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Introducing the Party Harmonica

Last updated: March 27, 2024

You probably saw a harmonica in the list of supplies to buy for your party.

Perhaps you thought: What’s the deal with the harmonica? Isn’t that weird?

It could look that way, I’ll admit.

But there’s a reason I use this. The harmonica serves to gracefully get the attention of the group to start your icebreakers.

Do You Really Need It?

You might not think that you need a party harmonica.

You probably think it sounds corny or even downright childish.

Perhaps you think you have a loud voice and you won’t need it.

But when you have fifteen people in your home and everyone is talking at the same time, you’ll appreciate how easy and smooth a harmonica makes it to get people’s attention.

Alternative Options

There are alternatives. You could have a dinner bell or small xylophone set (even more ridiculous).

Some people knock a fork against a glass or use a whistle.

11 instruments
Other options for calling attention at your party.

I prefer a harmonica.

The tone is pleasing, and it attracts attention without being loud or abrasive.

It’s less formal than a dinner bell and more portable than a xylophone.

When your guests hear your harmonica, they know something fun is about to go down.

They’ll look to you for what happens next.

How I Use the Party Harmonica

I don’t play a song or even a few notes when I use my harmonica.

I just blow out, usually on the low side of the scale, in one exhale for three to four seconds. (Yes, I timed it.)

Video Example

See how to use your party harmonica here:

Or click here to see an article with more videos on how to use the harmonica.

You can also scale the volume of a harmonica much easier than clanking a glass.

Start with a gentle, low tone to get people’s attention. Blow a bit harder and higher to call for quiet.

Get a Party Harmonica—But Don’t Just Take My Word for It

Maybe you’re still not convinced.

Listen to these people who all read early drafts of this book and then hosted their first parties:

I was hesitant to use the harmonica because it seemed silly. But with all the noise during our parties, the harmonica got everyone’s attention quickly. It lightened the mood for icebreakers.
—Chris Fowles, Partner & Technical Director, Washington, D.C.

I didn’t buy a harmonica for my first party, and I regretted it later. I had to yell to get people’s attention. That yelling killed the great vibe we were trying to create with the party in the first place. Don’t skip on this. A harmonica is the chef’s kiss to hosting a fantastic party.
—Mary Beth Yale, Literary Consultant, Mexico City

Once, I used a whistle for a large party, and it was too much. It worked, but it was jarring. After that, I’ve always used a harmonica. Guests find it funny, but it’s very effective. A cheap harmonica can get a group to pause their conversations and listen to what’s next.
—Tyler Vawser, Vice President of People, Little Rock

At first, I was hesitant to buy a harmonica because I thought it would make me look weird. But after I followed Nick’s advice and got one, instead of raising my voice to quiet the room for icebreakers, I used the harmonica. It worked so much better and sounded a lot more peaceful than if I were to yell over everyone talking! I look much more in control with the harmonica. It’s become an expected and accepted part of my parties.
—Nagina Sethi Abdullah, CEO and Founder, Jersey City

Recommended Harmonicas

As of now, I use this Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica, Key of C, which I highly recommend!

You can buy this on Amazon: Fender Blues Deluxe Harmonica

According to some blog posts I read online, these are some great harmonicas you could also try out!

Leave a comment on this article here.

About the author

Nick Gray is the author of The 2-Hour Cocktail Party. He’s been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and in a popular TEDx talk. He sold his last company Museum Hack in 2019. Today he’s an expert on networking events, small parties, and creating relationships. Read more about Nick Gray here.

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