• Leon Pantenburg | Survival Common Sense


Video: Don’t waste time sitting in gridlock traffic – learn how to play a harmonica

555 400 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

 Does your daily work commute involve sitting in traffic with the other commuters? Here is a way to make use of that time.

by Leon Pantenburg

I know all about wasting time stuck in traffic. (See the video below) When I worked in Washington D.C. I avoided the Highway 395 Beltway whenever possible. But sometimes you get blocked in, and there is nothing to do but wait for the traffic jam to run its course. In 1988, I was driving on the New Jersey Turnpike when a crane was involved in a crash. That wreck shut down all traffic for seemingly endless hours.

A good D.C commute time for me was 45 minutes. My record for getting home was six hours when a wreck on the highway during rush hour shut everything down. It sure would have been nice to have an instrument along!

Top: My great-grandparents, Agnes and Charles Hallowell, probably around 1900 Left: Charles playing his violin, circa 1940 (I’m guessing). CENTER: Grandpa’s harmonica on which he taught me to play. RIGHT: Me playing harmonica as a member of the Thorn Hollow String Band at the High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon

My great-grandfather, Charles Hallowell got me interested in music in the late 60s. He was 94 and I was 10 when Charles started me playing harmonica. He left me his harmonica and violin in his will, and I never stopped playing. (The harmonica and violin rest in honored retirement in my closet. Both instruments are periodically taken out and played.) I am still a wanna-be Bluegrass and traditional mountain music musician. Most of my playing now is for my own enjoyment. Practice should be fun, so that’s why I started carrying a harmonica in the vehicle console.

I chose a harmonica because I have several and it is a small, compact instrument that can be used in a variety of musical genres.  If you prefer a different small instrument – a recorder, penny whistle, soprano ukulele or piccolo come to mind – play one of those.  Use the otherwise downtime stuck in traffic to learn how to perform on something!

DISCLAIMER: ONLY practice while you’re sitting still. NEVER play any instrument, or do anything that could distract you while you drive!

Click on the photo to watch the video!

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