Some of you must be very privileged! If you've never heard anyone condescend on the harmonica! I'd like to live somewhere warm and sweet cocooned like you guys who never hear any unpleasantries about the harmonica as a professional instrument
Would you get into the Royal College of Music or the Moscow Conservatory, on the grounds of your harmonica playing? Or perhaps, the De La Salle Institute, or the Paris Conservatory playing harmonica? You would for the flute...or the piano etc. Even ethnic instruments, like the Dizi, or Xiao - in regional conservatories these are viable. But the harmonica?
Well that's a world away from my school orchestra memories. The harmonica just did not figure. It was irrelevant as far as music tuition went. It was the butt of all mouth organ jokes. Even my friends and family who I've grown up with, and have seen my harmonica multiple three fold in the space of 6 months, are not that far from giving it a bashing: the difference is - they've grown up and matured, and are more accepting of me playing it. In contrast, they go out of their way to tell me that hearing the flute being played is relaxing, but hearing my harmonica being played, they keep quiet and pass no comment.
Mike - the funny thing, was, the colleague who rubbished my harmonica, actually played the banjo a few years ago! Double standards eh, lol. Well, I'm the only person I know who plays the harmonica. I've seen folk musicians in concerts play a harmonica, but most everyone else I know, plays piano; guitar; cello; violin; flute or hi-fi. I hope the tide is changing, and the harmonica is being accepted as a serious musical instrument.
Now there is something, about childhood instruments, being considered as non-serious musical instruments. The 'recorder' suffers from this fate - not that it is easy to play either. The Baroque recorder, and the tenor recorders are fabulous - however any time colleagues or acquaintances find out I play the flute, they mention: "I was never that musical. I only played the recorder but I was stuff at that even." - as if to say, somehow, there is a hierarchy of instruments, and the recorder is below the flute, just as a harmonica is below any other 'proper' instrument.
I'm sure whoever plays the Orchestral Triangle in the orchestra gets a lot of ribbing and wide-eyed wonders!