Then i can play everything. I became interested in the harp, when i was about 58 (5 years ago). I'm still not as good a harpplayer as i am a pianoplayer - but close, i think. And i like it much better, i'm more "free" on the harp and i'm not depending on sheets.

Btw. i'm also waiting for the B-radical (for more than a year actually....). I'm going to order this one now: http://www.turboharp.com/Products.asp?pid=59 . I try to play the harmonica chromatically - and i'm not a great fan of the chromatic harp, although i have several of them too.

Your playing is very good (and for such a short time it's very, very good), i just listened to a couple on Youtube besides the one you posted here. I also play "Stranger on the shore". I'll send you an invitation on Youtube. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: My story.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:04 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:54 pm
Posts: 1589
Location: Sussex, Wisconsin, USA
Hello, Edward.

Welcome to the Harmonica Club.

We are proud of your harmonica and health achievements in such a short time.

There have been several studies on the health benefits of playing the harmonica related to the increased lung capacity and useage.

Here are a few words of caution. Don't practice too much on the harmonica. This may sound silly, but practice no more than an hour a day, every day. If you feel tired, do less.

You will receive the same health benefits by practicing as little as 20 minutes a day, but anything more than an hour may not be healthy, and won't increase the benefits to your lungs.

When I went in for a physical exam (I'll be 61 in about a week), the doctor was busy, so I waited in the exam room. I got bored, so I started playing the harmonica (I like the Blues Sessions, also).

When the doctor arrived and took my blood pressure he noticed that it was higher than normal. I asked him if playing the harmonica would raise the BP. He said, certainly.

So, practice and have fun with the harmonica, but , don't overdo it.

John Broecker


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 Post subject: Re: My story.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:11 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 21, 2010 2:12 am
Posts: 182
Hi Edward,
I love your playing and for 6 months it's amazing. I didn't play anything i thought sounded like music until the 1 yr. mark. I see that we are neighbors sort of , i live in Spokane.
I have to tell you that was an inspiring story you told about your lung capacity improvement.
I have had asthma for about 30 years ( i am almost 62 ) and i can attest to the fact that the harmonica has helped my breathing a great deal. I used to use my inhalers several times a day and now i use one maybe every few weeks .
I always have at least one in my pocket and play all day every chance i get and my blood pressure is perfect ( 110 over 70 ) so i'm not sure i agree with the doctor . Playing always seems to calm me down unless i'm playing in public and then it could cause a heart attack for sure ! :lol:
Well nice to meet you and welcome to the club,
Oldguy


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 Post subject: Re: My story.
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:53 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:40 pm
Posts: 1443
Location: Viborg, Denmark
http://www.harpsy.com/#1

http://www.harmonicair.com/#55


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 Post subject: Re: My story.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:54 pm
Posts: 1589
Location: Sussex, Wisconsin, USA
Hello, Oldguy.

You are fortunate to have perfect blood pressure. I wish I could say that about myself.

You disagree with my doctor's statement that playing the harmonica will raise your blood pressure.

If you haven't already done this, try it:

Get a blood pressure reading, any time of day, write it down.

Play your harmonica for 20 minutes or more, taking breaks when you need to.

Get another blood pressure reading immediately after playing the harmonica fo 20 minutes. Write it down.

Compare the 2 readings. You'll probably find that the second reading is higher than the first reading.

Best Regards

John Broecker


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 Post subject: Re: My story.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:08 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:40 pm
Posts: 1443
Location: Viborg, Denmark
John, actually harmonicaplaying can make your bloodpressure go down. Not while you are playing. Because when you are playing it will raise - as any physical activity will do.

It is a fact that physcial activity will make your bloodpressure at rest go down. Ask the doctor :wink: - i think you misinterpreted him (of course your bloodpressure was too high just after playing - it should be).


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 Post subject: Re: My story.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:52 pm
Posts: 7
Knud, Thank you for your earlier comments and for the two links. I really enjoyed the Harmonicair video. I know from personal experience that the harmonica has strengthened my lungs. When my therapy started several years ago, I could not make it to the top of a flight of stairs without gasping for air. Now, I seldom even think about it as I am able to do most of my daily activities without giving breathing much of a thought. I am still limited with strenuous activitiies, but am able to walk at a moderate pace (~2.5 mph) for up to an hour without getting winded. From where I started, that is amazing. When I see musicians smoking, I just shake my head in disbelief. How can people, especially musicians, abuse their lungs that way? I guess you have to lose something before you can appreciate its specialness. I thank God every morning for "breath".


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 Post subject: Re: My story.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:39 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:50 pm
Posts: 673
@ Edward

Great life story there! So happy you're going to be around with us a long time!!

Was nice to read this too:

Code:
I didn’t blink during the whole song.

Reminds me, neither did Captain Ahab as he was going after that wail, er whale!

Harpoon On! :mrgreen:

@ Knud

Let us know when your TurboSlide arrives from Doc Antaki; mine is a Key of D.

Since I've been steadily working on Draw riffs/tunes for quite awhile -- It's a bit of a challenge to go back and think of where I can play mostly Blow tunes to get that tremelo effect. But that's just me.

Hope you like it!

Laters... 8)


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 Post subject: Re: My story.
PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:26 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:17 pm
Posts: 3
i have been suffering from asthma for some years and in dec 2010 i had a heart attack . I love to sing and i have been playing the guitar sine i was 22 i have played for church choir for ten years. in 2003 i gave up that may be that is why i developed asthma. but i have been desperate and searching for a cure for it in 2010 i decided to learn the mandolin and just when i started learning the violin after a few months i got this attack. i lost all zest for life. i was also playing the keyboard. after i got sick i did not touch my instruments so much so that my guitar split and i had to buy a new one. last year suddenly i was an advt on tv , an old man gifting a harmonica to a young lad and i thought may be that would help me and so i started to play initially i did not know how to go about it , but i met jp allen from hawaii on internet, and that is how i started and slowly i started playing little tunes before a year now i play a number of tunes even before an audience and i feel great, my asthma still perists though.


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 Post subject: Re: My story.
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:15 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:52 pm
Posts: 7
Francisca, I am not a doctor and do not know whether asthma is similar to my lung condition. My lung damage was due to aspirating acid reflux. I lost almost 70% of my lung capacity because of this disease. My damaged lungs will not heal....BUT....the 30% I have remaining is being strengthened by the harmonica playing and physical exercise. My lung's ability to move oxygen has improved remarkably from about 32% function and has held in the 50% - 54% range for the past three years. The good news is that most people only use about 15% of their lung capacity for normal activity, so I have some capacity to spare. Normal for people my age is 75-85%.

It is good to hear that you are "feeling great". May you enjoy improving health. I started the harmonica for lung therapy. It has since become much more than lung therapy. When my wife and I entertain, the harmonica is starting to command a bigger role in our gigs.

Keep on harpin'!


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 Post subject: Re: My story.
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:21 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:17 pm
Posts: 3
thanks for your message, playing harmonica has got me into new avenues. happy harping


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 Post subject: Re: My story.
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:25 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:17 pm
Posts: 3
I started playing harmonica last july because of asthma problem J P Allen from Hawaii helped me to get started. at first I did not know what to do with the instrument, but I persisted today I play a number of English tunes and folk tunes and anything on it and I am enjoying the experience. I like music basically. initially I used to play the guitar for a number of years, some years back I started on a key board. 3 yrs back I started the mandolin today can play quite a no of songs on it. I thank God for the gifts He has given me hope to get some more from him. It is like the parable of the ten talents, the more you discover them you will find God blesses you with more.


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